White Rock Baths – those were the days my friend

In the past we have brought you collections of old photographs of memorable buildings in and around the town which were the work of Derelict in the UK .

Today we have pictures from one of the town’s most iconic underground sites which have been provided by Modernity Mark and you can find more of his work at the link below…


These photographs of the White Rock Baths were taken around 2013/2014, Mark says: “Originally one of the largest underground pools in the country, later an aquarium and skate rink and now a skate park, these very old images were taken on an early digital camera.”

We hope you enjoy them and they bring back some happy memories.

The foundation stone for the baths was laid on June 27th 1876 by Thomas Brassey, later Earl Brassey, one time MP for the town, he was also the man who built the Brassey Institute that now houses the main library. A team of architects, Cross, Wells, Jeffrey and Skiller drew up the plans and it was estimated they would cost £60,000 to build in the underground space beneath the promenade. 

There were to be three baths and in May 1878 the ‘gentleman’s bath’ was opened followed by the main bath just days later on May 31st. The ladies bath opened in July 1879.

The baths were multi-purpose throughout their life and operated as a cinema for a period in the early years of the 20th century. But the baths slowly became almost derelict during the 1920s before being taken over by Hastings council.

Money was poured into a restorative project and the Baths were given a new lease of life re-opening in June 1932 following  major reconstruction. By 1970 there had been need for further major repairs. According to the Hastings Observer in November 1974 Hastings White Rock Baths were to have a new look and were to be opened as an ice rink. There was also a proposed  new roof in 1985.

The building survived as an ice rink until 1997 then it slowly started to decay before being reborn again as the award winning Source Skate Park just a few years ago.

Share your memories of the baths and ice rink in the comment section below.

3 thoughts on “White Rock Baths – those were the days my friend

  1. Great to read the story and see Mark’s photographs! These are the sort of ventures that HBC should be backing to draw in tourists and leisure customers. The Source Park is a success amongst many missed opportunities sadly…

  2. Very interesting but I thought the Baths were open for swimming past 1974 as I taught both my children to swim there. I’m sure there has never been an aquarium there!!!! The lads who have turned it into the Source Park have done a marvellous job………

  3. The White Rock baths closed as a swimming pool just before Summerfields Sports Centre opened on 9th July 1980. My Dad was the manager of both establishments during the transition and met with the Queen Mother when she officially opened Summerfields.

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