Brighton Beach Baths
Brighton Beach Baths opened in 1861. The benefits of bathing in the sea were being proclaimed and the sea-baths were considered the correct venue – bathing in the open during daylight hours being strictly prohibited.
There was no mixed bathing; men bathed with a red flag flying as a warning to all, while a white flag signified ladies only. The baths were built offshore and were accessed by a wooden bridge.
This was so bathers would not have to cross the sand clad only in bathing costumes, but could gain entry straight into the water. In 1911 Edward Penny became the proprietor of the baths and ran them successfully until they were partially destroyed by the Brighton Cyclone in 1918.
The baths were rebuilt and reopened but were later wrecked again in the huge storm of 1934. This time the wooden buildings were replaced with brick and were opened in 1939 with a grand carnival.
The baths were very popular and were widely used by schools for swimming lessons and sports events. Many local people began swimming after being awarded beginner’s certificates in the ‘Herald Learn to Swim’ campaign.
In the 1960s and 1970s the baths suffered from lack of patronage and a fire which destroyed much of the building. Council, facing rising maintenance and repairs costs, was unable to justify operating two public baths and decided to refurbish the ones at Middle Brighton and demolish the Brighton Beach Baths in 1979.
Page last updated: 10 Dec 2010