Northampton’s Mounts Baths identified as 'world class', says BBC Culture

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BBC Culture has just produced a list of the world’s best Art Deco swimming pools and Northampton’s Mounts Baths takes pride of place.

The list – compiled by journalist, Liza Foreman, and associate editor for BBC Designed, Laura Clarke – includes other such iconic buildings as the Eastern Columbia Building in Los Angeles and the North Sydney Olympic Pool.

Mounts Baths was built in 1936 on the site of the town’s old prison as part of a new civic centre which also included a new fire station, police station and courts.

Striking features including the pool’s parabolic arches and tiered windows flooding the building’s interior with light.

But Mounts Baths is particularly unusual in that Art Deco pools in the UK tended to be outdoor, making it a rarity.

The only other UK pool to make the list of 14 is the Jubilee Pool in Penzance, along with four in Germany, three in France, two in the US and one each in India, Australia and Hungary.

Councillor Anna King, Northampton Borough Council Cabinet member for community engagement, said: “It’s so easy to become blind to the fantastic architecture we have in Northampton.

“I’d urge anyone visiting the town to view things with fresh eyes, take a look above ground level and you’ll not need to travel far before you find a striking building which grabs your attention.

Pool and group changing rooms at the baths are currently undergoing a £600,000 redevelopment expected to be complete by spring.

“As a borough council, we’re blessed to be housed within the stunning gothic Guildhall and nearby All Saints is an absolute feast for the eyes.

“From there, take a walk down Guildhall Road, or head to the Rennie Mackintosh designed house at 78 Derngate where you’ll find endless examples of style and sophistication.

“I’m not at all surprised that Mounts Baths has been identified as a world-class example of Art Deco architecture, it certainly is a stunning building inside and out.”