Funding secured for Doncaster town centre developments including renovation of St James' Baths famous for Beatles gig

A historic Doncaster building is set to be brought back to life after the council secured Government funding for renovations.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 4:27 pm
Updated Monday, 8th November 2021, 2:04 pm
St James' Baths is set to be transformed into a spa and leisure facility as part of town centre improvements

The grade II listed St James’ Baths on Waterdale will now be renovated after coming under threat due to rising repair costs.

Ministers have now confirmed that funding will be made available for the baths renovation and further regeneration of the Grade II listed Corn Exchange as part of the ‘Levelling Up Fund’.

The money will bring the abandoned 1930s St James Baths building back into use as a new spa and leisure facility, as well as demolishing the old central library and Copley House as well as delivering new outdoor space.

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In 2018, suffered a roof collapse and interim repairs had to be made at the cost to the council for a flat roof over the Turkish baths.

A comprehensive structural investigation was carried out to identify the true extent of the problems.

The building was put up for sale in 2019 by DMBC but no bidders came forward.

The site was officially opened in 1932 and its swimming pool hall was designed so it could be converted into a concert and dance venue.

During the winter months, the pool was covered with a sprung maple floor enabling the hall to hold about 1,500 people.

With a stage at one end and a projection box for films, the building was used as a venue for many performers including the Beatles in the 1960s.

It also included Turkish and Russian baths in the basement with mosaic floor and wall tiling and a drinking fountain. The original baths remain largely as they were when built over 80 years ago.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the funding news – this is a real boost to Doncaster.

“We welcome this further opportunity to progress the redevelopment of key areas of the town centre that will see transformation of ageing and abandoned buildings into usable amenity space, providing an attractive public realm that encourages footfall, boosting green space and supporting active travel.

“The projects will also support new businesses, many of which will create jobs, and the redevelopment of St James Baths will provide both employment opportunities and facilities that will enable residents to actively participate in sports and physical activity.”