SHINING A LIGHT: MUSEUM IN THE PARK
SACRIFICE – COMMUNITY – LEGACY
This post celebrates the COMMUNITY SPIRIT of Nottinghamshire’s coalminers when the times were very hard and coalfield communities were struggling to feed and clothe their families – the 1920s.
At a time of such hardship, miners through their Miners Welfare Fund, and a 1p levy on each ton of coal produced by coal miners, in 1923 paid for the creation of Sutton Baths, together with a bandstand, tennis courts, bowling green and playground for the people of Sutton and surrounding areas.
We do not believe, throughout Nottinghamshire’s long history that any other group of workers has contributed so much to the community facilities, welfare and health of their fellow citizens. This generosity was repeated multiple times up and down the county and paid for Technical Colleges, Hospitals, and many other community facilities, across Nottinghamshire.
Please follow this link and contribute to our campaign to create a permanent sculpture and memorial to Nottinghamshire’s coalfield communities – Shining A Light | Nottinghamshire Mining Museum – a history of Nottinghamshire Mining (nottsminingmuseum.org.uk)
We thank Our Nottinghamshire: A Community Website for this article – http://www.ournottinghamshire.org.uk
By Marg Thorne
The Old Sutton Baths which stands on Brook Street in Sutton in Ashfield was designed by Sutton architect Leopold Dodsley, son of William Marsh Eckersley Dodsley and grandson of Squire John Dodsley of Skegby Hall
The land consisting of 1,422 square yards was originally owned by the Duke of Portland, and let for allotments when it was signed over in May 1923
Funding for the baths came from the Sutton Miner’s Welfare Fund, which was built up by the 1d on a tonne of coal. They gave £16.027 towards the construction of the old baths in 1924. Other monies from this fund were used for the bandstand, hard and grass tennis courts and tennis pavilion, and a Bowling Green and pavilion on Sutton Lawn. It also paid for a large playing ground with swings and tennis courts on Hardwick Lane, and sand-pit on Garden Lane.
The building work at the baths was carried out by R. Moore of Mansfield. It was 75ft by 35ft, and 7ft deep grading down to 2ft 6 at the shallow end. It held 97,000 gallons of water. The steelwork and concrete were carried out by the Empire Stone Co. In 1926 the building was opened by Mrs J. Strachan, of Stanton Hill, wife of the Sutton Colliery Manager who was also chairman of the local welfare committee.
When the baths were handed over to Sutton Urban District Council, in April 1927 there was a provisional agreement which stated that miners resident in Sutton would get preferential treatment. The Baths cost around £20,000 to build, so without the miner’s generous donations, the building would never have been built.
Initially, the baths was open for just the summer months. When the winter came, the pool was covered with maple flooring and the building played host to some of the country’s most famous names. The Foundations, Kendo Nagasaki, Bruce Woodcock……….
The new pool was due to open in 1966. But in Feb 1965, a fire struck the old pool, delaying the re-opening
Cllr Tom Stimpson received a civic trust commendation for Sutton baths due to its design in June 1969