On the 3rd of February WOMEN’STEC were invited to visit Templemore Baths construction site based in Ballymacarrett East Belfast, which is currently being rebuilt into a leisure centre and museum for the community. This project is funded under Belfast City Council, who secured a £5 million grant from The National Lottery’s Heritage Fund towards the £17 million project to restore the infamous historical building. The talented Heron Bros construction company are taking on the challenge to repair and recreate the old Templemore Baths by designing a ‘mini’ museum on one side of the building and a gym, 25-meter swimming pool and Spa facilities on the other side- very exciting!
Templemore Baths has a vast past – it was once a children’s hospital, an ambulance station and was even used as a morgue during the Blitz! It has a rich heritage, imprinted within the unique Victorian history of Belfast City. The baths were originally built in 1899 offering sanitary facilities to many local families who lived in the neighbouring terraced houses who also did not have access to personal washing equipment.
Heron Bros are restoring and preserving the impressive history of the building by creating an information centre for Templemore Baths, providing a rich heritage asset to the local community in East Belfast. This includes rooms which will provide a space to feature films of the past, enabling local children to watch, learn and engage in the history of their local area. One side of the building will be transformed into a mini museum so that citizens of Belfast can gain an understanding and insight into the history and local heritage of the building. Local joiners are also taking part in rebuilding the baths which is a fantastic way to get the community involved as it will benefit their neighbourhood.
During our visit, we met an outstanding young woman, Niamh Muldoon, who is also working at the construction site to help rebuild and recreate the leisure centre. Niamh is thoroughly enjoying working on this project, as it is a great and exciting opportunity to be involved in restoring such an important heritage asset to the local community. We were ecstatic to find out that Niamh completed one of our programmes at WOMEN’STEC a few years ago and we are very proud that we were a part of her journey into construction. This wonderful surprise was a great way to finish off our visit!
We would like to thank Heron Bros for inviting us to Templemore Baths, to gain an insight into the world of heritage conservation and preservation within construction. There are many broad opportunities for women to take up satisfying and varied careers in historic building conservation with fantastic pathways, salaries, training, and travel opportunities. To find out more about opportunities and pathways for women in construction, check out our #NotJustForBoys programme: www.notjustforboys.org