• Macclesfield Baths and Washhouses and its patrons in the nineteenth century

      Griffiths, Sarah; University of Chester (Cheshire Local History Association, 2021)
      The East Cheshire market town of Macclesfield had grown to become the leading centre of the English silk industry by the mid nineteenth century and this resulted in severe pressure on the town’s inadequate services. One element of the national campaign to improve sanitary conditions in urban areas was the public baths and washhouses movement from the 1840s, which resulted in the Public Baths and Wash-houses Acts in 1846 and 1847. Macclesfield’s Baths and Washhouses opened in January 1850 and it was one of the first provincial towns after Liverpool to provide such facilities. This article will therefore explore the national baths and washhouses movement, the impact of industrialisation on living conditions in Macclesfield, the history of the town’s Baths and Washhouses in the nineteenth century, the people active in its development and the range of motives which may have encouraged their support for this early addition to the public services for inhabitants.