Once a Grade B Locally Listed bath house, Kent House lay derelict for many years before it was demolished to become a car park.
Bath House building boom
Kent House was an extension of Kent Street Baths, which was the first baths constructed by the Birmingham Baths Committee, a council-run organisation, following the Act ‘to encourage the establishment of baths and wash-houses’ was passed. The site of the baths was chosen in 1849, while the foundation stone was laid when building work began on the 29th October 1849 by the Mayor.
Designed by D.H. Hill, they were opened in 1851, before their completion in 1852, after a three year build costing around 23,000. The baths housed a variety of facilities. In 1915, Kent Street Baths were the first in Birmingham to introduce mixed family bathing, for three days a week initially. The idea was so popular it became common across bathing houses in the city. A separate women’s’ swimming baths were opened in 1914 in the next building.
A new addition
The original Kent Street Baths were closed in 1927, and come 1930, the most of the baths were demolished, leaving the women’s baths still standing.
The womens baths were be incorporated into a new art deco building designed by Hurley Robinson, opening in 1933. This building was known as Kent House. The new building notably contained a spectator gallery and a diving stage set in a Proscenium arch.
World War II
During World War II, Kent House was bombed in 1940, damaging the gala bath and its surrounding buildings. The structure was repaired, and continued use until it closed in 1977, following a sale to the current owners, Benacre Estates, around 1970.
Dereliction and demolition
After a long an interesting history, the Grace B Locally Listed Kent House was demolished in 2009 after becoming derelict, despite local dispute. The owner of the property was Benacre Property, and the site is now a surface car park.
Featured image property of Erebus55