Monday, 6 October 2014

Bathing Beauty - Victoria Baths, Manchester


Forget the stately homes, piles and castles of the landed gentry, I'm far more interested in the magnificent municipal buildings of our great industrial towns and cities, places built for the ordinary working folk of Victorian Britain to use and to enjoy.


So you can imagine how excited I was by the chance to trade at this magnificent building as part of Discover Vintage yesterday. Opened in 1906, Victoria Baths were the jewel in the crown for Manchester, once the richest municipal council in the British Empire.


The Baths provided both essential and leisure facilities to the people of Manchester for over 86 years. At their peak housing three swimming pools, a laundry, Turkish Baths and, in 1952, the first public jacuzzi in the country. During the evenings the pools would occasionally be boarded over and the building used as a dance hall. The Victoria Baths eventually proved too costly for Manchester Council to run and, despite public opposition, they were forced to close in 1993 leaving the building to become derelict.


In September 2003 the baths won the public vote in BBC's Restoration series and were awarded over £3.6 million to help restore them to their former glory. Work started in 2007 and continues today. 


These days Victoria Baths are used for plays, TV location shoots and various events, like yesterday's vintage fair.


Words cannot describe the magnificence of the Baths' interior.


Even the light switches and control panels are gorgeous.


Don't get me started on the tiles.


Check out the mosaic floor.


These are First Class Males changing facilities. 











Wearing: 1980s Gabicci trousers (made skinny by Jon), 1970s cherry red Docs, Diesel waistcoat, Vintage Tootal scarf, 1970s denim blazer (all second-hand)


These doors would be perfect in our house!


The wooden structure in the Ladies' Pool was the stage from a recent performance of Romeo & Juliet.


This was Kinky's pitch yesterday.


Parts from the latest series of Peaky Blinders (aka one of my favourite TV series ever!) were filmed in Victoria Baths. How exciting that the gorgeous Cillian Murphy stood in exactly the same spot as us!


The Turkish Baths might look familiar.


They doubled as the mortuary in BBC's Life on Mars.


Two more of my favourite TV shows also used Victoria Baths as a location - Prime Suspect and Cracker.







If you fancy visiting Victoria Baths (and you really, really should) then more details are HERE.

Wearing: 1970s David Butler for Pressler chiffon maxi & Indian choker
A full-on weekend of vintage buying and selling, catching up with friends, the ecstasy of bagging Glastonbury Festival '15 tickets and the agony of a three hour journey home last night - I'm bastard knackered. No time to recharge and chill though, there's two vintage fairs this coming weekend to prepare for and 55 new-to-Kinky items of stock to wash, iron, price and repair.

See you soon!

Linking to Patti's Visible Monday.

82 comments:

  1. oh dear , i could show my age and admit that ive been in this building many moons ago on many an occasion

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  2. I remember this on "Restoration". A worthy winner I thought, but I remember that it was an eyewatering amount of money needed just to stabilise the building. Wasn't there an issue because they couldn't source the whole amount, so nothing happened at all?

    Anyway, I bet a hundred years from today no one looks at a contemporary swimming pool and says "wow!"

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  3. What a beautiful building , peaky blinders is one of my favorite ever programs on tv , I think its because its set in birmingham although this time round not so much of it was , still one of my favorites to and life on mars xxx

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  4. I worked in a Salford tax office 45 years ago and remember going there for lunch,I' m sure we sat overlooking the pool! Fabulous building,so glad it is being restored; wonderful venue for Vintage Fairs etc.

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  5. love this!
    i´m always impressed by all that lovely details in the architecture of buildings from that time. and you fit the environment perfectly in your dress which looks a bit "arts&crafts" aka "jugendstil" to me!
    your stall looks neat and welcoming!
    congrats to winning the glasto-tickets!!!!
    xxxxx
    p.s.: this doors would fit our house too ;-)

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  7. don't get ME started on the tile. What a beautiful building and to think it was for us folks! When did everything get so ugly? Guess it's the modern world.

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  8. (Gah, I made so my typos I had to repost)

    Wow, I have to visit there! Takes my breath away.

    And you mentioned so many of my favorite shows!! And I just found out that Peaky Blinders is now showing on Netflix!! I swear I saw that 'mortuary' on another Brit TV show - of course I cannot remember which one now(I had even mentioned it to my husband at the time, saying something like 'I know I have seen that room somewhere before')

    And finally, the photo of you in the chiffon and choker is stunning, and Jon looks super dapper.

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  9. Cool cool cool !! The place looks so interesting- I'm adoring all the color and now the colorful history. Hope you had a "swimming" time (can't resist)

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  10. Thanks for the fascinating tour around Victoria Baths Vix. So many glorious architectural details and so rich in history. The stained glass with the Clarice Cliff-esque central pane is stunning as are the tiles with the organic art nouveau designs. Hurrah for Restoration so that future generations will now get to enjoy this wonderful building. Btw I totally agree with you...miles more interesting than a stately home. Loving Jon's red strides. xx

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  11. PS Well done on getting Glasto tkts, I thought about you when I heard on the radio that they sold out in a nano second and hoped you were successful.

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  12. Yes, I love seeing architecture and design which was available to ordinary folk too, and these baths are superb, aren't the7y6? The tiles, the ironwork, stained glass and fabulous wooden doors and frames, all so beautiful. Our local pool is a similar age, and while nowhere near as grand, it has that viewing balcony above, and some nice touches here and there. (Can't take pics in the pool area though, it's verboten!)
    And you look every inch the art noveau beauty too, in that amazing frock - the David Butler for Pressler label is a miniature work of art itself. And I like to see a couple who co-ordinate - warm red tones for both you and Jon this weekend, you gorgeous pair!
    Blimey, you don't half work hard, but there are rewards - hurray for Glastonbury tickets!
    Love you! xxxxxxx

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  13. Gorgeous building! I too am blown away by the tile work. Aren't the curtains in the men's changing rooms a bit short??
    Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday, you and your man look fabulous. xox

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  14. And here I thought you were through with your weekend sales. Hope it turned out great for you!

    What a FABULOUS location! Perfect for a vintage show.
    I can see why it is a favourite for movies and TV.

    I am all excited since we can now get Peaky Blinders on Stream TV.

    You are splendid in your pink and orange with that incredible neck piece. Very dapper couple.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  15. I love that they saw no reason that a public building such as this shouldn't be beautiful.

    The dress - very Arthurian! Wonderful colour and congrats on the Glasto tickets!

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  16. What an incredible building - that tile is amazing. So glad they are still refurbishing it and using it for things that the public can access.

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  17. What a fabulous building and a great location for a vintage fair. Sound like you have another busy week and weekend coming up, keep well xx

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  18. cor I love all that deep green tiling,it looks like it has been a very luxurious place to swim - what a shame we can't do so now. A fabulous setting though for a vintage fayre. You do set your stuff out well, I noticed all the shoes have trees to shape them, little touches like this set you apart from the other stall holders.
    Betty

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  19. Thank heavens for that Restoration programme; it was a sin not looking after that amazing place.
    I wondered if you'd go all 'mermaid' on us with your outfit, but that red number is fab!
    Sorry not to be able to see you this week, but glad that business is booming and we'll soon be treated to another album of beautiful holiday photos!
    Much love!
    Zxx

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  20. What an amazing place and an amazing dress! Just gorgeous! :)

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  21. Recognised it from Prime Suspect, but *not* from Life on Mars, which is stupid because I dug out my box sets of that last week! I always thought after seeing it on Prime Suspect that it looked like an amazing building, so glad they've restored it -- and not sold it off for private housing like they did with the Victorian baths near me.

    Lovely dress, and Jon looks very dapper in that blazer.

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  22. wow, like stepping back in time, the amazing detail that went into this building, very very elegant, you mentioned some of our very favorite tv shows, lol, now I will look again more closely.You look amazing in that beautiful creation you are wearing,

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  23. The Bath looks amazing, definitely worth visiting. you both look gorgeous too

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  24. You lucky thing getting to trade in such a magnificent building. I recognised it instantly from Life on Mars. It's one of the many many derelict buildings I would just love to explore. Thank you for the photos xxx

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  25. Wow ! What an absolutley amazing place !
    Xxc

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  26. It's a fantastic building. Fancy letting it go to rack and ruin. Blackpool's Derby Baths wasn't as lucky and was demolished in 1990. It, too, was tiled all over.
    xx

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  27. Oh my lord Vix, those baths are gorgeous! The tiles, the colours! really amazing.

    Your dress is equally fantastic :-)

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  28. Wow ... I want to visit. Just the sort of place I love. So glad it was restored. M x

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  29. You look like a princess!!!!
    That place looks amazing, SO picturesque!x

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  30. Looks fantastic! I definitely should visit on my next trip up north. I've never heard of Victoria Baths & I lived in Manchester for three years - though it was about 25 years ago, so maybe I just forgot!

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  31. Wow! I am almost speechless Vix, you look magnificent in your maxi and choker. Wonderful photos of the baths, I thought some of it looked vaguely familiar - Life on Mars and Cracker. The colours are amazing - just to prove that Victorian England was not all black! Thank you for sharing great photos. :-) xx

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  32. Oh wow, what a place! The amazing wealth of architectural detail has me flabbergasted. Imagine swimming in that pool. Mind you, wouldn't want to have to change in those cubicles with the shortest curtains in the world! Must have been quite a spectacle when all those first class males were getting ready for a dip! Peaky blinders eh? Your favourite! That's a lot of good telly you've mentioned there. I agree, your dress is rather Arthurian and you look very romantic in it. Stall looks great too. Xxxxxxx

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  33. My goodness ... what an awe-inspiring place! It is so gorgeous. We watched Life on Mars and I distinctly remember the parts set in the mortuary because I couldn't concentrate on the story and just kept going on about the details in the building they were in.

    You two looked fantastic at this event (as always, of course!)

    And congrats on getting the Glasto tickets! xo

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  34. I remember watching Restoration, and loving all the old buildings on it. I loved this post so much- such an interesting building, and great to see it being used (and not demolished). Is there a list of which fayres you'll be at? I'd love to nose through your stock- the table looks full of goodies! :)

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  35. Lovely post Vix! Does John have any hints or links to sites which would help a person with beginner sewing skills make pants skinny?

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  36. When I voted for Victoria Baths on Restoration, little did I think that my daughters would end up living on the same road that it stands on. My elder daughter lived in a student house on Hathersage Road just a little way past the baths, and my younger daughter lived at the bottom end of Hathersage Road last year. We went to look round on an open day in 2009 - it's fabulous to see how much more they've achieved in the last 5 years.

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  37. I'm really speechless at how exquisite this place really is! The colors, the tiles, the long corridors, the pool, the changing area, the catwalk, and you in this romantically magnificent dress. What a venue!!! I can't imagine what I would do if I could shop in a place like for vintage delights! Wht I'll take that entire outfit you got there :) You and Jon look as stunning as this place and I do hope you sold loads but if not what a place to spend the day.

    Thanks for sharing this place with us. When my folks get here tonight I am sharing this post with them, them will go ape shit!
    LOVE YOU!!!
    XXXOOOO

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  38. Magnificent! Beauty on a grand scale, designed and constructed, for the benefit of the common man (with suitable accommodations for the first class visitors, of course). Had I been able to attend the event, Vix, I'd have lingered longingly over the faux chinchilla cape, then acquired a crick in the neck from viewing tiles.

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  39. Exquisite. Seems like a brilliant place to enjoy as well a indulge in a good dose of vintage. xx/Madison

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  40. You look fabulous, truly like a beautiful princess, and Jon is such a dandy! What a lovely couple! Your shop looks really wonderful too - very delicately fit in the glorious environment.

    Thank you for this, Vix! Again! I recognize the Baths right away - I watched that episode of Prime Suspect just recently. (It's probably the creepiest of them too.) Everything, from the whole view, architecture, to the smallest details, are amazing. I'll be back to your post to just admire the beauty. You've done an excellent job to document so many rooms and little corners! It's such a pity it's not baths anymore, but I am happy that the building is being restored and used for various purposes. Wonderful post!

    Have some rest, dear! Hugs xxxxx

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  41. holy guacamole...those tiles! the whole place is gorgeous. thank you for the tour vix, so interesting and i would never have known about them if you hadn't taken the time to share your pictures. thank you! xo

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  42. These baths are sooooooo beautiful. I, too, am nuts about those gorgeous tiles. You and Jon bring every bit of glamour that the place deserves. There used to be pretty places like this for the public here in the states, too. Sadly most of them have been torn down. How wonderful that this gem was saved and has become a star!

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  43. What a beautiful and impressive building. It was interesting to read about its history. Love all those colourful details. You look like a medieval lady in this amazing maxi dress. The sleeves are fantastic!

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  44. Thank you Vix for the visual tour. What a beautiful building. I wish I could afford to get on a plane now and visit. :-)

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  45. I live in Manchester yet I'm ashamed to say I've never been. I do remember them closing, and the money being awarded to restore them, yet I've never stepped foot inside, so thankyou for the tour. Where will I find a list of where you'll be selling? I totally missed this fair and it would have been one on my list. Cheers Vix

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  46. You look lovely as usual.
    Thought you might like this:

    http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/iris-apfel-albert-maysles-documentary-new-york-film-festival/

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  47. Wow. what a fantastical place thanks for this post, it will be the nearest I get to a visit. I love how well maintained it is, clearly it has to be if it is to earn its keep.

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  48. Thanks for sharing this wonderful place with us! It's a fantastic treasure and I'm so happy they are are renovating it.
    You both look gorgeous as always!
    xx

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  49. I have fallen in love with this place!! Thanks for the tour and all those gorgeous photos. The green and turquoise tiles remind me of a Potter out at Raglan, Tony Sly, I think you would like his work Vix.

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  50. What an exquisite building! Thanks for sharing that. How funny to think that men and women had seperate pools.
    Congrats on Glasto tickets! xxx

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  51. What a gorgeous building! Thank you for sharing!
    Your dress is stunning.

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  52. Great photos. That building is incredible! Xx

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  53. What an amazing place, and a wonderful fair venue.

    I love this post! So many gorgeous images.

    You look fab, as always xx

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  54. That's one of the places that I'd like to visit as I remember watching Restoration and being blown away by the beauty of the place and shocked that it had been left to decay. I'm so glad its being put to good use now xxx

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  55. Oooo I've wanted to go here for years, it is totally gorge. you two look gorge too !!
    Twiggy x

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  56. I absolutely love the fact the men's changing rooms have half length curtains! Hahahahahaha

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  57. thank you so much for sharing the pictures of this amazing place with us ... i suppose i could walk through it for hours and dream of all the things that might have happened there in the past ...
    ... what a great plae for a vintage market!

    i also adore your outfit. thid dress makes me do a little bollywood dance ...

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  58. That is such a gorgeous building - thank you for the tour and showing us the delightful details like the tiles and light switches.

    Great colours in the maxi you're wearing - looks like the colours you would see in Goa.

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  59. You greet this post with the most amazing maxi dress ever, and then stun with the architecture. They don't build them like this any more, do they? I wonder why they would bother with curtains in the change room at all? These half-length ones don't seem to be about modesty.
    We get mini-versions of architectural beauty here in Canada, but nothing on that scale, especially for baths.

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  60. What an amazing place!!! I was giggling at the men's changing rooms ... the curtains aren't very strategically placed if modesty was the intention!
    You look fabulous in that dress ... like a Princess from some exotic land.
    xx

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  61. What an amazing place and such a perfect venue for a vintage fair. We used to have an amazing swimming pool / lido where I live but they built a modern leisure centre over it in the 90's.

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  62. The tiles, the tiles!! I get a bit excited about tiles. In Cardiff there are Victorian tiles everywhere, and they're so fabulous! Most homes have tiled doorways, so a roam around the streets surrounding Roath Park is a delight, and then there are the municipal buildings, and buildings that were for commerce, such as the Pierhead Building down Cardiff Bay (think I blogged about that ages ago). I would LOVE to visit these Baths, I could happily spend a few hours photographing tiles!! P x

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  63. Such a breathtakingly beautiful building, how lovely it must have been to sell there! I shall have to add this onto my list of places to visit.

    Peaky Blinders is one of my favourite tv shows too, although admittedly I do have to watch the more gory scenes through my fingers! x

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  64. I remember the baths from Restoration. The whole place is stunningly beautiful - and those tiles, is it wrong that I want to stroke them lol?!?!?!!! x

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  65. Gorgeous pictures!! As someone else said earlier, I am also from Manchester and live about 10 minutes away from the baths and I've never been. I drive all over having days out in other places and forget about all the fantastic places right on my own doorstep! x

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  66. You both look gorgeous and these pics are incredible!!!!

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  67. How gorgeous. Thank goodness it's going through restoration. The perfect place for you two, who also look just gorgeous voguing about within it. Gad zuks, you have boundless energy, Vix. I'm always amazed.

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  68. wouuu, such a magnificent building, the tiles and mosaics are candy for my eyes, I adore that decorative style!
    and you look fabulous wearing your chiffon colorful maxi, love those shades!!
    besos

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  69. wouu, such a magnificent building, the tiles and mosaics are candy for my eyes, I love that decorative style!!
    and you look fabulous wearing your colorful chiffon maxi, love those orange-pink shades!
    besos

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  70. Such an amazing place! I love all that beautiful green, and your maxi is just incredible. Those sleeves!

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  71. Very interesting =) It looks wonderful & so nice that buildings like that are getting saved and used.

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  72. Knackered or no, you look fabulous and as if you were cast in some great period epic in environs! Jon, too. Peaky Blinders is just becoming available for us here, and not yet for us. But soon, and I'm looking forward to seeing it!
    So happy you got to spend time at the baths, and happier still you shared the photos. I don't think you understand how much I enjoy your photo tours, sometimes. They're a treat with extra meaning for Dan and I. Thanks so much!

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  73. Woah woah!!! What a fab post! I'm a big fan of Turkish bath houses so it was wonderful to see pictures of this one (definitely going to schedule a visit to it now!) I used to quite often go to an amazing club in London called The Bathhouse, housed in an amazing Victorian bathhouse just behind Liverpool Street Station. It always felt such a decedent environment for a g&t ! Xxx

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  74. Wow this place looks amazing, I'm so glad it got some love and wasn't knocked down! Your dress is pretty epic too, great setting for it :)

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  75. What a beautiful location, so interesting. Your pitch and display is amazing as always.

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  76. Awe that place is amazing! The tiles are so shiny! And I love all the little booths for the gentlemen's changing quarters.
    And I see you sold you Dollyrockers dress! If you didn't sell it and it's a size 12-ish do let me know! I loved it from when I first saw you modelling it last year

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  77. When I saw the thumbnail of this post, I was blown away by your frock. But then I saw the baths - holy crap they are incredible!! I want to visit them so bad - I wonder if Rich and I can add Manchester to our travel adventures next year.

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  78. When I saw the thumbnail of this post, I was blown away by your frock. But then I saw the baths - holy crap they are incredible!! I want to visit them so bad - I wonder if Rich and I can add Manchester to our travel adventures next year.

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  79. they sure knew how to build beautiful but functional buildings in those days - oh and love this outfit

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Love from Vix
xxx