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Gipton Spa:
Bath House Time Line

Gipton Spa Bath House constructed by Edward Waddington of Gledhow. Edward Waddington was the grandson of Alderman John Thwaites, who lived at Gledhow Hall, and who died the same year that the Spa was built - could it possibly have been built as a monument to Alderman Thwaites, or perhaps to celebrate Edward becoming Lord of the Manor?

Gipton Spa or Gipton Well or the Waddington Bath was used by Ralph Thoresby, the famous Leeds Antiquarian (1658-1725). Thoresby's young son, Richard was troubled by a bone ailment, possibly rheumatism or rickets, which afflicted his legs. Part of his treatment included regular visits to cold-water baths, including little bath house that contained Gipton Spa (or Waddington Bath). In his diary 5 July 1708, Thoresby wrote "Walked with my dear by Chapel-town and Gledhow to Gypton-Well (whence my Lord Irwin who comes thither in his coach daily, was but just gone) to enquire for conveniences for my dear child Richard's bathing".

Thoresby's Ducatus Leodiensis states "The Gipton well was accommodated with convenient lodgings to sweat the patient after bathing and is frequented by Persons of Honour, being reputed little or nothing inferior to St Monagh's (Well at Copgrove)".

Edward Baines' Leeds Guide of 1817 states that "Gipton is a small, pleasant village, 2 miles from Leeds. Within the wood is a cold spring with a small bathing house attached.

In the "History of Leeds" Edward Parsons observes that: "The Waters of Gipton have lost their celebrity and are no longer frequented. There is no reason why they should not be restored to fame. If some chemist was to report an analysis of their component parts, if some physician were to publish a book in their praise, if some speculator were to build a decorative bath, a large hotel or perhaps a crescent of houses with a sounding name, it is certain that quite as much benefit would be reaped from Gipton Well as from many of the Springs which are highly extolled for their salutiferous qualities and around which complaining valetudinaians and idle loungers so numerously congregate."

Kelly's Directory notes that "the springs at Gipton and Woodhouse Car are still resorted to by people who live in the neighbourhood."

The Honourable Hilda Kitson, eldest daughter of the first Lord Airedale, bought the Wellhouse Farm on which the Bath House stands. Concerned that the little bath house be maintained in perpetuity, she offered a sum of £200 to the Leeds Corporation, the interest from which was intended to pay for its upkeep.

Miss Kitson contacted the Leeds Corporation again offering to pay for the building to be put into a good state of repair and finally, in that same year, Leeds Corporation took over the care of the building.

After many requests by the Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods, Leeds City Council fenced off the Bath House to try and reduce damage to the building and its roof from vandals, drug users and prostitutes.

The Bath House is thouroughly cleaned out and opened to the public by the Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods as part of the Leeds Heritage Open Days event (see Events Gallery for pictures and more information).

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