History

The Drumsheugh Baths Company commissioned the architect Sir John James Burnet (1857-1938) to design the building on a steeply sloping North facing site in Belford Road, formerly Old Queensferry Road. This stretch of Belford Road in which the baths site was being redeveloped in the closing years of the 19th century as the challenge of the steep site overlooking the Dean Village was taken up and the village itself was tidied up, given a prestigious workmen’s tenement, Well Court, and a new Board school.

The building is designed in the Moorish style and has a deeply shadowed entrance under a low-pitch stone bracketed roof. This style was favoured for public and private baths at that time and can also be seen in Edinburgh in the Turkish Baths in Portobello by Robert Morham 1898. Burnet trained in the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and we can be sure that this exceptional education furnished him well to design imaginatively and informatively in this period of historicist revivals.

The Club was opened in 1882 with William Cameron as its manager. This building was completely destroyed by fire on the night of Saturday 6 February 1892. Burnet’s company, Burnet, Son and Campbell was responsible for reconstructing the baths on the original site at an estimated cost of £6,000. Shortly after the Baths went into liquidation and the present company Drumsheugh Baths Club Limited, was formed in 1902 to acquire the building and its fittings and fixtures from the liquidator Frances A Bringloe C.A. for £4,500.

The shareholders of the company were mostly residents in the surrounding area and included clerks, merchants, spinsters, advocates, doctors, stockbrokers, soldiers and a mining engineer; very similar to the mix of members today.