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Victoria Baths

On the bank holiday weekend, we were lucky to attend a wonderful wedding of friends, at Victoria Baths in Manchester. As well as the wedding, of course, exploring the building was awesome. I have to admit that in my 8 years in Manchester I had never been inside! I am really glad I got the chance to, it’s definitely a not-to-miss place.

Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
first class male baths, from spectator seats

The Victoria Baths building was opened in 1906 and was described as “the most splendid municipal bathing institution in the country” – that’s me told. It is a great example of Edwardian glamour. It housed three pools (male first class, male second class, and female), and a Turkish baths.

On the upper floor are rooms such as the Superintendent’s flat, and the spectator seating. It is chock full of amazing tiles, stained glass, terracotta work, and wonderful old wood. It was open until 1993, and then once closed it fell into disrepair. A huge community campaign saved it, and it has been amazingly restored with help from volunteers and various restoration grants. It is still a work in progress but the majority is saved and beautiful.

Here is a little gallery of photos from inside – if you get a chance, go visit! It’s great for a wander but they also do tours – where you find out all the proper history and information (we got a little distracted from the tour so we missed about half….). Victoria Baths also has a tonne of volunteer opportunities if you wanted to get involved. Their site is here for more info.

 

 

Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
glass details – there is so much incredible stained glass in there!
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
tile details
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
tickets
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
changing stalls – ladies got a door And a curtain
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
downstairs tiles
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
upstairs, the corridoor for the Superintendent’s flat
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
details
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
details
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
first class male baths, from spectator seats
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
look up
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
view from the ticket office
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
first class male baths, from spectator seats
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
spectator seating upstairs
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
view from upstairs
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
stalls and pool
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
changing stall
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
stained glass in first class male baths room
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
view from the pool
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
view from the pool
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
changing stalls
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
some of the upstairs restoration treasure
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
upstairs stairwell tiles
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
upstairs stairwell tiles
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
back view in yard
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
front view, complete with gloomy Manchester sky
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
commemorative terracotta plaque for opening in 1906
Victoria Baths Manchester victorian edwardian kate conaghan
tiles!

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(Re) Location, Location, Location

So, after almost two years of nomadic life, we have settled down and bought a house. Over the past years, we have fluttered between Manchester and Suffolk, and we weren’t sure where life was going to take us. Finally, we have settled in a tiny Suffolk village (population ~170!!).

Moving away from Manchester has been a huge decision – I moved almost 10 years ago, to lovely Levenshulme. I have some wonderful friends there, it is where I set up my business, and my husband’s family are nearby, so we will definitely keep a strong connection there and be around and about a lot!

However, my husband loves his job down south, and being back in the wilderness has been a huge help for me getting better. Also, it’s an exciting new adventure! And we like those.

We have bought a fixer-upper (understatement!!) and are starting a complete renovation, so if you like house reno pictures – stick around! It’s quite a lifestyle change – our new village doesn’t even have any streetlights, and it’s a 2 mile walk to the nearest post office (the dogs will appreciate this), but city life had really begun getting me down and I seriously missed nature!!

To all my lovely northern pals, I promise to keep in touch, and no doubt you’ll see me soon! xxx

This is part of my new post office run, what do you think?!

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Rise of the robots (why I won’t be spamming you any time soon)

Business hat on here! Running a handmade business is hard work, we need to stand out in a sea of fellow crafters and we need to sell our lovely wares. The internet is a wonderful tool for this, but in the last year or so I have seen an increasing number of changes to internet marketing that I am struggling to get behind.

In an ideal lovely world, you start a business, make a website and a facebook page, and maybe an instagram. You share your musings, pieces you make, and connect with followers and friends. People stumble upon you organically, maybe by hashtags, or showing up in a friend’s feed. You slowly grow a genuine friendly following, and it gains momentum. This is the strategy I have taken and I have been having a lovely time – I have met some wonderful fellow creatives and customers and made some lovely friends. When people message or comment, I am genuinely pleased and interested to get to know people.

However, we live in an age where anything that can be monetised and profited from is rapidly subsumed. Algorithm changes mean our posts get hidden, in favour of larger (paying) brands and viral clickbait content. Small businesses are pushed towards endless ‘networking’ to get seen, and paid advertising. We are sold courses and apps to grow our following. Some of this is genius stuff, and I am not knocking it for a second – some people really know their stuff and offer great insights. However, there is the lesser quality stuff that drags in its wake. Not a day goes by on instagram where I’m not sent messages offering me ‘30000 fReE f0ll0werS’, being left pointless / inappropriate comments by bots, or follow-for-follows. I can’t visit someone’s site without being greeted instantly by a pop-up box asking me to sign up for a newsletter (but I can’t even see who you are past this damn box!).

These are mostly just met with eye rolls now.

What it has done, is made me realise one of my core business values – being genuine.

When I talk to you, I am genuinely interested. If I like your business post, it’s because I genuinely like it. When I interact with you it is genuine. Obviously I would love people to buy my things, I would love to grow my following and my business. But I don’t want to do that at the expense of ‘me’.

I also think that organic growth and a genuine following is priceless.

Fellow crafters – please be clear – you are welcome to follow whichever path you like. I am not bashing the genius of some folks out there and some of the strategies. Do whatever you want, but do what feels right. Your image and internet identity is a vital part of your brand. Just be aware that when you use that bot or app to grow your insta following, and it’s your account who posts ‘this is brilliant’ on someone’s dead pet post…. you look a bit like a douchebag (yep, I’ve seen this). Personally, I am turned off by follow-for-follow and bot comments, and from the outset it makes me feel like that person is not genuinely interested in engaging with me. I won’t engage in this stuff. I am well aware that my business growth might be slower than others, and this is the risk I take. I am much happier to be able to promise my followers and fellow crafters that you get 100% me.

I would be really interested to know your thoughts – I definitely have my cynical hat on today. Does this make me a marketing luddite? Are you sick of spam? Can I benefit from the internet without selling my soul? Let me know 🙂

Milestones, and help to get there

Hi, 100 etsy sales

I am most excited at the moment, last night I passed the 100 sale point in my Etsy store! I remember my first few weeks, nervously wondering if anyone would want my jewellery…

I have worked hard, but I have also benefitted hugely from all of the support and information from some lovely online communities.

Over the next few months I will share the wealth and write about things that have helped me get here, and share resources that I think are fab.

In the meanwhile, thank you to everyone who has supported me so far!

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New website!

Hello and welcome to my new site!deer

I will keep this one up to date with news, events, and blog posts. If there’s anything you’d like to see me write about please drop me a comment or message and I’ll see what I can do.

My blog will be a mixture of behind the scenes stuff, work in progress, how-to’s, small business information, house renovation, and other life stuff.

I’ve built it all myself, so if you do see any mistakes, please let me know!

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The oldest inspiration

I’ve been wanting to add a hare drawing to my pieces for ages now, and today while I was browsing hare photos it reminded me that I should tell you about one of my oldest inspirations.masquerade-jewel

In 1979, an artist called Kit Williams made an incredibly beautiful jewelled gold hare piece. He hid it ‘somewhere in the British countryside’, and the only way to find it was to solve the riddles in a beautiful illustrated book called ‘Masquerade’.

I used to pore over the book, both loving the artwork and enthralled by the buried treasure idea. Sadly someone beat me to the solution and found it. I was gutted, (though I can forgive myself as I was a toddler) but I have never forgotten .

I don’t know if I love it so much because it incorporates a lot of my interests, or whether this sparked off some of my interests in the first place. I don’t think I will ever know. (Looking at it, I can see just how many of my ideas it has triggered!)

Kit Williams also wrote another untitled ‘puzzle’ book, known as ‘The Bee Book’, and other art books. Here are some pictures from Masquerade (obviously all images copyright Kit Williams). Even though the puzzle is long solved, it’s a beautiful book. And I have to confess, I have never been smart enough to solve all the riddles. If you read it, I’d love to know what you think – and I’d love to know if you solved any!

masquerade hare pagesix-to-eightanimalring2