Mermaids perform to voices of Bramley elders

Bramley Baths media release, in partnership with BEA

Voices of older people in Bramley will be heard by visitors to Bramley Baths Open Afternoon on Sunday 29th September, as they watch two performances in the pool at 1pm and 4pm by members of Yorkshire Life Aquatic, a team of ‘Mermaids’ made up of swimmers and dancers inspired by synchronized swimming, the golden age of Hollywood, and swimming/movie icon Esther Williams. The recordings will complement the performances, and a Mermaid photography exhibition installed around the building made by passionate swimming advocate photographer Lizzie Coombes. Members of Bramley Elderly Action have recorded some of their many memories of learning to swimming. The memories will be evocative of the important role that this community-managed swimming pool and gym, has played, and continues to play in the community.

The event is part of an Open Afternoon created to welcome new visitors to Bramley Baths, which has been managed by the community since 1 January 2013. The activities include access to the pool and to try out Leeds’ only public steam room for £1; a session for kids to test out the shark-island inflatable which is loved by local children and a highlight of birthday parties that now take place each week at the pool. The inflatable was introduced earlier this year, after local people took part in a sponsored swim to raise funds.

The afternoon programme will also feature CPR demonstrations, an example of Bramley Baths’ commitment to sharing safety skills with more people; Zumba and Yoga demonstrations, and a Dr Bike Surgery run by Peddallers’ Arms, a Leeds-based Bike Repair Coop, who are inviting people to bring their bike’s down to the event for a free health check and to receive advice on repairs and maintenance.

  • 12.30 – CPR Demonstrations / Zumba / Yoga / Boxercise displays
  • 1.00pm – Yorkshire Life Aquatic ‘Mermaid’ Performance
  • 1.30-2.15pm – General Swim
  • 2.30pm-3.30pm – Kids Shark Inflatable
  • 4.00pm-4.30pm – Yorkshire Life Aquatic ‘Mermaid’ Performance
  • 12.30-4.30pm – Bike Repair Surgery with Pedallers’ Arms Bike Coop (Bring your bike) / Friends’ Cake Stall / Gym Tours & Free Inductions / Mermaid Photography Exhibition by Lizzie Coombes / Sound Installation with Bramley Elders

Jeanne Major, one of the Bramley Elderly Action members recorded, said: “I spent my life in Bramley Baths when I was in my teens and I used to go dancing there with my first boyfriend. My father used to be outside the door, waiting for me!”

Norah Gibson, Chair of Bramley Elderly Action said: “It’s so important for older people to stay fit and active. Bramley Baths is a fantastic resource for the whole community.”

Danny Whiteley, Manager of Bramley Baths said: “We’re looking forward to showing people the work that Yorkshire Life Aquatic has been developing here with us. It’s completely unique to Bramley Baths and one of the new ideas we’ve been experimenting with here – to make sure Bramley Baths continues to be a place where people live their lives, make friends and spend time being happy and healthy.”

Bramley Elderly Action is an independent charity which provides opportunities and support for older people, aged 60 and over, in Bramley, Swinnow and parts of Stanningley. The organisation has about about 1,100 members and about 150 volunteers, ranging in age from 18-97!

-Ends- For more information, images and interviews please contact Fran Graham on behalf of Bramley Baths / 07815 790189 /

Notes to Editors

Bramley Baths, Broad Lane, Bramley, Leeds, LS13 3DF / 0113 214 6000 /


Bramley Baths is a community enterprise managed for the benefit of the community by Bramley Baths & Community Ltd, an Industrial Provident Society registered in 2012. The baths were established in 1904 and have been community led since 1 January 2013.

Key partners in developing the Bramley Baths project are Bramley Elderly Action, Barca, and Leeds West Academy.

Bramley Elderly Action was founded in 1994 and is one of 40 independent Neighbourhood Network Schemes for older people in Leeds.

Bramley Baths was designed by architect J. L Fox and built from local sandstone, the Baths was opened by the Lord and Lady Mayoress Mr and Mrs A. Currer Briggs on 17 October 1904. The famous foundry chimney that towers over the baths was built using 8000 Kirkstall bricks.

Bramley Baths is funded by Yorkshire Venture Philanthropy Programme, Leeds Community Foundation, Key Fund and ERDF.