The Public Baths and Washhouses Act was passed by the House of Commons in 1846. This important act sought to introduce public wash houses to ensure that the ‘Labouring Population’ had access to adequate hygiene facilities. This act enabled local authorities to establish public baths and to take out loans to build them. Over the following years a number of public baths were built across the capital including in Goulston Square, Whitechapel, that could accommodate 20,000 weekly bathers and included 42 facilities for laundering including tubs and drying closets.
In 1899 Shoreditch Parish opened the first public bath within the district, on Pitfield Street, Hoxton. The building contained two swimming pools, baths, a laundry, a public library and an electricity station. Soon after the completion of the baths, the decision was taken that a second location should be considered in Shoreditch; Whiston Road. The Haggerston Baths were officially opened in 1904. At the opening ceremony, W.R Cremer, the then MP for Haggerston, lauded the borough for its ‘magnificent baths which were two of the finest bathing establishments to be found anywhere in the world’.