The Royal Union Baths in Union Street opened on 1 May 1830. It was the provincial public indoor pool in the westcountry and one one of the first anywhere in the country (Liverpool’s opened in 1829). Built mainly for the use of the affluent residents of the Three Towns and particularly those who had just moved into to the big new houses in the various terraces lining either side of the street here, Flora Place, Devonshire Terrace, Lockyer Terrace, Sussex Place and the Octagon, it was apparently well-received.
However within twenty years the railway arrived in Plymouth and cut through Union Street and all the impressive houses were gradually converted for commercial usage and became part of Union Street proper. At first the Baths remained but when the railway bridge was widened some years later they were pulled down to make room for the extra tracks. Bath Street, which ran south from the western side of the Baths, is a reminder of that early period, although of course, in more recent years a new public bathing pool, the Pavilions, has been created on almost the same site.