Records show that, in 1803, the Kirkley area of Lowestoft was still designated as common land. By 1854 development of the area had commenced and Wellington Road (now Waterloo Road) was included on local maps although no buildings had been constructed at this point.
In the late 1870’s construction was underway in Victoria Road and Wellington Road but, whilst digging the foundations at the plot, subsequently known as number 8 Waterloo Road, a large patch of ground at the centre of the excavation was found to be quicksand-like. Upon further investigation it was found that the ground beneath contained a natural seawater well and construction on this plot was halted. Within a short period of time a decision was taken to build private baths, a popular Victorian cultural pastime, encouraging personal hygiene before the general implementation of bathrooms in houses, during this period, and the Victoria Hot and Cold Seawater Baths were created. It transpired that there were fifteen private bathrooms with hot and cold water and WC. Trade directories show that the site (labelled as “Slipper Baths” (in the attached map) was in use by 1892 and premises at the rear, divided by an alleyway serving the adjoining houses, labelled as "Swimming Pool” (with its entrance in London Road South) opened in 1897. The proprietor for both establishments was a Mr Thomas Hubbard Leggett and, although 1914 records show a different proprietor, Mr Alfred G Cutts, it is clear that there was still an ongoing association between the establishments.
During the investigation of a ‘heave’ in the floor at the centre of the shop at 8 Waterloo Road (by builders S&R Harvey and the new proprietor, Mr Richard Toombs) a set a steps were revealed. The steps lead to the seawater well and a subsequent viewing feature was duly created.
Until this point local perception had been that a pipeline lead from the swimming pool to the sea but the discovery of the well would indicate that the seawater provision was natural and the water was pumped into the swimming pool (known as the South Lowestoft Seawater Swimming Baths) via a pump house located between the two sites. A slate roofed, brick built walkway/gantry was constructed over the alleyway, connecting the two buildings and was still in use (as a generator house) for the subsequent Grand Cinema (constructed above the back-filled swimming pool circa 1926). At this point the Slipper Baths became the Café Cosmo which is how it stayed until the late 1960's when it became Clutterbuck's, Andrew's, Labany’s, The Palace and finally Barker's Pet Shop before changing to The Coconut Loft in 2014.
In the 1960’s Wellington Road was renamed as Waterloo Road due to confusion between it and Wellington Road in Pakefield from the time of its inclusion in Lowestoft.