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Govanhill Baths, Glasgow, Scotland

Monday, October 26, 2009

This evening, I am focusing on an unusual aspect of Glasgow's architectural and social history in the form of Govanhill Baths at Calder Street.

These baths were built in 1914 (at cost of GBP13,000) pursuant to a Glasgow Council policy of improving health and hygiene for communities at a time when most tenements (flats) lacked proper washing facilities.

The Calder Street facility provided for personal washing (slipper baths), a steamie for washing cloths and three pools for swimming.
The key driver behind this and many other social and educational improvements was the Lord Provost (Mayor), Sir Daniel M Stevenson (1851-1944), a benefactor of Glasgow University who also introduced electric trams and public libraries to Glasgow.

The Baths (good examples of early 20th century baroque style civic architecture) were scheduled to close on March 29th 2001. At that time the Govanhill Baths were the only original, substantially unaltered public baths still in use. In the absence of consultation with the local community, a local lobby group was established and sponsored strong oppositon to the closure plans. This strategy proved successful in that, on June 25th 2009, the Govanhill Community Baths Trust was granted planning permission to develop the Calder St Site as a Wellbeing and Health Centre in a GBP12.5M project that will result in the retention of 12 of the original slipper baths and refurbishment of two of the existing swimming pools. When finished the facility will also include a healthy eating cafe, gym, sauna, Turkish bath, roof garden, gallery, cinema/theatre and other facilities.

Subject to funding it is hoped that work on the refurbishment will commence March 2010.

This image shows original main pool with its cast iron railed gallery together with arched reinforced concrete roof trusses which facilitate a large amount of natural light. The structure on the floor is a piece of artwork called 'Mario Botta' by Rebecca Lindsay and is constructed from wood, aluminium and steel.


Another aspect of the main pool


This image shows a guide with reproduction knitted woollen swimwear from bygone days.



This site is now, apparently, rated as one of the top 10 buildings of architectural interest in Glasgow.

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posted by Catswhiskers @ 11:09 AM 

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