Sunday, September 28, 2008
Govanhill Baths, 1917
The Baths, designed by A.B. McDonald, were opened in 1917 and consisted of hot baths, 3 swimming pools and a 'steamie' (wash-house).
Public baths were built by the Glasgow Corporation to promote health and hygiene. Many people had no hot running water in their flats so used the laundry facilities until the 1990's and the bathing facilities up to 2000. Very few of these buildings now survive, and when it closed in 2001, Govanhill Baths was the only original, substantially unaltered public baths still in use.
A.B. McDonald was the city surveyor and designed the baths in Edwardian Baroque style. The most important architectural elements of the Baths are the pools with their arched reinforced concrete roof trusses which let in a large amount of light. The main pool, with it's cast iron railed gallery, gives the Baths their most distinctive feature. The original tiling still exists in several parts of the building.
In 1992 the Baths were listed at Category B. This requires the Baths to be marketed to a restoring purchaser or that a suitable alternative use should be found. Demolition of the building is only possible when all other options have been exhausted.
The building's condition is fair, although repair work is required. Historic Scotland recommends that 'an architecturally and historically important part of the city's history ... any proposed reuse of Govanhill Baths must take into account more than simply the preservation of the facade ... and preferably should be preserved as swimming baths'.
Text courtesy of the Govanhill Baths Community Trust