Current situation


7th Aug. 14


(The picture of the baths you see - is the last one - with water - taken before the occupation began in March 2001)

Govanhill Baths is a B listed substantial Edwardian Baths and Wash House, located in one of Glasgow’s most deprived urban areas. While it was once the centre of well-being and local life, it was closed in 2001 to strong opposition from the local community. An action group, Save Our Pool, was formed to force the reversal of theclosure, without success. Govanhill Public Baths (and still is by many many people who used them!) and Wash House is an Edwardian structure dating from 1912, originally known as the Calder Street Baths. It was designed by the renowned City Architect Alexander Beith McDonald and was completed in two phases, with the wash house opening to the public on 1st August 1916, followed by the baths on 1st March 1917. Municipal baths houses and their associated facilities were a key part of Edwardian Glasgow’s paternalistic approach to its citizens. They created an environment for people of limited means to socialise and helped to maintain the communities’ health. Govanhill Baths is a uniquely complete example of such a facility. As Historic Scotland notes: “In 2001 when Govanhill Baths closed, they were the only original, substantially unaltered public baths in the city still in use, making them a rare and important survival. Edinburgh City Council still operates five of its remaining traditional public baths and Dundee has one, whereas Glasgow has closed all of its examples.” Govanhill Baths forms part of a rapidly disappearing corpus of municipal work by City Surveyor Alexander Beith MacDonald, the architect responsible for a vast number of public buildings in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Glasgow, all carried out in similar styles and materials under his direction, design or commission. With the influx of immigration to Govanhill since the end of the second World War, and prior to that substantial Irish immigration, Govanhill Baths has been a focus for the integration of people of different backgrounds into the local community and the wider Glasgow region. The importance to the community has been evidenced by their strenuous efforts over the course of the last thirteen years to enable it to continue in this function, and in their desire to keep the community at the centre of its future plans.

Following many years of decline, the project aims to bring the Baths back into use in their entirety. This will achieve two main heritage outcomes: maintaining its uniquely complete built heritage through the continuation of its original use, and, through our programme of outreach activities, ensuring a multi-cultural engagement with the four key strands of the building’s significance. The Princes Regeneration Trust with financial support from Big Lottery granted through our Stage 1 "Pass" has been appointed by the Trust to project manage Phase 1 (as set out below) in association with the Trustees and City Property. The four key strands are:

  1. Social and historic interest: municipal baths houses were a key part of Edwardian Glasgow’s paternalistic approach to its citizens. They created an environment for people of limited means to socialize and helped to maintain the communities’ health.

  2. Rarity value: As Historic Scotland notes: “In 2001 when Govanhill Baths closed, they were the only original, substantially unaltered public baths in the city still in use, making them a rare and important survival…Glasgow has closed all of its examples.”

  3. AB McDonald’s Edwardian Glasgow: the Baths form part of a rapidly disappearing corpus of municipal work, all carried out in similar styles and materials. Together, these buildings define the Edwardian development of Glasgow.

  4. Post-World War II Community Value: With the influx of immigration to Govanhill since the 1945, Govanhill Baths has been a focus for the integration of people of different backgrounds into the local community and the wider Glasgow region.

As well as sustaining and engaging the local community with the heritage aspects of the building, the project will contribute to the social, economic, environmental regeneration of one of Scotland’s most socially and economically diverse areas. We recognise that it is an ambitious project and we have therefore decided to adopt a phased approach.

PHASE 1A (completed) - With major support from the government's Equally Well Community Health Pilot programme and the local Govanhill Community Action project we completed a partial refurbishment of the front suite of the baths in 2012 in a formal launch by Peter Mullan, MSP Nicola Sturgeon and Councillor Archie Graham, Deputy Leader of the Council and leader of Glasgow' Commonwealth Games Project 2014. As a part of this Phase the Toddler's Pool is about to re-open with new funding from the Scottish Enterprise Fund.

PHASE 1B - This phase, for which we are well advanced in seeking funding from Big Lottery, Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland, will reopen the Ladies’ Pool, also known as the Small Pond, install a Sauna and Turkish Suite, secure the building’s envelope and refurbish the upper suite for use as a gymnasium, allotment and roof garden externall, further develop the reception area to the front of the building and clear out the steamie to enable it to be used for meanwhile uses. It will provide opportunities for experiencing the building’s heritage through engaging in its original bathing function, as well as a range of engagement activities focused on the building’s history that will leave the community’s cultural fingerprint throughout the building.

PHASE 2 - We will redevelop the existing "Steamie" as a community/event suite and market hall.

PHASE 3 - We will re-open the main swimming pool together with some additional community facilities.

Phase 1B will include:

• Capital Works for the conservation of the external envelope (to ensure it is wind and watertight), the refurbishment of the front suite, the “ladies” pool, a gymnasium, a Turkish and Sauna Suite, an arts and theatre suite/space, roof garden and garden growing area. These works will allow us to bring part of the site immediately back into use.

• Creation of new community facilities, namely develop the existing community kitchen, the Steamie as a community and arts space, a heritage facility, allotments and roof-garden. • Develop and deliver a programme of cultural, sporting and cross-community activities and events during the development, construction and delivery stages of the project; • Develop and install heritage interpretation in the building; • Employ a part-time Learning and Out-reach Officer during the development phase and additional staff

The difference our project will make for people?

PEOPLE WILL HAVE DEVELOPED SKILLS • Trustees will have learned about project management, management of staff and consultants, heritage interpretation, conservation, team work, computer skills, decision making, self-confidence, communication, negotiation, bid writing and all other aspects of this large project from beginning to end. • Construction workers and trainees will learn how to work on a heritage building. As part of the building contract we will ensure that the contractor holds training courses for a number of NEETs and offers at least two of the students an apprenticeship placement for one year. • Volunteers will take part in a number of aspects of the project and in particular will be involved in the programme of activities that will be developed as part of this project. For example:

o Volunteers will learn how to communicate with schoolchildren and inspire interest in local heritage. o Volunteers and employees will learn about the social history and architectural significance of the building in order to guide tours. o Volunteer tour guides will learn communication skills, public speaking, self-confidence, research, team work, understanding of diversity, equality and learning needs. o Staff and volunteers will learn about the history of the Baths in order to pass on knowledge to participants through the wide range of education programmes. They will learn how to communicate with different age groups belonging to minority ethnic groups. o Charity shop volunteers will learn communication skills, self-confidence, team work. o Cafe volunteers and apprentices will learn self-confidence, communication, food safety, team work. o Volunteers and staff will learn how to maintain websites and digital information. • Young and older people will be able to develop their playwright skills through the ‘The Stooshie at the Steamie’ programme, which will offer anyone the opportunity to write a short script about the Baths and perform it in the Steamie on a monthly basis.


• The outreach programme led by the Learning and Outreach Officer will visit schools and build relationships with teachers so that stories about the Baths, and visits to the building will become part of local children’s knowledge and their understanding of their area. • People of all ages will be able to take guided tours of the building its social history and architectural significance, and will also learnt about the heritage of the different communities represented in Govanhill. . More details of potential activities are provided in Appendix 2 – ‘Summary of Heritage Activities’. • People of all ages will be able to access the majority of the heritage interpretation when visiting the building for other purposes. • Heritage, culture and wellbeing will be the focus of an education programme tailored to expanding the horizons of people of all ages. • People will be able to access information on the website 24 hours a day.


• Govanhill is viewed negatively by many outside the area and by the media. People will have changed their view on Govanhill Baths and surrounding area and will appreciate the value of this community facility. • People will have the opportunity to volunteer and help with the project. • People will have a focus for pride of place. • People will understand that the Govanhill Baths is no longer a liability, but rather an asset at the centre of the community. • People whose aspirations have been very low, particularly the young and unemployed, will see in the project an opportunity for a different future for the neighbourhood and for themselves individually. • People of all ages will understand better the cultures of the different groups present in the area and will be more tolerant. • The local communities will be more integrated through the activities delivered community engagement and partnerships with local organisations. • By integrating the local communities antisocial behaviour, which has gone up since the Baths closure,will decrease in particular within BME groups.


• People will visit the Govanhill Baths to learn about the heritage and have a good experience with the friendly tour guides. • People will be able to participate in stimulating education programmes tailored for every age group and the very diverse community. • They will be able to visit the cafe and have good home-made food and drinks. • The heritage interpretation will change periodically to emphasise different aspects of the local and Baths history. People will return again and again to this community facility because there will always be something fresh to do, to see and to learn. • They will be able to practice sport, learn new skills, and engage with their local heritage. • People will enjoy the programme of exhibitions and theatre performances on site.


We are aiming to grow our current pool of volunteers to approximately 100 active members. • Trustees of GBCT will have volunteered their time to move the project forward and see it to completion. • People who are members of the design professions will have volunteered their advice. • Volunteers will have helped with outreach and education in early stages. • Volunteers will have given talks and lectures on a on the social history and architectural significance of the Baths to support outreach and raise funds. • Volunteers will have contributed time and talent to fundraising. • Volunteers will train to conduct guided tours of the building. • Volunteers will feel they are contributing positively not only to the heritage, but also to the future ofGovanhill.

The difference our project will make for the community difference will your project make for communities?

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS WILL BE REDUCED • We will be returning to use over 2,900 square metres of redundant space and will secure a sustainablefuture for the Baths. • The building will incorporate sustainable energy use in a number of ways, including breathable insulations, ground heat recovery, photo-voltaics and sustainable solutions to heat the water of the Toddler’s and Ladies’ pools. • The project will provide over 11 local jobs for local people (over five years), many of whom will be able to walk to work.

MORE PEOPLE AND A WIDER RANGE OF PEOPLE WILL HAVE ENGAGED WITH HERITAGE • At present, very few people can visit the site. This will change when works will completed to make the envelope secure. • We anticipate we will attract at least 15,000 visitors and users per annum with the goal of increasing over the first five years of operation to 20,000 per annum. • It will appeal to a wide range of audiences – local residents, visitors, tourists, education and learning groups, BME, local organisations, students, heritage , sport, food and gardening theatre and art enthusiasts through the wide ranging programme of activities. • The ancillary uses of the building - the exhibition space, pools, gym, cafe, community, garden and event spaces etc. will attract their own visitors and therefore increase the numbers and types of people who will be exposed to the heritage. • As a result of our audience development during the Development Phase, we will attract greater numbers and a more diverse mix of visitors. • Through our outreach work we will engage with hard-to-reach sections of the community and provide activities targeted to their requirements and interests. As these have already been identified, we will be able to concentrate on tailoring activities to their needs, rather than focussing on their discovery.

OUR LOCAL AREA/COMMUNITY WILL BE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE, WORK OR VISIT • There is limited provision for community heritage locally. The library provides spaces for investigating local history, however, it does not provide space for heritage activities. While Govanhill is within walking distance of Queens Park and the leisure opportunities it offers, there is no indoor health provision facility within the locality. The closest facility is at neighbouring Toryglen, where there is a small gym and indoor football training centre: a twenty minute walk away. The nearest pool facility is at the Gorbals, over a mile away across a heavily congested area and poor bus routes. • The provision of health and heritage facilities within the heart of Govanhill will make the area a better place for people to live and visit, by providing services locally that are not otherwise available, for the densely populated community. Perhaps more importantly, it will provide a focus for community life that is otherwiseabsent, by centralising cultural opportunities and key services within one building.

OUR LOCAL ECONOMY WILL BE BOOSTED • The refurbishment of Govanhill Baths; as the structure by which Govanhill has defined itself since its closure; will provide all the trickledown effects of capital regeneration, when associated with high-qualityconservation and restoration works, that are demonstrated by schemes by othrs in other locations. • We will be creating ten full-time jobs for local residents, who it can be anticipated will be spending the majority of their earnings within the local community. • The Baths will be a leisure destination for local residents, encouraging them to spend more time within Govanhill, instead of travelling to the Gorbals for their leisure activities.

OUR ORGANISATION WILL BE MORE RESILIENT • With the help of PRT, we will grow as an organisation and will manage the project and related activities. • The outline business plan will be revised and a new business plan produced to ensure the long term sustainability of the trust and ultimately secure the future of the building. • The Business Plan will verify and include costing of activities as proposed in the Activity Plan to ensure the sustainability of the activities programme once the HLF project is concluded. • We will continue to maintain and develop partnerships with other local heritage sites for our mutual advantage. • We will continue to attract volunteers and high quality staff to manage the project. • We will institute and continue to develop a fund-raising strategy.

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