This week I continued with my box listing assignment, steadily working through the collections, creating excel sheets and describing all the items. I was examining a box relating to the ‘Save Our Pool’ period of the Baths history, when I came across a number of Christmas Cards.

Xmas Card Selection

Xmas Card Selection

These cards serve as a reminder of the fantastically creative approach of Save Our Pool activists downs the years. The cards were commissioned by the Govanhill Baths Community Trust in 2008 to raise money and awareness for the cause. Local primary school classes were encouraged to submit designs, the very best being chosen to be printed and sold in the area. I think you’ll agree the designs are fantastic!

Xmas Card Design One Xmas Card Design Two

Moreover, the children who created these wonderful designs epitomize the diverse community which the Baths serve, being of South Asian, Middle Eastern, Scottish and Eastern European heritage.
When people think of archives, they most likely would think of old manuscripts, or weighty, dusty tomes. However, these Xmas decorations richly deserve their place in the Govanhill Baths Archive, documenting as they do the nature of the local area and the actions that people have taken in order to protect their community.

Xmas Card Design Three

Spring is just around the corner and between a jam-packed programme, a new fundraising campaign, and community consultations, we’ll be keeping ourselves busy.

Regular workshops and courses, informal gatherings, and cultural events are all part of our programme this season.

With knitting, cooking, theatre, drama, yoga, upcycling and even angling, there’s a great variety to suit different age groups, interests, and budgets. Courses get added all the time, so drop in to hear about other ongoing activities.

Following on from the highly successful This Is Not A Fashion Show of 2014, Rags to Riches will again be turning the big pool into a catwalk on 14 May for an evening of upcycled fashion. We will also be hosting screenings in association with the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, theatre productions as part of the Southside Fringe Festival and a whole host of one-off and regular events. To see everything on offer, look at the PDF of the programme, or visit our online calendar.

With a new team member dedicated to working with the community in Govanhill, the next few months will be filled with opportunities for all community members to get involved and help us develop the Baths to work for you. The Baths belong to all of us, and we will depend on your advice and help as we get ever closer to reopening. If you have any ideas now on the best way to reach your community, email Katie at to get in touch. Watch this space!


The Govanhill Baths Community Trust are proud to announce that after 14 years of determined campaigning the historic baths refurbishment will begin in 2017!

The total investment to restore and refurbish our beloved building stands at £4.1 million, from sources including the Heritage Lottery Fund, Big Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, Glasgow City Council and many many donors and hardworking volunteers who have helped us achieve so much.

We are almost there, but we still £200K more to reach our target. We know we can do it.

During 2016, there will be many ways to help us reach this target including taking part in “I am a Govanhill Swimmer”, Sponsor a Tile, attending a production of The Steamie, and The International Light Show.

Sign up now to help us with our first campaign

As part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival 2016, Govanhill Baths Community Trust will be presenting a programme of movies and plays in association with Govanhill Theatre and Southside Film Festival.

We kick off the laughs on with The Southside Comedy Film Festival on Friday 12th March, screening Zoolander. On Saturday 13th March there is a matinee double bill featuring the Marx Brother’s classic Duck Soup and Howard Hawk’s His Girl Friday. The film festival finale is on the saturday with Mel Brook’s laugh-a-minute western Blazing Saddles

From March 22nd through to 26th Govanhill Theatre present Paula Vogel’s twist on ‘Othello’, Desdemona a Play About a Handkerchief directed by Bruce Downie.

Tickets for these and all events at the Glasgow International Comedy festival are available at or from the ticket hotline 0844 873 7353

This week I’d like to introduce some of the challenges that we face in trying to run and preserve the archive here at Govanhill.

Govanhill Baths Exterior

Govanhill Baths Exterior

Though the building is spectacular architecturally, an Edwardian municipal bathhouse is far from a conventional archive space. Our archival collections are stored in the former ‘Ladies Hot Baths’, on the upper floor of the building, with our ‘office’ being kept in a cubicle!

As renovations are an ongoing process, this part of the building is currently without heating , so it can get pretty chilly. Moreover, the roof is somewhat insecure and so conditions are at times damp. The fluctuation in temperature and moisture is a particular concern, as stability of climate is key when attempting to secure the long term preservation of paper records.

What’s more, due to broken windows I’ve even had the pleasure of being visited by local pigeons whilst sorting through materials!
Despite these challenges I believe that the archive at Govanhill is a great example of how community projects can flourish in even the most tricky of circumstances. We have decent storage in the form of two large shelving units and protect the items through the use of watertight plastic boxes. The shelves are then covered by a tarpaulin to protect them from the worst of Glasgow’s weather. We also have a number of ‘standard archival boxes’, which meet international regulations. Within each of our boxes are ‘Silica gel’ pouches, which combat moisture.

Shelves (2) Office - Laptop & Printer (2)

These materials were procured by our chief archivist Paula Larkin, with the help from a grant provided by the ‘Heritage Lottery Fund’. It was this endowment – gifted as part of the Bath’s centenary celebrations in 2014 – that allowed for the archive to be established. Though not a large sum, this money has provided a decent and stable facility for the keeping an archival collection.

The heritage money also allowed Paula to buy a laptop and scanner, which will hopefully in the future allow us to digitize our collections so that more people can have access to them!

It goes to show that with ingenuity and a few modest resources local groups can safely store precious items. At Govanhill we’re able to secure items to a professional standard and keep them close to the people who care about them most.

Morning all! As promised, if a little late, here’s one of the tunes from ‘The Song Factory’ album mentioned in last weeks blog. It’s a rendition of ‘The Wild Rover’ re-imagined by Alistair Hulett as ‘The Bold Swimmer’.

Alistair was a key figure in the Save Our Pool campaign, using his talents as a singer and songwriter to raise awareness of the cause. There’s barely a song on the album which he didn’t have something to do with! Alistair was a gifted musician and political activist who sadly passed away in 2010. He had a long and distinguished career which spanned five decades, writing music which encompassed the best of folk, punk and rockabilly. I don’t have room here to do justice to the man’s achievements, but please do take a look at his website.

Alistair Hulett

Alistair Hulett

During the early occupation of the Baths, Alastair’s songs played an important role. Every Wednesday, in order to commemorate the start of the occupation, the 21st of March 2001, people would gather outside of the Baths and sing campaign tunes. These musical demonstrations helped the movement gather momentum, not to mention raising the spirits of the activists inside!