Protest Music – Songs from the Govanhill Baths Archive

Welcome back to the Archivist’s Blog! This week I’ll be sharing with you some of the musical treats we have here in our collections.

My task right now at the archive, and for the foreseeable future (!), is to create ‘Box Lists’ of the collections. Essentially this means creating a written record of all items we have in our stores, with the aim of making them easier to access.Yesterday I finished sorting through my first box, which is part of the ‘Save Our Pool’ series. These items all relate to the political actions launched by the Govanhill community between 2001 and 2004 to protest closure and gain support for reopening the pool. The materials are fascinating, ranging from flyers to legal documents, collection boxes to surveys.

However what stood out most to me was the wealth of musical items from this exciting time of the Bath’s history.

Govanhill Baths Piano

By late April 2001 the occupation of the Baths was well underway, the community having first taken control of the building on March 21st. To commemorate the success of this direct action, ‘Southside Against Closure’ decided to publish a book of protest songs. The result was ‘The Govanhill Official Souvenir Songbook Volume One’.

'The Govanhill Official Souvenir Songbook Volume One’

‘The Govanhill Official Souvenir Songbook Volume One’

This booklet consists of 17 songs, a mixture of original compositions and re-workings of pop and folk songs. It’s a fantastic example of the British political musical tradition, and captures the excitement and energy that galvanised the community at this time.

Also contained within the box are several rough drafts of songs found in the songbook. One that stands out is a tune addressed to the Labour Councillor Charles Gordon, the then Leader of Glasgow City Council. The song, though untitled, is sung to the tune of ‘The Wild Rover’, and uses humor to pressurise the politicians to act. Particularly funny is the chorus:
“So it’s come on Charlie, Gonna Gie Us a Swim, Cos I’m a wild swimmer, Won’t put my trunks in the bin”.

Rough draft of the Govanhill version of 'The Wild Rover'

Rough draft of the Govanhill version of ‘The Wild Rover’

Handwritten Songs

Later in 2001 many of the songs featured in the songbook were recorded and put onto an album entitled ‘The Song Factory’, released through Red Rattler Records. We have several copies of the album in the archive. I’ll try and upload one of the songs to the blog later in the week.

CD Photo

 

 

 

New Year, New Volunteer at the Archive

Hello Everyone!

My name is Alex Duthie and I’m a Masters student at the University of Glasgow currently studying for a MSc in Information Management and Preservation (or to put it more simply, Archives!) In the past I’ve been lucky enough to work and volunteer at the Scottish Mining Museum and the Scottish Fisheries Museum. I have a passion for recording the social history of Scotland, hopefully honoring the stories and struggles of ordinary folk throughout time.

I’m happy to say that I’ll be helping out Paula at the Baths Archive over the coming months. My main job will be to sort and catalogue the materials, allowing people to find interesting items simply and quickly. I also hope to contribute regularly to this blog, sharing with you some of the amazing items the Baths and the wider Govanhill community have generated over the years.

Alex Duthie - Archival Assistant

I’ve already had the pleasure of handling a range of items relating to the ‘SAVE OUR POOL’ period of the Bath’s history, and will be uploading some pictures in the coming days.

Stay tuned…

Restored Save Our Pool Banners

Happy New Year!!!!

Very happy to share with you our two newly restored banners. Huge huge thanks to Ania Zapotoczna from Rags to Riches for the great job she has done. This ensures the banners will continue to illustrate the Save Our Pool campaign and the occupation of Govanhill Baths for years to come.

Paula

 

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Banner Tales of Glasgow

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Great to be at the launch of the Banner Tales of Glasgow booklet at the Mitchell Library today. Great speakers and the publication is excellent. It’s a really interesting project from Glasgow University, Glasgow Museums and the GMB union. Please see their Facebook page for details https://www.facebook.com/Banner-Tales-of-Glasgow-1554159684863652/?fref=ts. 

And here at the Baths really excited that after a recent visit from Helen Hughes, Textile Conservator with Glasgow Museums, who advised us how to best conserve our banners, that two are now being mended by our very own Rags to Riches upcycling project.

Gb-8                                                                                     Gb-9

Opening Doors

Hola!!
Since our last blog I’ve been to London to the Community Archives and Heritage Group annual conference which was excellent!!! Got introduced to alot of really interesting archive projects including:
– Milford Street Bridge Project, winner of the Community Archive and Heritage Group of the Year.
– Khizra Foundation, winner of the best new group.
– Ryde Social Heritage Group, voted best Website – my personal favourite!
– Newlyn Archive, winner of the Inspiration category.
Then a few days later I finally got the chance to visit the Victoria Baths in Manchester. Great bunch of people who like Govanhill Baths are working towards reopening as a public swimming baths and in the meantime are using the building for all sorts of interesting projects. They have a wonderful archive which was set up at the time of closure and has been developing ever since through the work of the Victoria Baths History Group.
Back at Govanhill Baths Archive we’ve had a wonderful day with a visit from Helen Hughes, Textile Conservator with Glasgow Life/Glasgow Museums who came to advise us on looking after our banners. We’re also busy getting geared up for Doors Open Day 2015.
Come and visit us in the main pool where we will be displaying all sorts of materials from Before Closure, Save Our Pool and Govanhill Baths Community Trust. You can listen to oral histories, watch video testimonies about the baths, read and write in our memory book and have a look at the multitude of newspaper clippings from the Save Our Pool Campaign and much more……
So whether your new to the Govanhill Baths story or a former user of the baths, where involved in campaign or more recently please come along and take part. David Baumann, former team manager of the Zenith Swimming Club which was based in the baths from 1955 until 1974 will be displaying trophies, photographs, records of swimming championships and annual galas from the materials which he recently loaned to the archive. David will be on havd to chat about the history of the Zenith Swimming Club.
Oh and if your interested in volunteering for Doors Open Doors get in touch.

http://www.communityarchives.org.uk/
http://www.milfordstreetbridgeproject.org.uk/
http://www.everydaymuslim.org/#!khizra-foundation/cfyh
http://www.rshg.org.uk/
http://newlynarchive.org.uk/

http://www.victoriabaths.org.uk/