Govanhill Baths is delighted to feature in a new short film from Glasgow City Heritage Trust.

The Trust says of the film:

“Glasgow, like cities all around the world, is today at a very real risk from climate change. The city’s heritage is no stranger to these concerns, but our historic buildings are also part of the solution to the climate crisis. In this video Taylor Cross-Whiter from Glasgow City Heritage Trust and David Harkin from Historic Environment Scotland travel around the city to visit the Briggait, Glasgow Central Station, Bell Street Stables and Govanhill Baths to speak to people on the ground about how historic buildings can provide sustainable solutions that help Glasgow mitigate climate change.”

 

 

Click to visit Glasgow City Heritage Trust website

 

 

Exterior of Govanhill's Bath in the early 1900s

Young male standing wearing a hardhat

 

Hello! I’m Kev. As a newly-minted addition to the volunteer team with GBCT, last month it was my honour to be asked to participate in Glasgow’s Doors Open Days as a Tour Guide. Despite having never taken charge of tours before, I wanted to try something different and learn a new skill. When I moved to nearby Pollokshields in January 2020 and began working in Govanhill, it immediately became apparent that this is a rather special community. Little did I know, however, that this ethnically diverse and culturally interconnected area of Glasgow had such a rich history to be explored— particularly if one listens to the walls inside the Govanhill Baths.

The moment you enter this beautiful Edwardian building, it captures your soul. Mesmerised, you are transported back to scenes of steam and banter swirling around groups of children as they learn to swim or women as they gather to do their washing and trade the latest gossip. Throughout the twentieth century, people not only from Govanhill but from all over Glasgow came to sample these famous baths, which were known to be the most satisfyingly hot among all the twenty-odd such buildings across the city.

Fast-forward to 2001, and as we know the City Council decided to close down this unique space which had stood as a pillar of the community for over 80 years. However, now that it has been reclaimed by the community and the regeneration project is well under way, my generation will have the opportunity to reinvigorate these baths with new connections and experiences which I am sure will continue to carry the character and spirit of Govanhill for decades to come. It was truly gratifying to witness the open wonder and excitement of attendees to these tours as they gazed up at the iconic red beams above the pool, or touched their fingers against the grooves in the walls where people used to grind their pennies as they awaited their turn to enter the building.

I must say a huge thank you to Bruce Downie for writing his brilliant book on the history of the baths, and for being so gracious as to share his knowledge with this newbie Tour Guide who just happened upon this opportunity to participate in such a wonderful experience. I cannot wait until a year from now, when I can step into the newly refurbished space, close my eyes, and listen to the sounds of laughter and conversation as they bounce off these old walls once more.

(Bruce Downie’s book “99 Calder Street” can be purchased in our online shop. Click to view it now.)

Govanhill Baths is one of Forty-four creative projects across Scotland taking place thanks to £903,734 National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland in the latest round of Open Fund Awards.

Three ambitious and unique art works including a large-scale hand-crafted mosaic from artist from Nathan Coley will be incorporated in the redevelopment of Govanhill Baths. The Baths are due to reopen as a community-led wellbeing centre in summer 2022.

Alex Wilde, Chair of Govanhill Baths Community Trust said: “Creativity has always been key in the campaign to save Govanhill Baths and we are excited that because of this award, permanent artworks can be commissioned to help us celebrate that legacy and continue our commitment to art in the community for the community.”

Nathan, a Turner Prize nominee, is internationally renowned and has produced site-specific sculptures for a wide variety of contexts. He also lives locally and has a personal connection to the building. He is excited about working with the Trust and contributing to the redevelopment.

Nathan Coley

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. It distributes funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information visit : www.creativescotland.com

The Govanhill Street Music Festival is back on Sunday 15th August! Join us to celebrate the rich and diverse musical contributions from the artists of Govanhill. This unique event showcases the talent and skill of top musicians and artists  – they take centre stage and fill the streets with music, bringing our community together.

Listen to traditional Bulgarian folk music from power house voice Vanya Semerdjieva of Loznitsa, the soulful tunes of French-Cameroonian singer-songwriter Djana Gabrielle and contemporary Classical guitar from Calum Borthwick and Celtic soul rebel music from An Tine Chnámh. Join the stage co-hosted by Romanolav and Ando Glaso featuring some of the best Roma musicians the area has to offer, and socially dis-dance against racism at the Love Music Hate Racism stage.

The street music festival is a powerful celebration of the talented artistic community of Govanhill and is a reminder of how music and culture can break down divisions and bring us together. We need to be united to tackle racism. This is what our music festival seeks to display – that the diversity in our community is our strength.

You can download this year’s full Street Music Festival programme here.

The Govanhill International Festival and Carnival is back: bigger, brighter and bolder than ever
before!

Now in its fifth year, the festival began in 2016 as an antidote to racism towards migrant
communities from Eastern Europe in Govanhill. It started as a carnival, parade and weekend
of music, aiming to celebrate the diversity of the area and combat division and hate. It has
since grown into a beautiful, two week extravaganza, embodying the richness and diversity of
the flourishing arts and culture scene in Govanhill. This programme features over fifty events
– including talks, music, workshops, film, exhibitions, theatre, heritage events and guided walks
– and even more can be found on our online programme at www.govanhillbaths.com. We’re also
overjoyed to welcome back our Carnival and Parade after its hiatus in 2020, and thrilled to bring
back our Street Music Festival after its resounding popularity last year.

Safety is still paramount, and all events will adhere to Covid-19 government guidelines. Social
distancing will be put in place and all events being held indoors, or confined outdoor spaces, will
be ticketed and limited to manageable numbers. It is important that our festival is as inclusive,
accessible and family friendly as possible, so all events are free unless otherwise stated.

At its heart, the Govanhill International Festival and Carnival is, and will always be, an anti-racist
festival: celebrating the contributions immigrants have made to a community that is home to
people of 40+ nationalities speaking 60+ languages. We are proud to live here, proud of our
diversity, heritage and history, and the GIFC is a declaration of that. So join us this year to
celebrate five years of the GIFC, and to celebrate Govanhill!

Click to view the full programme now

Detroit, Glasgow Kolkata

Govanhill Baths is happy to be participating in an upcoming free event that examines the relationships to land and connecting voices in Detroit, Glasgow, and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta)  to explore pluralities and common areas of concern in community development and organising, strategic activism, and cultural sustainability at neighbourhood level.

The event takes place online on Saturday 12 June, 12:00 to 2:30pm.

Click to find out more and book a free space. 

Three localities across the world with varying commonalities and historic connections come together. Despite their uniqueness, there is much to tell, share and (un)learn from. This project seeks to provide a context to meet, exchange and listen. Conversations will delve into deep community wisdom, knowledge and lived experience. The discourse will shed light on nuanced and often complex relationships to land.

Other contributors:
Eastside Community Network

Based in Detroit’s Eastside, the Eastside Community Network spearheads initiatives that promote social cohesion, neighbourhood sustainability, community participation, and resident empowerment.

The ECN’s team implements and facilitates programs and projects to support the local community, with a specific focus on climate equity, community organising & planning, business & economic development, youth development, and wellness & resilience hubs.

The ECN’s own podcast Authentically Detroit, hosted by Donna Givens Davidson and Orlando Bailey, takes a comprehensive look at contemporary issues such as housing, spatial racism, economic development, neighbourhood planning, self-care, and community trauma, and how they impact Detroit.

Southern Avenue street vendors with Mansara

Mansara, Centre for Study, Conservation, and Development of the Built Heritage – a non-government organisation based in Kolkata, seeks to bring out the complex relationship around the use, ownership, and dispute over land, both urban and rural, through engagement and amplification of people’s voices. The overall objective of Mansara is to provide support to projects related to education, research, planning, and management of sustainable services and infrastructural development (both rural and urban) in the social sector, along with research, development, and conservation of historic sites, housing, and environment.

Happy Volunteers’ Week to all of our wonderful volunteers!

Govanhill Baths thanks all the volunteers who have helped us in this very difficult year and to all who have been in touch are now able to bring their time and dedication to helping the fantastic Govanhill Baths Community.

Click to view some information on volunteering with Govanhill Baths.

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please get in touch and email volunteer@govanhillbaths.com.

 

We are happy to announce the chosen illustrator of our recent open call to create an illustration of the Battle of Calder Street.

We had almost 60 submissions and after a tough decision-making process we chose Aoife O’Toole to carry out the commission.

Aoife will create an illustration of the moment in 2001 when police used greatly disproportionate force to evict protesters from the Baths’ building.

The illustration will feature in a new book about the history of Govanhill Baths by local historian Bruce Downie. The book will be launched at Govanhill International Festival and Carnival in August. It is a follow-up to Bruce’s book “Loved and Lost: Govanhill’s Built Heritage”, which takes us on a journey through the ever-changing landscape of Govanhill. Click to view it in our online shop.

Aoife O’Toole (AKA DJ Egg) is an illustrator and creative designer from Co. Kildare, Ireland and is now based in the southside of Glasgow. They get their inspiration from music and community and are constantly between the lines of sharing music and creating art. They are resident DJs of @hausofsidhe drag collective and have a monthly show on Dublin Digital Radio. Their work is inspired by personal experience, memories and the people around them.

Click to view their Instagram account.

Line drawing of two people embracing on a sofa

Graffiti portrait of George Floyd with text "I can't breathe"

Combating racism is something which should matter to all of us and is central to the work and principles of Govanhill Baths and all that we do. We recognise our role in Govanhill in combatting racism, bigotry and discrimination, and working with others to aid the defeat of such prejudice.

We define ourselves by a commitment to anti-racism in everything we say and do. We stand in solidarity and common cause with all those in Govanhill and beyond who share such similar values. Central to this is listening to the voices of black and ethnic minority individuals and communities and understanding their experiences.

We stand for a Govanhill without racism, discrimination and prejudice and will work with others to aid bringing this about. We invite others to work with us to bring about a world defined by equality, justice, and respect for all. Together we know that we are stronger and that what unites us is more important than what divides us.

 

Click to download our antiracism poster.

 


 

Aboveis a new video of the Glasgow Southside Socialist Choir singing “Song for George Floyd”.

Song For George Floyd

lyrics by D. Lees and L. McKinnon. Melody originally from the song ‘Joe Hill.’

I dreamed I saw George Floyd last night
Alive as you and me
For though they took the breath from him
I never died, said he
I never died, said he

From Minnesota to Kirkcaldy
we sing all their names
for George is one of many who
died at the hands of hate
died at the hands of hate

Racist coppers killed you George
pinned you to the ground
And when you died, across the world
The voice of justice sounds
The voice of justice sounds

[humming verse]

From New York to Glasgow Green
In every street and square
We take the knee, we stand our ground
Your spirit lingers there
Your spirit lingers there

For George and for
all of the names
rise and heed the call
for there can be no peace until
there’s justice for us all
there’s justice for us all

Our Wellbeing, Arts and Health programme in partnership with Govanhill Doctors Surgery is currently piloting a 6-month social prescribing initiative.

Throughout lockdown we’ve been working with Community Link Practitioners to create arts and crafts, gardening and wellbeing packs for patients.

We’re now running two tailored classes and have commissioned custom-made distraction boxes for anyone using self-harm as a coping mechanism:

Social Prescribing Walking Group (weekly on a Friday)

Gentle outdoor exercises with a friendly group of people. Also learn more about birds, trees and plants as you walk. Walks will be both on and off paths.

Social Prescribing Gardening Group (weekly on a Saturday)

Gentle morning of gardening, chatting round a fire or walking in the nearby woods. For anyone new or experienced in gardening, whether for growing your food or to spend more time outside.

Distraction Boxes: (Designed by artist Sarah Leal)

Sarah says: “I have based this box around the concept of wellbeing. Now what is wellbeing? It really compromises two things, one is feeling good and the other one is functioning well. They sound pretty simple and straightforward but most human beings will admit that they are far from being simple. Personally, what makes me feel good and function well is a combination of little things which include self care, connecting with myself and others, being active and learning.”

The box contains different tips, objects, words and kindness to help people understand what it is that they enjoy doing or making, what makes them feel hopeful.

To book onto any of these activities, people speak to their Community Link Practitioner at Govanhill Doctors Surgery, or email hayden@govanhillbaths.com to self refer.

Here is some text that you could share about Community Link Practitioner’s and how to access them

About Community Links Practitioners

Community Links Practitioners  work with people to help them address the issues that matter to them. They find out what’s happening in the community and can help people to access services, support or activities that might be of interest to them. They talk about what is going on in a person’s life, taking the time to listen and identify concerns or issues. Practitioners can discuss what’s in a person’s area and whether they’d like to access anything.

To meet a Community Links Practitioner, people should ask the GP, nurse or receptionist at Govanhill Doctors Surgery to make an appointment.

Community Links Practitioners are based in Govanhill Health Centre Practice A, B and C.

Click to view Practice B’s Facebook page

Click to view Practice C’s Facebook page

(Practice A doesn’t have a page yet.)

Click for more information on Govanhill Baths’ Wellbeing, Arts and Health Programme.

 

The community banner (above), made for last year’s Govanhill International Festival made by local artist Sarah Leal and over 40 members of the community, is now on display in Practice A of Govanhill Doctors Surgery. There will be some newly commissioned Art going up in the surgery over the coming months.