Govanhill Baths, Glasgow

Whilst on a work placement with Glasgow City Heritage Trust as part of my MSc in Museum Studies at Glasgow, I designed and researched an exhibition celebrating and promoting Glasgow’s Victorian and Edwardian Swimming Baths.  The exhibition was part of the GCHT’s 2014 Commonwealth Games summer celebrations, and I was delighted to be able to flex my creative an academic muscles on the project.

Govanhill Baths Main or Men’s ‘Pond’/Pool. Taken By Rachael.

Of course I had to pick any sport to celebrate apart from football, which in Glasgow has been slightly overdone.  Instead, sticking with the ethos and aims of the GCHT I decided to look into the city’s fantastic array of baths and washhouses, both public and private, from the late 1800s up until the First World War.  These buildings are important to acknowledge because across Scotland, many are now on the Buildings at Risk Register, including the once proud Whitevale Baths in Glasgow.

The peeling paint on the roof of the former Bath-House at Govanhill Baths. Taken by Rachael.

Govanhill Baths and Washhouses was featured in my exhibition because as well as being an important building with B-list status, it is also the home of the Govanhill Baths Community Trust, who formed in 2001 after Glasgow City Council threatened closure of the Baths.  After a long battle, the Baths future has been secured, and now it can look forward to a new lease of life at the heart of the Govanhill community as a Wellbeing Centre.  The Baths hold events all year round, from film screenings to plays, and are well worth a visit, especially in this their centenary year.  I have been asked to write an essay on the Architecture of the Baths for a book celebrating its 100th birthday which will be published in March, it’s great to be a part of this project in even a small way, and I look forward to reading the other chapters and looking at all the beautiful photographs, it is a very photogenic building.

The Ladies ‘Pond’/Pool at Govanhill Baths. Taken by Rachael.

To find out more about the fantastic events held at Govanhill Baths or about the work of the Community Trust, see their website:

To have a look at some images from my exhibition, have a look at the GCHT website:


All views expressed are our own and we cannot be responsible for the content of links in the above post.


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