Govanhill Baths – Glasgow, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Govanhill Baths

The community pools that the community refused to give up on. 


Opened in 1914, Govanhill Baths were the hub of the Govanhill community in Glasgow.

With domestic washing machines still a futuristic dream and most of the tenements utilizing shared toilets, this was the place to come to wash your clothes, have a bath, and enjoy a swim. The facility once provided three pools, one large and two smaller baths, but they are no longer in use as a place to splash around in. The large pool, however, has been put to good use as a venue for performances and art installations.

Most of the Edwardian features still remain and are a sight to behold, from the old changing facilities to the spectacular roof and tiling. After a sharp decline in use after the general public started being denied regular access, the pool was closed by the Glasgow Council in 2001.  A “sit in” that lasted several months was staged by locals protesting the closure, but their efforts seemed to be in vain, for after their forcible removal by law enforcement, the building was boarded up and abandoned.

The pool lay derelict for many years, but the community had not forgotten their beloved bath and washhouse. After some aggressive campaigning, the Govanhill Baths Community Trust successfully managed to get the facilities opened for fundraisers and special events. and hold annual “Govanhill Baths Open days”, when the doors open to the public and an average of over 2000 people come to take a look around.

Glasgow council handed ownership back to the community in 2011, and the building is now a well-being center with daily use. Several theater groups and production companies use the building as a home base as it gets renovated a little at a time, preserving the Edwardian architecture and history of the building while continuing to give it a modern use.

Update as of October 2019: The Govanhill Baths are closed for renovations with plans to reopen in 2020.

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January 15, 2014

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