100 years of Govanhill Baths

Photo above: the main pool in 2011, photo by Gillian Hayes/Dapple Photography. Below: Save Our Pool gala day in 2001, photo courtesy of Nick Sims
Photo above: the main pool in 2011, photo by Gillian Hayes/Dapple Photography. Below: Save Our Pool gala day in 2001, photo courtesy of Nick Sims

A book commemorating 100 colourful years of Govanhill Baths is now available - and at a discount price for neighbours.

The community space was closed by Glasgow City Council in 2001 and later reclaimed as community and arts hub following the longest continuous occupation in British history and what neighbours refer to as ‘The Battle of Calder Street’.

Now, the Edwardian building’s past, present and future is explored in United We Will Swim: 100 Years of Govanhill Baths, published by Luath Press.

Editor and Baths artist Helen de Main told The Extra: “The book marks a significant milestone for us and is an important document of the story of the Baths.

“It has allowed us to celebrate the rich and diverse history that has brought us to where we are today, 100 years after the laying of the foundation stone, as well as uncovering new information and stories that have added depth and understanding to the picture of the Baths.

We are immensely proud of the book and is a great way to share the fascinating history with the community of Govanhill and more widely.”

Part of an ongoing bid to restore the place to its former glory, the book is made up of commissioned essays, and memories from those who used the facility, those who occupied and reclaimed it and the people who continue to volunteer and work to keep it afloat.

An essay by Dave Sherry reads: “The campaign was an inspiration, proving what a community can achieve if it stands together and takes matters into its own hands. But the story is not over. Govanhill Baths Community Trust is working towards a full re-opening. United We Will Swim!”

The book is £9.99, available from www.luathpress.co.uk, or Govanhill residents are able to pick up a copy from Govanhill Baths for £5 throughout April.

The launch of United We Will Swim coincided with both an archive exhibition by Paula Larkin, and a Future Archive project by artist-in-residence Ailie Rutherford, imagining life at Govanhill Baths in the decades to come.