The future is bright at Govanhill Baths

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Govanhill Baths takes a giant leap into the future this week — and The Extra is along for the journey.

Artist in residence Ailie Rutherford launches the Future Archive exhibition today (Thursday), 5.30-7.30pm — exploring life at the Baths as far as 100 years ahead.

Coinciding with the Edwardian pool’s centenary celebrations, Ailie’s work will mingle with an archive collection chronicling the history of the building - including a front page story in a 2057 edition of The Extra.

So, what will life be like 42 years from now? Well, it’s all down to people power...

Govanhill Baths is experimenting with people power in a bid to keep the historic building — and its public — going.

The facility — opened in 1914 — has been experimenting with new technologies to regulate temperatures in both the pool and the building.

Now, swimmers may be able to warm themselves up, using energy-generating swimsuits to heat the water around them.

A Govanhill Baths representative told The Extra: “With temperatures spiking during the summer, energy capture experiments are taking place to allow the use of human energy to power the air cooling system in summer and heating system in winter.

“The faster you swim, the more kinetic energy you put into the system, allowing us all to keep coming back to Govanhill Baths.”

Of course, not every swimmer needs water for their daily dose of exercise.

With virtual swimsuits already in use at Govanhill — maintaining even body temperatures without wasting water — many are putting in their lengths without getting wet.

But Baths officials hope that Govanhill residents will pull together to boost the facility’s energy supplies with a good, old-fashioned splash about.

The representative added: “Govanhill’s community-owned power generators allow us to heat our homes — but the heating of large swimming pools remains a problem.

“We hope to introduce the new technology by spring 2058, and welcome Govanhill’s active community in helping us hit that target.”

The Edwardian baths opened in July, 1914 and remained a washhouse and later a leisure facility until 2001, when Glasgow City Council closed the doors.

Activists occupied the building for 140 days while the community battled against the council and police outside, and decades of activism followed, with Govanhill Baths later established as a community and artistic hub.

The swimming pools reopened in 2020, but suffered a blow in the 2040s due to the energy crisis and restrictions on water heating. The Steamie reopened as a washing facility — both personal hygiene and clothes — in 2049.

The Future Archive exhibition runs Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm, until April 24.