The Edwardian Govanhill Baths in Glasgow, the last of the city’s historic baths, was closed in 2001 to the consternation of the local community. In the years that followed, a range of protests against the closure resulted in the formation of the Govanhill Baths Community Trust in 2004. Work has since started on both renovation of the site – with additional amenities including saunas, Turkish baths and a fitness suite - and on creating a new community and art space for Glasgow. Arup and Hall Black Douglas are supporting the site’s redevelopment.
The Edwardian era, between 1901 and 1914, marks a relatively brief period of British culture with its own unique architectural style, fashion, and lifestyle. One of the period’s iconic buildings is the Govanhill Baths. The Baths, and last surviving one in Glasgow, is a grade B listed building that remained functional until 2001. The closure of the Baths by the local council, due to low use and excessively high costs for the needed refurbishment, resulted in significant community activity aiming for a reopening.
The Govanhill Baths Community Trust was set up in 2004 with the aim of organising a sustained campaign to save the Govanhill Baths. The Trust organised more than 325 events to support the refurbishment of the Baths, and, in 2013, the Baths reopened as a community hub. The organisation aimed at reopening the Baths themselves, with the addition of a range of new amenities - including a Turkish suite, theatre venue and an arts space. In 2015, the Trust received a £1.2 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant as an initial investment for the site's renovation.
It was recently announced that Arup has been appointed as part of a design team led by Hall Black Douglas Architects, which has been tasked to refurbish and transform the Govanhill Baths into a community wellbeing centre. Arup will provide structural, mechanical, electrical, and public health (SMEP) engineering services to the Govanhill Baths Community Trust venture, among which the restoration of two of the three baths; the addition of saunas; Turkish baths; and a fitness suite, as well as to create a new community and art space for Glasgow.
Alan Walsh, Chair Govanhill Baths Community Trust says “After 15 years of campaigning, Govanhill Baths Community Trust is delighted that the local community will be swimming again in the historic Govanhill Baths. The refurbishment of the 100 year old Edwardian building into a wellbeing centre will help address the many health statistics in the area, which are some of the worst in the country. This is a good day for the local community and a good day for our beloved Govanhill Baths.”
Paul Johnston, Project Director, Arup says “Our building engineering team is thrilled to have been appointed to this project and we look forward to contributing our technical expertise to such a significant building restoration initiative for the city of Glasgow – and to working once again with Hall Black Douglas.”