It’s already in lots of diaries – the Southside Festival on Saturday 26 May. Participation meetings have been held – giving the steering group useful feedback and generating interest. Another will take place on the Monday 19 March from 7.30 at the Govanhill Baths, 126 Calder Street, Govanhill. Glasgow. G42 7QR. All interested will be made welcome.
One of the topics will be the next Streetland Arts Festival as an essential part of whole.
Artist Luis McGill Art and his ‘Glasgow Venus’ project is likely to be a major player this year. (see picture)
The Glasgow Venus topic is ‘Occupation’ This is widely interpreted – from ‘occupying’ architecture in 3D to the all-female, three piece band Terminal Parade Local ‘occupying the architecture with experimental sound.’
Local resident and community artist Eilidg Graham will chat about what occupies her most as a community artist here and abroad at her annual residences. This will be done within the setting of a boxing ring so that people can experience the contrast in occupations.
Other contributions are anticipated from:
- Christina, a Govanhill resident who has raised her family in the area. She is a published poet, photographer and Youth Community Arts facilitator.
- Dr Katie Stewart, singer songwriter, seasoned local performer and partricipant in Govanhill Sculpture Group.
- Tilly Gifford local connected Environmental Artist ‘GSA’ shows her sketch book during her occupation with sharing and extending the seed bank globally during a hundred days psyching through monsoon and desert heat.
- Luis McGill will be showing his 100-year-old recycled silver work of The Glasgow Venus in miniature and in manikin-sized ‘occupation’ of Govanhill’s community buildings – including the Calder Street Baths. Other work by Luis on the Venus theme will be shown in ceramic, acrylic, on canvas, in pastel, mono print, motif, street art and in animated films of The Glasgow Venus.
- Not to be missed!
A tidal wave of joy swept through Govanhill on Saturday 4 February when film star Peter Mullen formally opened the first phase of the Calder Street baths. Several hundred people turned out to celebrate the occasion which was the justification of an 11 year running battle by the local community to reclaim the shuttered building.
‘United we will swim,’ is their motto. And that dream took the determined residents from the day the listed building was abruptly closed by Glasgow City Council and long term protesters evicted with such force that the angry community rioted in protest to Peter Mullen accepting a golden key from an Edwardian styled swimmer to unlock the front door.
It now leads into the original entrance hallway with various spaces functioning as offices and small meeting rooms. Progressively, the building will be brought into use with the three pools all included in the plan. Many new features are in the offing – including a cafe, an indoor garden and flexible space to use as a cinema or entertainment area.
Long term supporter Piper Craig McFarlane, in his Ancient Hunting McFarlane tartan, was delighted to play for the important opening.
Local resident Michael Rodger got into the swim of things in the tailor made, striped, swim suit. While the crowd assembled, Voicebeat choir entertained with many songs old and new including some of the campaign’s old rallying verses. As ‘Freedom is coming’ wafted around the tiled foyer and ‘This pool is my pool…. it belongs to you and me’ echoed through the new offices, mild concern spread among the organisers as one of the main guests – Glasgow City Councillor Archie Graham, overseer of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, failed to materalise in time.
More songs filled the gap till a harassed and apologetic Councillor arrived having been delayed.
Then everyone went outside to take pictures of Peter Mullen, the Edwardian Swimmer and the other VIPs such as local MSP Nicola Sturgeon who is on the Board of the Govanhill Baths Trust.
Peter Mullan gave a witty speech recollecting his boyhood spent in the pool. ‘If you stayed in too long over your time, the attendant put your towel in the water. So you had to borrow a bit of your pal’s towel to get dry.’
He taught his daughter to swim at the Govanhill Baths. ‘I couldn’t believe it when they were closed. It is amazing you’ve got to this point with phase 1A complete and I congratulate everyone concerned.’
Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said she’d supported the reopening of the Baths ‘even before I was elected.’ She went on: ‘It is my task to say Thank you to the Campaign and a huge thank you to Fatima Uygun and Andrew Johnson who refused to let the pool die. Their tenacity has delivered this amazing opening today.’
While Councillor Archie Graham said he was delighted to be at the event, he said he’d checked there was no water in the pools yet – ‘I was afraid I might be thrown it!’ he joked.
He recollected his boyhood days of walking from Gorbals to the Calder Street Baths – ‘which seemed miles and miles away.’ He emphasised that the Council was about to launch a ‘community assets transfer’ scheme. ‘We cannot provide all the services we once did, because of the massive budget cuts we have to cope with,’ he said. ‘But something like this pool could be transferred to the community and that stands, four-square, with what you have been doing in making this into a Community Health and Wellbeing Centre.’
Ill health prevented Joe McFadyen, superintendent for 20 years at the Baths, from attending the opening.
Said Andrew Johnson who chairs the Community Trust which now runs the place: ‘This is a fantastic and emotional day. We are celebrating 11 years of a long, long journey to get here. But the journey’s only just begun,’ he warned. ‘The second part of the journey is all about funding.’
The next event will be a film premiere on Saturday 25 February in one of the pools which was used as a ‘set’ while the film was being made.
There will be a big splash of VIPs on Saturday 4 February 2012 at the opening of the first phase of Govanhill Baths in Calder Street.
War Horse director Peter Mullan, local MSP Nicola Sturgeon and City Councillor Archie Graham who is responsible for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, will all be there at the historic launch.
The formal opening of the front part of the building as offices is the first tangible sign that the Govanhill Baths Trust will be able to re-vamp the entire building into a Community Wellbeing Centre. And with Historic Scotland, this week, confirming their support with funding, the next phase of work can get under way.
Said Andrew Johnson who has led the fight to retain the Baths in community use: ‘There is a great sense of relief and of achievement that we’ve managed to get this far – there has been so much support and work from so many people over the years. The Govanhill community’s return to the baths is the result of 11 years of hard work and commitment by many people in Govanhill, the Trust and the Friends of Govanhill Baths.’
A complex cocktail of funding from a wide variety of sources, support in kind by sponsors NORD Architecture and trojan efforts by local supporters see the dream beginning to come true: the Baths will return to public use. As the motto of the Trust says: ‘United We Will Swim!’
The listed Edwardian building has three pools, sauna and Turkish suites and was a major community hub till it was closed dramatically by the City Council after a long sit-in by protesters more than ten years ago.
Saturday will see the formal opening of the front part of the building. This houses the Headquarters of the Trust and its Centre for Community Practice. The Centre provides a series of community based programmes including healthy eating (Govanhill Grub) Create (an Arts programme) and dedicated learning and leisure facilities for local people.
The proposals for the next stage include the reinstatement of the learners’ pool, the ladies’ pool, the sauna and Turkish suite and the installation of a cafe, an arts suite and a greenhouse garden. The Historic Scotland funding has to be matched and ownership of the building has to be transferred by Glasgow City Council to the Baths Trust.
Said Andrew Johnson: ‘The ownership is a condition of Big Lottery funding and we’re negotiating with the City in the hope that that
can be achieved.’
The pool is making waves in other directions too. In October the National Theatre of Scotland will take one of the pools over for a three-week production. The legacy from that is expected to be a refurbished pool. In November a massive UK Sports injury exhibition will be located at the Govanhill Baths.
Meanwhile the Baths Trust is looking for photographs and memories of events held in the pool in past times. Contact them via their website: www.govanhillbaths.com
Thirteen people were hospitalised after a pram in a close was set on fire. All were later released after being treated for varying degrees of smoke inhalation.
The incident, in Calder Street on the city’s Southside, highlights the dangers of storing anything in common areas.
Polmadie and Castlemilk fire crews wearing breathing apparatus, quickly extinguished the minor blaze. But it generated an extremely large volume of thick smoke which quickly rose to the top of the four storey tenement.
Alarmed residents on opening their doors to check on the commotion in the building, breathed in the potentially dangerous fumes. As fire service personnel brought residents out of the building, ambulance and police ensured everyone was taken to safety, quickly.
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue personnel emphasise that especially at this time of year with Christmas decorations and parties, they will come to give a free Home Fire Safety Visit at an agreed time.
Experience fire crew assess the individual home and offer fire safety advice tailored to that property and the people living there. This can include the fitting of smoke alarms.
Work on re-developing the inside front of the Govanhill Baths building is going so well that the space could be ready to welcome people who attend the unique Panto in the Baths on Friday 9 December.
The Citizens Theatre, as good neighbours of the Calder Street Baths building and its Community Trust and in association with the local Centre for Community Practice (CCP), aim to stage two performances that day – a matinee and an evening show.
And they are looking for VOLUNTEERS! ‘It could be performing or production or front-of-house roles,’ said Lisa Peebles, the Trust administrator. ‘We’d be delighted if anyone could find the time to help. They should contact Helen Ross, manager of the CCP on 0141 433 2999 or email:email@example.com in the first place.’ And don’t forget to book your ticket for the Panto in the Baths too but via Lisa! See the website: www.govanhillbaths.com.
Just last month, the Trust received a grant of £400k from Historic Scotland to develop the first phase of the Baths building which will incorporate offices for the Trust and function space for events. The whole project will deliver a Wellbeing and community centre for the area in time.
As Glasgow Building Preservation Trust prepares for its AGM on Wednesday 16 November, it is still assessing the success of this year’s Doors Open Day. ‘A few key buildings have still to give us their visitor figures,’ said Anne McChlery, Director of the Trust. ‘But it looks as if numbers are similar to last year, despite the rain that weekend.’
One of the successes was Govanhill Baths which clocked 1076 people through the doors of the Calder Street listed building. More than 25 volunteer guides took groups of visitors through the premises to tell them what was happening with each bit as development plans get underway. Work on phase one of converting the place into a Community Wellbeing Centre has started. The foyer and one pool will be refurbished for use in time for the start of the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
Visitors came from home and abroad. Many of them re-lived their memories of learning to swim in the Baths, competing for medals in galas or of having baths there in days when few families had inside toilets far less a bathroom.
One swimmer had his father’s medals from the 1930s and 40’s including a 1947 Sea Cadets Gold Medal. A lady who learned to swim there in the 1950s, wanted to book a family party in the main pool as soon as it becomes available. One person from the 60s determined to find the circular shower sprinkler in the sauna suite because she’s never seen or enjoyed one like it since! The “bather” from the 1980s who swore she had never had a bath as deep and as refreshing as in the slipper baths. And a woman who remembered brides coming in for a bath on their wedding day when it was commonplace to see their wedding dress draped over the door of the bath cubical. One visitor told of going to the steamie with her mum every Monday morning in the 1950s. A swimmer from the 1990s, now13, remembered her first dips in the toddlers’ pool as a two year old!
In the past four years of Doors Open Day at the Govanhill Baths, more than 6000 people have visited. Said Andrew Johnston who chairs the Trust which is bringing the pool back into public ownership: ‘Everyone agrees this pool should be up and running and open again. It is a part of Glasgow’s heritage and legacy. It should be open for visitors, spectators and competitors alike for the Commonwealth Games in 2014.’ He thanked all the volunteers and visitors for making Doors Open Day 2011 a ‘resounding success.’
One of the first donations to Govanhill Baths Community Trust’s new charity Emporium in Victoria Road, was a Chinese dinner set from MSP Patrick Harvie. He had lodged a motion of support for the Trust’s efforts to re-open the Baths in Calder Street as a Health and Wellbeing Centre.
A strong supporter of the Trust’s work, he said their offices are about to move into the Baths building to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the closure of the public facility by Glasgow City Council. Said the Green MSP: “The move of offices will be a landmark moment in this hard-fought campaign.”
His motion at Holyrood commended the: “impressive hard work and energy of the Trust’s committed volunteers over the last decade.”He added: “I believe the baths will benefit hugely the citizens of Govanhill and the surrounding area.”
Raising funds towards the £12m needed to re-open the Baths, the Emporium was described by Patrick Harvie as: “a really great example of how creative, positive and passionate people can be when it comes to investing and supporting their communities. I wish the Govanhill Baths Community Trust success and look forward to being invited to the opening of the baths as well as the wellbeing centre!”
The next major fund raising venture will be an auction of art works from Thursday 17 March to Saturday 19 March. See www.bathsauction .com
Emporium manager, Inga Zaiceva is delighted with her job in Victoria Road as it gives around five times more space to display goods for sale, than the previous shop in Calder Street. She said: “The Baths and Wellbeing centre are badly needed. There are people in this area without showers. The community health problems of overweight and lonelieness need to be addressed. The re-opening of the Baths would help a lot to improve things.”
Mahri Reilly of Govanhill Baths Art and Regeneration eam is urgently looking for volunteers to help prepare their Refugee Week Event ‘All Our Futures’ which will be on Saturday 19 June starting at 10am at the Baths in Calder Street. Volunteers will be needed on the day but also on the day before – Friday 18 June from 1pm till 4pm. Govanhill Baths Community Trust are good at organising family, fun days and this will be no exception. For further details phone 0141 433 2999 or see website: www.govanhillbaths.com The Trust’s motto is: ‘United We Will Swim.’ as they progress to re-opening the Victorian Baths in Calder Street, Govanhill, as a modern health and leisure centre and a community hub.
May Day is the date for Govanhill Baths Community Trust’s next ceilidh. There will be a day of dancing, eating and enjoying all things May Day at the Langside Halls on May 1 from 7.30pm onwards.
Tickets cost £10 per person, £8 for concessions and £3 for the under 10s. The admission price also includes a haggis meal and the evening’s music will be provided by Just The Ticket.
May Day ceilidh tickets are available from the Trust office at 126 Calder Street, on a first-come, first served basis.
Govanhill Baths Community Trust is holding a Burns Night ceilidh and dinner on Saturday 23 January at Langside Halls in Shawlands.
Organisers are warning the success of last year’s sell-out is likely to be repeated. Entry is £10 and £8, which also covers a traditional haggis or meat-free haggis dinner. Entry for under 10s is £3 and for under 5s it’s free. Music will be provided by The Drueth and there will be a bar on the night.
Tickets are available from the Centre for Community Practice, 126 Calder Street. Govanhill. For information call 0141 433 2999.