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
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.
Andrew Johnson, Chairperson of the Govanhill Baths Trust received an extra special birthday present this week: Historic Scotland approved a £400k grant for Phase 1 of the Baths project.
Being developed by local people for local people into a Wellbeing Centre, the Baths are a community focal point. Work has started on the foyer of the listed building to make it usable space where the Trust’s office can be located.
Closed at short notice by Glasgow City Council more than ten years ago, riots erupted because of the way peaceful, long term, sit-in protesters were evicted and the building sealed.
Since then a powerful linking of local community groups of diverse backgrounds has worked to re-open the Baths. With the help of the Historic Scotland funding and other funders this will now happen.
Before he went away to celebrate the extra ordinary birthday present, Andrew said: Everyone agrees that the pool should be up and running again. It is part of Glasgow’s heritage and legacy. We aim to have it open for the Commonwealth Games in 2014.’
Historic Vinicombe Street Garage will not be demolished to make way for flats, restaurants and retail premises.
Scottish Ministers have vetoed permission Glasgow City Council gave for development of the 1906 building by owners Arnold Clark.
Last year the Council narrowly agreed to allow parts of the ‘A’ listed multi storey garage to be demolish to develop the site for commercial and residential purposes. But Scottish Government ministers called in the application and gave their reasons for the overturning of the Council’s move, in a letter dated 12 January.
Commenting on the decision Save the Botanic Gardens Garage spokesperson, Sam Maddra, said: ‘We are delighted with the Scottish Ministers decision, and having read the full independent report, it clearly vindicates all of the arguments we have put forward since Arnold Clark Automobiles first announced their original plans to entirely demolish this highly significant historic building.
‘We hope that the company will now do as we have urged all along: place the property on the open market at a price reflecting its current condition, in accordance with national policy. This would allow prospective restoring purchasers the opportunity to undertake a more sympathetic approach. The building continuing to lie empty, is in no-one’s interest, but it is clearly not necessary to demolish many of the most interesting and historic parts to breathe life back into this fantastic structure.
‘In the meantime, it is important to ensure that the fabric of the building is not allowed to deteriorate any further, and we will continue to monitor the building closely, while pressing Arnold Clark and the council to find a positive way forward.’
Robert Brown, Glasgow Liberal Democrat MSP, supported local residents as they fought against the plans, which they considered were not in keeping with the local area. He told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘I am delighted that Scottish Ministers have now knocked back these ill-thought proposals. It is a victory for common sense. The last thing the West End and its residents, need is more flats, restaurants and shops. The proposals by Arnold Clark were not at all in keeping with the historic, grade ‘A’ nature of the building, or indeed with the local area.
‘The building is in the Glasgow West Conservation Area and it is of importance to the local people. It is now vital that a future use is found for it which is imaginative and in keeping with its history and which safeguards the original features which led to its being ‘A’ listed in the first place.’
Known as the Botanic Gardens Garage, the purpose built, multi-storey car park was used by many of the first motor car owners in the West End.
As this ENEWS letter went to press, a response was awaited from Arnold Clark.
Since opening in 1883, the hotel at Glasgow’s Central Station has had some historic visitors. On Monday 4 October the newly refurbished and renamed Grand Central Hotel officially opened its doors – aiming, once again, to be THE place to be seen in.
The £20 million refurbishment of the iconic building began in 2009 after it was bought by renowned hotel group Principle Hayley. The work done has reinstated some of the building’s original motifs, including an ornate Italian marble floor, intricate cornicing and, in the ballroom, a set of hidden windows. These were uncovered when the ceiling was lifted by three meters, and duly restored
Also unveiled, a new bar, Champagne Central, which overlooks the famous concourse in Glasgow Central station. The first four floors – there are seven in total – currently offer 118 refurbished bedrooms. Although open, construction work is ongoing. By next week, the Grand Central Hotel will boast 168 rooms, a restaurant and a Deli. This will complete Phase 1 of the refurbishment. Phase 2 is due to be finished early next year and will see a range of rooms available on the top three flours.
The re-opening represents a great day for new general manger Laurie Nicol, who left the Hilton group in January to run the Grand Central.
Laurie told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘The Central Hotel is one of the most beautiful buildings in Glasgow. When I found out it was getting refurbished I decided it would be a great place to work. I am delighted to get the job, it’s been a huge learning curve – I did not know much about the refurbishment process before and it’s certainly been entertaining and exciting.’
She added: ‘I am very proud of what we have achieved. We’ve been able to keep the romance of the hotel alive while bringing it up to date with a stylish, contemporary, twist.’
Principle Hayley’s team worked closely with Historic Scotland – the building is A- Listed- and interior designers Charles Leon Associates. Charles Leon outlined some of the principles behind the work: ‘We have tried to design a hotel fit for today’s lifestyles while fully respecting the existing form and features and, indeed, revealing and refurbishing others that have been lost over the decades.’
Purchased by Principle Hatley in the spring of 2009, Grand Central became the 23 hotel in their portfolio. Principle Hayley CEO Tony Troy said: The £20 million refurbishment has been a major project and it’s great to see the transformation nearing completion. The hotel has played a major part in Glasgow’s history and we are looking forward to next the chapter.’
The hotel has seen some famous faces during it’s long history. Her Majesty the Queen has stayed as have Laurel and Hardy, Cary Grant, and Frank Sinatra. Perhaps the most illustrious guest of all was much-loved former US President John F. Kennedy. Should President Obama plan a stay, you can bet the staff - 165 personnel- would be kept busy polishing the 25 metre chandelier that hangs down the main stairwell.
One of the hotel’s three executive suites has been named after JFK. The other two are called Robert Rowand Anderson- the Scottish architect responsible for the hotel’s 1876 design- and John Logie Baird, who sent the first long distance TV images from the hotel in 1927.
To mark the occasion of the reopening, Principle Hayley had former Miss Scotland, Nieve Jennings, try out the Champagne in the new bar, clad in a stunning red dress that would have had Frank Sinatra and JFK running round the chandelier.
by Lynsay Keough
The 5th annual Historic Glasgow event has heralded an exciting new development this year, with the launch of the Historic Glasgow website, www.historicglasgow.org
As well as offering access to a wealth of rarely seen images of the city, the website site offers a framework for a wide range of cultural groups to come together.
It offers a fantastic reference point for families hoping to develop their children’s interest in the history of their native city and how it is relevant to them.
There is also a specific resource for teachers to be able to bring local history into the curriculum and bring local historical events to life.The website will focus on the key themes of the Historic Glasgow strategy and features links to anything from Glasgow’s medieval history to historic landscapes, from archaeology, family history to military history and history of local rivers and canals.
The City Chambers hosted the event, with various exhibits from related bodies, such as the Glasgow Womens Library, Friends of the Glasgow Necropolis and Historic Scotland.
Glasgow was the first council in Scotland to be given more responsibility for listed building consent and planning within their region. Historic Scotland are so happy with the way that this enabled both government agency and council to work more closely together, and thus streamline the sometimes lengthly and expensive process, that other councils throughout the country are now following suit.
by Lynsay Keough, photos Stuart Maxwell
One of the most familiar features on the Glasgow skyline reopened its doors in July. As if beaming with pride, sunlight flooded into the newly restored Briggait on launch day.
The beautiful, A-listed, former fishmarket has been lovingly transformed and now houses more than 80 artists and art organisations. It hosted several Merchant City Festival events.
Members of the public will be able to access the stunning 1873 courtyard on a permanent basis from this month.
The redevelopment has taken two years and £6.5 million to complete. Funding came from various sources including Glasgow City Council, Scottish Arts Council Lottery Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, the Hugh Fraser Foundation, the Mickel fund and ethical lenders, Tridos Bank.
David Cook, Chief Executive of WASPS Studios, the Arts charity responsible for the redevelopment, is delighted with the uptake of the new studio facilities. He said: ‘We have been able to offer people on our waiting list the new studios. Some artists have come over from King Street. The light and energy in the Briggait is amazing.’
Attending the launch was Jennifer Paterson, one half of “Spokes”, a aerial duo skilled in acrobatic displays with lengths of silk.
Football grounds, bowling greens, dog tracks, ‘doocots’, racecourses, blaes pitches, athletics tracks and swimming clubs; our city has had them all. Ged O’Brien’s book, Played in Glasgow, is a modestly-sized but mighty anthology that covers every sporting nook and cranny since Victorian times.
This is part of the superb Played In Britain series, backed by Historic Scotland and English Heritage. The volume is subtitled ‘charting the heritage of a city at play’, and is a store of information for those of us who choose to look beyond the elegant stone facades, towering steel skeletons and pretty, manicured lawns.
Beyond Hampden Park, the home of Queen’s Park and Scotland’s international team, there are retrospectives on the homes of Rangers, Celtic, Partick Thistle, Clyde and the bullish ranks of Glasgow Junior football.
O’Brien also looks at the homes of the city’s many rugby teams and enjoys our rich bowling heritage, all recorded with excellent photography and detailed with the care of a first-class reference work.
Played In Glasgow has a section on swimming baths and clubs, from the elegant but forgotten municipal pools of the late 1800s to their 21st century heirs and the architectural wonders of the Western and the Arlington Baths clubs.
The book also strikes a nostalgic tone with a look at the city’s remaining red ash ‘blaes’ pitches and takes a flight into the world of the Glasgow pigeon fancier and their home-built doocots. Neither does it neglect cricketing heritage nor pass by the huge achievements of our many athletes over the years.
With one eye on Glasgow’s place as host for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, this book is a roadmap that shows us how far we have come, what we have won, what we have lost and hints at what could yet be.
A blend of social and cultural history and a treat with archive and modern photography, sometimes evocative and occasionally controversial, Played In Glasgow is an essential addition to the book collection of anyone who has an eye for their city’s sporting heritage.
LOCAL NEWS GLASGOW has three copies of Played in Glasgow to give away.
For a chance to win your own copy, just write and tell us which football teams play their home games at Hampden Park.
Send your answers by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put ‘PLAYED IN GLASGOW COMPETITION’ in the header field and remember your name, address and a daytime telephone number. You can also enter by snail mail, please write with your answer to Played In Glasgow Competition, Local News Glasgow, YAM Publications, Third Floor, 142 West Nile Street G1 2RQ. Don’t forget all your contact details.
This competition closed at 9am on Monday, May 24.