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Work to begin on Govanhill Baths refurbishment 20 years on from historic protest

Original Save Our Pool protestors meet the building contractors
Original Save Our Pool protestors meet the building contractors

Work is set to begin on the refurbishment of Govanhill Baths 20 years after the community’s fight to save the building began.

The multi-million pound revamp is hoped to be completed in 15 months, restoring two of the Edwardian swimming pools, along with a new yoga studio, gym, Turkish Suite, community kitchen, cafe, and multipurpose meeting spaces.

It comes after two decades of campaigning and hard work, where Govanhill Baths Building Preservation Trust raised the necessary funds.

Clark Contracts have been appointed and work is due to begin on the Grade B-Listed Edwardian building this week.

How the refurbishment will look

Protesters first occupied the building on March 21st 2001 in an attempt to prevent it from closing. The occupation spanned 140 days and was to become one of the most effective and celebrated community protests ever mounted in Scotland.

The Community Trust formed in 2004 to raise funds to reopen the building as a community Health and Wellbeing centre.

Local resident Jean Adair, who was at the centre of the occupation in 2001 and has been part of the campaign since then, said: “The Baths were so important to the community and it was a big blow to us when it closed.

“Today is a very special day for us all. Govanhill came together to save its pool, and Govanhill won – we got our Baths back!”

The fight to save the Baths is being celebrated through a programme of events this year.

Alex Wilde, Director and Chair of Govanhill Baths Community Trust, said: “To be getting community ownership of the building when we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the campaign is a significant moment for the history of Govanhill Baths and the community of Govanhill.

“We have fought long and hard to save this building as a community facility with many supporters, collaborators and funders making it possible. We are so excited looking ahead to next year and reopening the building as a wellbeing facility, preserved for many generations of the Govanhill community to come.”