After great interest in the post on Victorian Baths, a friend sent me a link to the North Woodside in Glasgow.
It is currently part of the Glasgow Club, membership of which offers a variety of gyms, pools and other leisure facilities.
It’s a fully restored Victorian Baths with steam bath and sauna, like the Arlington and the Western, but unlike those baths the rich architectural history isn’t celebrated on the site. Judging by the interest in the Arlington’s recent Doors Open day, with over 1500 visitors over a weekend, the building and its interior is a big draw when it comes to a Victorian baths.
A bit of research reveals more information about the North Woodside. Glasgow itself is packed with architectural heritage and the image below can be found on the fantastic Glasgow Story website, a project dedicated to telling the story of the city, in the words of some of Scotland’s best writers and pictures from its world-famous libraries, museums and universities.
White and beige tiles, honey coloured facing brick, and light wood finish give a continental look to the pool.
The original building, opened in 1882, had twenty-seven private baths for men, seven for women, and sixty-seven washing stalls in the “steamie”. 60,000 people a year used the facility, at a charge of a penny for adults and a half-penny for juveniles.
The refurbished pool was part of North Woodside Leisure Centre. Facilities include a spectacular fountain arrangement, jacuzzi, steam room, multi-purpose dance and physical fitness studio and sun beds.
The image below and accompanying information from Glasgow City Council Libraries gives a feel for how popular a facility like this was when it opened in the 1880s.
North Woodside Baths and Wash-house was designed by the City Architect John Carrick and built in Braid Square between 1880 and 1882.
The Baths contained two swimming pools (one for men and one for women) and twenty-seven private baths for men and seven for women. There were sixty-seven wash-house stalls in the “steamie”. On Fridays a long queue would form as people waited for their weekly hot bath. However during the Christmas and New Year period there are stories of bathers queuing from 6am, with brothers and sisters taking it in turn to wait in line.
A forum poster recalls the social side of the steamie:
I remember the women all washing in the stalls and the big barrows for loading the clothes into to take to the spinners. When the washing came out the spinners then the women hung them on the driers that pulled out from the wall.
There were table’s for folding the washing which was also where the women stood for a gossip and maybe a flask of tea.
Tags: swimming pools