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- Date Added
- Local Authority
- West Dunbartonshire
- Planning Authority
- West Dunbartonshire
- NS 49555 70094
- 249555, 670094
Master of Works, Clydebank Burgh Council, opened 1932. 3-bay stylised Baroque former Swimming Pool with 7-bay, single storey retained facade to former Public Baths to right (see Notes). Sandstone ashlar. Base course, band course, cornice. Rusticated, key-stoned openings. Public Baths facade with round-arched entrance openings and segmental arched window openings. Bracketted cills.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: swimming pool to left. Centre bay with large, segmental-arched, 6-light, window with stone mullion and transomed window with Clydebank Coat-of-Arms above and broken wallhead pediment with central obelisk breaking eaves above. Flanking pilasters with urns at wallhead.
Predominantly fixed timber windows with small pane glazing. Open window openings to baths façade. Grey slates. swimming pool roof barrel-vaulted with large raised gabled rooflight.
INTERIOR: (seen 2009). Original layout to swimming pool largely intact. Reinforced concrete roof trusses. Decorative metal railings to stairs and upper and lower levels of poolside. Rows of changing rooms to poolside upper level with timber half doors. Internal pool steps at corners. Cast-iron and timber turnstile in situ. Entrance hall with internal glass and timber pay office with cupboards, shelves and high level windows. Garden laid out in former public baths area. Public baths demolished behind façade (2010).
Statement of Special Interest
This is a good example of a former swimming pool with part of the adjoning former public baths façade retained. Once a relatively common building type in urban Scotland, public baths have become obsolete and modern leisure centres have largely replaced traditional swimming pools. The retention of the public baths façade is a reminder of the importance of this building type.The building is a significant addition to the streetscape and it was purposefully designed to match the style of the earlier, 1902 Municipal Buildings in Dumbarton Road (see separate listing) by the Glasgow architect James Miller. Together, the buildings form the major part of a complete block and form a coherent civic centre in Clydebank The Baroque Revival design gives the building a distinctive appearance and the street elevation of the whole has significant streetscape value. The interior has interest in particular for its little altered swimming pool hall with decorative metal railings.
Swimming clubs and bath houses were established in Scotland from the 1850s following the enactment of the 1846 Act to Encourage the Establishment of Public Baths and Wash-houses, which was established to improve general public health with access for all classes of citizen. With the rapid expansion of urban population, often living and working in unsanitary conditions, bath and wash houses were seen as essential public services. The Act, which affected the entirety of Britain, encouraged local authorities to open up these facilities in areas of dense population. While men and women did not mix at these facilities, women would have had their own separate entrance, however they would have to attend at certain times when the male pools were not in use. It would not be until the 1870s when separate ladies pools were being considered in bath and wash house design. These bath and wash houses soon started to cater for recreational swimming rather than washing and this became a hugely popular social past time during the 20th century.
Built in the 1930s, this is a relatively late example and probably indicates that there were still a significant number of homes in Clydebank at this time with no bathing facilities.
The Bruce Street Baths was designed to replace the nearby Hall Street Baths (now demolished) which were becoming too small. The plans were approved by the Council in 1929 and the baths were opened in 1932. It originally had a variety of facilities, including Turkish Baths, Russian Vapour Baths, a laundry and a massage room. The public baths were originally 2-storeys in height. The building was largely demolished in 2010 with one storey if the street façade being retained and the area is now a garden.
List description updated as part of the sporting buildings thematic study (2012-13).
Ordnance Survey Map, 1935-8. Dr Ian Gordon and Simon Inglis, Great Lengths, The historic indoor swimming pools of Britain, (2009). Other information from Clydebank Heritage Trust, West Dunbartonshire Council and Douglas Campbell from Aberdeen City Heritage Trust.
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Printed: 22/06/2018 04:18