Glenogle Baths | Accidentally Wes Anderson

Glenogle Baths

Accidentally Wes Anderson - Glenogle Baths Enlarge

Edinburgh, Scotland | C.1898

Photo Credit: Soo Burnell

With the rapid expansion of urban populations often living and working in unsanitary conditions, bath and wash houses were seen as essential public services. Enter Glongole Baths, a late 19th century public bath designed in a castellated style by Edinburgh architect Robert Morham in 1898.

Swimming clubs and bath houses were established in Scotland in the 1850’s following the passage of the 1846 Act to Encourage the Establishment of Public Baths and Wash-houses. The act aimed to provide the general public with ample access to sources of good hygiene.

The Glenogle Baths building was a significant addition to its streetscape, with an overtly fortified elevation to Glenogle Road in red sandstone to one side and a contrasting cream colored ashlar, corresponding with the terraced early 19th century town houses in Saxe-Coburg Place. Even after the public baths began to cater more to recreational swimming than washing, the Baths shifted focused as an immensely popular social past time during the 20th century.

After more than 100 years of use, the new millennia brought with it a threat of demolition. But thanks to community organizers, the baths were saved and reopened in 2010 after an expansive renovation was completed which maintained its classic Victorian style.

Glenogle was the last of Edinburgh’s five Victorian pools to undergo a full refurbishment. The first pool to undergo renovation was Dairy in 1990, followed by Leith Victoria in 1998, Portobello in 1999 and Warrender in 2006.

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