Western Baths Club

Glasgow, Scotland | C.1876

Photo Credit: Soo Burnell

The Western Baths Club is a Victorian-era private swimming and leisure club in Glasgow, Scotland. Founded in 1876, the club remains at its original site at 12 Cranworth Street and, along with the Arlington Baths, is one of two clubs of its kind left in Glasgow.

The ‘Baths’, as they are more commonly known, are cherished not only by residents of the city’s west end from where they take their name, but by many all over Scotland and across the world. Designed by architect Clark and Bell, the Baths are distinguished for their period trapeze and exercise rings suspended over the swimming pool.

During its early years, members of the private swimming pool came from a variety of backgrounds – from merchants, manufacturers, and shipbuilders to physicians, bankers, professors and writers. Notable Scottish society members also attended. Yet, despite its popularity, the Baths would face difficult times and dwindling membership over the decades.

At the root of many of its issues was a Cochrane oil-fired boiler that provided numerous problems and little heat for the Baths. The bathmaster would end up putting in 90-hour workweeks to maintain the private club and breathe life into the rarely working boiler. Eventually, the boiler was replaced, but in the 1970s the Baths would face another setback when the Victorian roof collapsed.

Today, after significant restoration and expansion, the Baths are thriving. They’ve acquired adjacent ground and erected a new building to house a modern sports hall and gym, and currently have a membership of 2,600.

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