Key Dates and Events

North Parish Washing Green Society Membership Certificate1794 The North Parish Washing-Green Society was a charitable institution. The heritors of the North Quarter of the city provided and equipped a washing green, with wash-house and utensils, on the banks of the Clyde. The society received its seal of cause from the Town Council in 1794 and was managed by a board consisting of officers, representative citizens and elected members. Initially meeting in the ‘Penny’ North Parish School, the board received permission from the Provost to meet in the session house of the Cathedral in 1850. Those using the wash-house and green paid a fee dependent upon the amount and type of washing undertaken and these activities were overseen by a tacksman.

1869 May 24th At a meeting of the Police Board the following motion by Councillor William Wilson was approved; “That it be an instruction form this Board to the Sanitary Committee that they shall forthwith provide at four of the most suitable points in the City, Public Baths and Wash-houses for the accommodation of the inhabitants – all in terms of the Glasgow Police Act, 1866, clause 387.”

1875 February 8th Councillor William Wilson presented a motion to the Police Board that a Special Committee on Baths and Wash-houses be appointed.

1876 January Baths Committee and Police Board accepted an offer of the Town Council to lease them the site of the old washing-house on the Green for the erection thereon of Public Baths and Wash-houses, the rent to be £50 per annum.

1876 July 1st London Road Swimming Baths opened under the direct management of the Police Board.

1876 September 16th London Road Swimming Baths closed for alterations

1876 November 30th London Road Swimming Baths re-opened

1877 January 20th London Road Swimming Baths new hot and cold baths opened.

1877 May 15th The Fifth Ward Committee handed over the North Quarter, Kennedy Street Baths to the Police Board.

1878 August 19th Greenhead Baths, Glasgow Green Opened by the Hon. the Lord Provost.

1879 October 17th “The Committee recommended that Captain M’Call be directed to send a constable on Saturday evenings from 3 to 6.30, to keep order at Greenhead Baths.”

1880 May Kennedy Street establishment leased to a private party for a rent of £50 per annum

1881 London Road Swimming Baths leased to a private party for a rent of £125 per annum

1882 September 13th North Woodside Baths & Wash-houses, Kelvin Street Opened

1883 September 30th Kennedy Street and London Road Swimming Baths closed

1883 May 15th Cranstonhill Baths & Wash-houses 68 Elliot Street Opened

1884 June 8th Townhead Baths Collins Street Opened

1884 October 14th Townhead Wash-house opened

1885 April 17th Gorbals Baths & Wash-house 144 Main Street Opened

1897 October 18th Hutchesontown Baths 151 Rutherglen Road Opened

1898 April 5th Springburn Baths Kay Street Opened

1893 May 30th Maryhill Baths Burnhouse Street Opened

1899 March 24th Kennedy Street Wash House 75 Kennedy Street Opened

1899 November 27th Stobcross Street Wash House 181 Stobcross Street Opened

1900 August 14th Bain Square Wash House Bain Square Opened

1902 May 17th Whitevale Baths 81 Whitevale Street (Turkish & Russian Baths & Gymnasium) Opened

1904 February 18th  Dalmarnock Baths 56 Ruby Street Opened

1905 November 6th Kinning Park Baths 99 West Scotland Street Opened

1906 June 1st  Parkhead Baths 708 Great Eastern Road Opened

1906 December 14th Springbank Baths Cameron Street Opened

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19 Responses to “Glasgow”

  1. V Stewart says:

    My mother used to swim at Pollokshields Baths when she was a child. It would have been in the 1920’s. She told me about the rings hanging from the ceiling. I still have a silver cup she won in a competition, unfortunately its not engraved. I learnt to swim at Calder Street Baths in the 50’s in the wee Ladies pool.

  2. What about Ruby st baths and washouse.. Stevenston st washouse and Barrowfiedl not on the list.

    • Carl Evans says:

      There will always be more to add. If you have any specific information, dates about these establishments please add them.

  3. Billy Finnigan says:

    We still have a wash house within the grounds of our tenement in Maryhill

  4. Stuart Bannerman says:

    My grandfather was superintendent of Pollokshields baths in Leslie Street. I cannot find any pictures of this interpolated building.

  5. Alan King says:

    The City also has two private swimming baths – the Western Baths Club

    and Arlington Baths

    Both were opened in the late 1800s

    Western Baths retains gymnastics rings and trapezes above the pool – and yes, they are still in use !

  6. Alan King says:

    Attached should be my membership cert to the North Parish Washing Green Society of Glasgow – which remains in action to this day, dispensing charity to the poor of the parish in central Glasgow

  7. Alan King says:

    I was taught to swim by my father in Pollockshaws Baths, Glasgow in the 1960s. We used to go on a Saturday morning, and also on a weekday evening with the ‘Weir Pumps Swimming Club’. It would not surprise me if many of the pools used Weir pumps for their circulation systems.

    My first experience of competitive lifesaving was in Gorbals Baths around the mid 1970s, which I believe remained a fill and empty pool until its closure. The attendants would drag a hinged wooden beam from one end to the other and then scoop out the scum and cockroaches before we started our competition in the murky water.

  8. Alan King says:

    The North Parish Washing Green Society is still in existence, and still provides charity to alleviate poverty in the city.

  9. Alex Kinniburgh says:

    Hi, i used to go swimming in Kay Street Baths in Springburn from the mid 1960’s onwards. In the early days it was the also the only place we could have a bath, which you could hire, because we all lived in a single end with one sink, a hot water “geyser” and an outside half stairs landing toilet. Back in those days I also remember being able to buy disposable swimming trunks and hire a towel if you did not have any. The trunks were made of a type of heavy greaseproof paper which were fastened at the sides using string ties. Some of my colleagues find this hard to believe. Is there anyone else out there who can confirm my story?

  10. Fiona Barr says:

    Hi there
    My Great Aunt Elizabeth gave her occupation as Teacher of Swimming in the 1891 census.
    I remember my father saying that she was one of the first Swimming Instructresses in Scotland.
    Her address in 1891 was Florence Street Glasgow but I can find no trace of her after 1891.
    Can anyone suggest any sites, other than Scotland’s People, that I might find any more information?
    Her name was Elizabeth Bailey Williamson.
    Fiona Barr.

    • Gill Kyle says:

      Hi Fiona

      Did you ever find any more out about your aunt? I am looking into the history of women swimming in Glasgow and curious as to her story.

      Thanks, Gill

  11. Donna Robertson says:

    Have you any photos of Greenhead Baths and Swimming pool at the Green in Glasgow

    • Douglas Campbell says:


      I carried out research on Baths and Washhouses in Scotland 1868-1914 in the early 1990’s including material which Simon Inglis possibly used in the recent publication Great Lengths.

      I would try the Glasgow Room at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow which has many documents/ opening programmes etc.. relating to the Glasgow Baths and Washhouses including:

      Corporation of Glasgow Whitevale Opening Handbook 1902, which contains a picture of the Greenhead Baths at the rear of the book.

      Glasgow Corporation “Municipal Glasgow 1914” description of facilities at Greenhead Baths.

      If you are too far away from Glasgow then they have digitised what seems to be a small proportion of their photographic collection and I think they do have a single image of the exterior of the Greenhead Baths at

      Hope that helps?


      Douglas Campbell

      • donna says:

        thank you so much for you reply and help.. greatly appreciated, I live only a ten min. walk from where the Greenhead Baths once stood.. I took photos recently of Whitevale Baths being demolished of which you are welcome if you want them

      • paula larkin says:

        Hi Douglas,

        I have been trying to find a contact for you as Govanhill Baths is organising a conference on Public Health & the Built Environment on Wednesday 23rd August 2017 – part of the celebrations marking 100 years since the Baths opened its doors to the public on 28th February 1917. We would like to invite you to speak on Scottish baths 1868-1914 : and their conservation.

        Hope this reaches you.

        Many thanks

        Govanhill Baths Archive
        07565 547825

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