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Arlington Baths Club, 61 Arlington Street and 44 Westend Park Street, Glasgow

A Category A Listed Building in Hillhead, Glasgow

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8707 / 55°52'14"N

Longitude: -4.2733 / 4°16'23"W

OS Eastings: 257855

OS Northings: 666510

OS Grid: NS578665

Mapcode National: GBR 0GH.T7

Mapcode Global: WH3P2.BPBS

Entry Name: Arlington Baths Club, 61 Arlington Street and 44 Westend Park Street, Glasgow

Listing Date: 20 May 1986

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 373625

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB32173

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Glasgow

County: Glasgow

Town: Glasgow

Electoral Ward: Hillhead

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

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Description

John Burnet Senior, 1871, with later additions (see Notes) including 1875 (Turkish Baths); and additions by A Myles of 1893; and B Conner of 1902. Important example of a Classical style baths complex, with Italian Renaissance influence to detail. 2-storey, 9-bay, polished ashlar, round arches to all ground floor openings mostly arranged in groups of 3.

PRINCIPAL ELEVATION: 2 asymmetrically arranged blocks. S block slightly recessed; channelled pilasters support pediment with floral acroterion over wide centre bay with 3 arched openings; (that to left now door) roundels in spandrels; flanking the pilasters, outer bays with single window each. Centre block with outer clasping pilasters (channelled at ground) flank 3-arch arcade deeply recessed arched entrance. Paired columns on raised pedestal with foliate capitals support arcade. Shallow recessed 5-arch window arcade at upper floor. N block (swimming pool) with pediments as described above at terminal bays. 2 centre bays at 3-grouped windows which flank arched door-piece. 1st floor windows rectangular single-lights, linked by moulded band course stepped over windows. Cornice to ground and 1st floors; deep plain parapet.

Predominantly 3-pane glazing pattern. Slate roof, some stacks and louvered vents.

INTERIOR: (seen 2012). POOL: Exposed timber roof trusses to pool area and timber dog leg stair. Terrazzo pool surrounds with brass plates 'take off boots before crossing'. Many early fittings and pool apparatus, including hanging rings and trapeze. Main pool flanked by timber panelling and doors, leading into Junior and Senior plunge baths, most with original fittings and chrome fixtures; various changing rooms and offices. Tiling and lamp brackets.

Several formal rooms at ground and first floor, including former dining room, billiards room and reading room. Architectural features such as open timber roof, plaster cornice and fireplaces survive to these rooms. Including a carved timber War Memorial commemorating the fallen Club members from WW1 and WW2.

TURKISH BATH: Square plan Turkish bath to rear with rendered walls and cement beehive shape roof with central square louvered cast iron ventilator; 3 rows of small coloured glass quatrefoil skylights pierce roof imitating night sky effect. Ornate encaustic tiling to floor.

Statement of Interest

Arlington Baths Club is an outstanding and early example of an early private members swimming baths, with Turkish Baths and other facilities, for it survives largely as it was built in the late 19th and early 20th century. It has a good interior and was designed by one of the leading architects of the period. It is reputedly the oldest private swimming club in continuous operation in Britain since it opened its doors in 1871, and is one of seven surviving baths in Britain dating from the 1870s remaining in use.

Arlington Baths was an exclusive club aimed at Glasgow's rising middle-class. It formed a part of Glasgow's Charing Cross and West End expansion of the city, which was becoming an increasingly desirable area to live.

Originally, in 1871, there was a swimming pool, or pond, with a suite of adjacent private baths connected in a single storey elevation. By 1875 these were extended to the rear to include Turkish baths, and later a reading and billiard room by 1893. Shortly afterwards the grand classical entrance hall was added. By 1902 upper storeys were added to the private baths area, resulting in the elevation presently seen on Arlington Street (2013).

William Harley was the first to offer indoor baths in Glasgow, at Willowbank in 1804. Swimming became increasingly popular as a sport and pastime during the late 19th century and swimming clubs were established to cater to the professional classes who were becoming more aware of the benefits of exercise and general health and wellbeing. New pools being built were enlarged, to accommodate the shift from plunge pools to large swimming pools. The Arlington Baths Club proved so successful that its membership topped 600 by 1875. Thus a wave of successive clubs opened in Glasgow such as the Western Baths at Hillhead. Edinburgh got its own club in 1884 with the opening of Drumsheugh.

The architect John Burnet Senior was largely self taught and started his practice in 1843 where he worked largely in the Alloa-Clackmannan region. He received many commissions in Glasgow with his designs for his Greek Revival styled Elgin Place Congregational Church (now demolished), and would continue to emulate classical architecture in numerous commissions in his career, including the Arlington Street Baths.

Category changed from B to A and list description updated as part of the sporting buildings thematic study (2012-13).

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