North Woodside Pool is back in the swim

THE oldest working public baths in Britain will re-open tomorrow after being closed for more than two years.

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  • North Woodside Pool has reopened after two years of repairs
    North Woodside Pool has reopened after two years of repairs
  • North Woodside Pool has reopened after two years of repairs
  • North Woodside Pool has reopened after two years of repairs
  • North Woodside Pool has reopened after two years of repairs
  • North Woodside Pool has reopened after two years of repairs
  • North Woodside Pool has reopened after two years of repairs

In January 2012, Glasgow was hit by storm force winds which caused part of the roof of North Woodside pool to literally lift off.

All swimming was cancelled on safety grounds and experts brought in to repair the Braid Square facility.

But disaster struck again when work was finished and the pool was being filled.

Frustrated staff discovered the pool was leaking and the planned re-opening was delayed to allow further repair work to be carried out.

Work is now complete and swimmers will be able to take the plunge again from tomorrow.

North Woodside opened in 1882, and had 27 private baths for men, seven for women and 67 washing stalls in the steamie.

Around 60,000 people a year used the facility, at a charge of a penny for adults and a half-penny for juveniles.

Today the 132-year-old building has lost none of its Victorian charm and light floods the 20metre long pool from windows high up in the roof.

Before it closed, the popular facility was charming but rundown and tired but is now clean and sparkling and ready to welcome swimmers old and new.

Nick Ellis, Glasgow Life engineering services officer, said: "Because of the storm in 2012, the wind lifted the roof and a couple of beams came out of their slots.

"We had to do a complete survey of the whole structure and everything had to be scaffolded, which took over a year.

"When we eventually started refilling the pool we came in the next morning and found we had lost six inches of water. Over the next day or two cracks started to appear."

An investigation was launched and it was found the original 1880s pool tank had cracked resulting in major work to put things right.

Mr Ellis said: "It seems likely the pool was losing water before we started work and the damage would have happened anyway.

"Using council design services and various consultants we came up with a plan to put in a new reinforced concrete floor laid on top of the old one.

"One of the things we didn't want to do was to change the pool too much from what was here previously. Hopefully we now have a pool which will last another 132 years."

Other improvement included replacing the pool filtration system, restoring two pool waterfalls and installing a new sauna, steam room and showers.

Mr Ellis said the cost of repairing the roof was around £350,000 but the total cost of the work is around £850,000.

North Woodside also has a well equipped gym and a large dance studio, which was created to be on the site of a Victorian ladies' pool and still boasts its original tiles.

Glasgow Life chairman Archie Graham said: "We are delighted to be able to reopen North Woodside pool to the public again as it has long been a popular amenity in the local community.

"North Woodside is the oldest public baths in Britain, housed in a stunning Victorian building and we are committed to preserving this historic facility for years to come.

"More than £850,000 has been invested to ensure essential repairs to the roof and pool could be carried out, along with the introduction of a new sauna and steam room and further improvements to the building.

"The result is that North Woodside is now in great condition and offering more facilities to the public while retaining its unique character."

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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