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September 24, 2014

A story worth telling

It became the longest community occupation of a public building in British history. It is the story of the one community’s refusal to allow their much loved swimming pool and wash house to be closed. It is also the story of how the community kept going in the face of blanket indifference and intransigence from their local authority, and after mounting numerous demonstrations and protest marches that even resulted in a number of police arrests.  It is a story that needs to be told as an inspiration to others. 



Short Summary

My name is Fran Higson – I am a Glasgow based film maker who has been gathering interviews, archive material, music and capturing events and happenings around the the Govanhill Baths for over a year now. I have donated my time as have several other film-makers, artists and students so we can tell the truly inspiring story of the battle to save this dearly loved community resource.

The film we make will be used by The Govanhill Baths Community Trust to fundraise for their ultimate goal which is to get water back into the swimming pools and unite the community in healthy activity once again.  The film also seeks to inspire and motivate community engagement and action – we need to hear stories such as this one in order to believe we can succeed in the face of small minded local government and social injustice. 

This is so much more than helping to get a film made.  Its about helping a local community succeed in their aim to have a healthy living centre at the heart of their community.


Since 1914 the Govanhill baths and wash house has provided invaluable services for the community of Govanhill.  When Glasgow City Council decided to close the baths in 2001 they didn’t expect the community to fight back so vehemently, but the people of Govanhill loved their pool and were not prepared to stand aside and let it be taken away.  They set up a picket-line and undertook the longest ever community occupation of a civic building in British history.  After several months – Sheriff Officers, instructed by Glasgow City Council removed protesters from inside the building.  But the protesters were not defeated and after several years of negotiating and organising – they won the building back and raised enough money to open it up as a community and well being centre.

The Govanhill Baths Community trust are in the process of fundraising in order to refurbish the building, reopen the swimming pools, install a Sauna, Turkish Suite and gymnasium, as well as create allotment spaces and a roof garden. There are plans to open a healthy living cafe and create an arts venue in the old steamie, and much much more. The baths have become a thriving community and arts centre – but the ultimate goal of getting water back is still to be realised. 

This is a story that absolutely must be told, because we need to hear stories where people triumph – and we need to remember the power of what people can achieve when they are united against injustice. This story will act to inspire and motivate us all.

What We Need & What You Get

Over the past year we’ve gathered some fantastic footage and interviews, but there’s more still to be done.  We will need £5000 to complete this film

Every penny we receive will be spent on creating a film with as high production values as possible.  If we get less than we’re asking for we’ll spend what we do get as sensibly as possible in order to make the film as good as possible.  If we get more than what we’re asking for – we will spend the extra money following the story right up to the time when the people of Govanhill get their water back.

Your money will pay for the following things:

* An editor to work full time for 3 weeks

* A sound dub to create a fantastic soundtrack

* Essential archive footage from the BBC and STV 

* Equipment hire and filming costs for the remaining interviews and music recording (there’s a couple of tricky ones still to shoot that can’t be pulled in on a favour)

* The graphic design for the film

* Printing costs of flyers and advertising

* A contribution towards office expenses.

All our funders, even those that give £1 will get a free download of the film. Then we have a number of fantastic gifts/perks to share with our contributors.  There’s postcards and t-shirts, bags and t-towels theres posters and poetry books.  We will thank everyone and and invite you all round to the baths to join us for the launch at a special premier event. 

The Impact

It is our hope that this film will become an essential fundraising tool for the Govanhill Baths.  It will document valuable social history and contribute towards a successful community campaign.

This film is being supported and enabled by Camcorder Guerillas and the Govanhill Baths Community Trust. It is a not for profit production and the intention in making it is to inspire community empowerment and help get the water back into the beautiful Govanhill Bath house.