How to celebrate your 150th birthday!

Next year’s a big year for the Arlington Baths Club: we shall be 150 years old!

Where did it all start?

Our origins lie in the Glasgow Swimming Baths Co. Ltd which was founded on 11 July 1870. This limited company raised the money to build the Baths – by selling shares – and then continued to own the building.

Certificate of Incorporation for the Glasgow Swimming Baths Company Ltd. Glasgow City Archives TD965/1

The other key organisation was  the Arlington Swimming Club which was formed on 20 July 1870 (according to the 1920 Annual Report). The Swimming Club leased the Building from the Baths Company.

The doors of the building were actually opened to members for the first time on 1 August 1871.

By the time of the First World War, the Baths Company and the Swimming Club had set up a joint committee, with representatives from each organisation, to run the Baths together. Then in 1927 the Glasgow Swimming Baths Company Limited was wound up and what then became the Arlington Baths Club took on the ownership of the building.

So what do you do to celebrate your sesquicentennial?

To get some inspiration we had a look at what members got up to for the 50th and the 100th anniversaries!

50th anniversary in 1920/21

Though both organisations were founded in July, for the 50th anniversary in 1920, the Board of Management decided July was not a propitious month for celebrations. It agreed to delay the festivities until October 1920.

These included two galas – one for Ladies and one for Gentlemen – and a  Whist Drive with a popular speech from the Chairman, Mr W. Boyd Anderson.

Here’s the account in the 1921 Annual Report:

1921 Annual Report. Glasgow City Archives TD965/2

100th anniversary in 1970/71

The Centenary Year was originally designated as August 1970 to August 1971, though it was later extended to to November 1971. As well as being the chance to celebrate, it was also seen as as a good opportunity to raise much-needed funds.

Members were invited to a special meeting in November 1970 to discuss Centenary Year fundraising to finance repairs and improvements to the Baths. The Board hoped that improvements to the building would also encourage more people to join.

The programme for 1971 included an event each month at the early part of the year:

  • 30 January – Dinner / Smoker on Saturday 30 January 1971
  • 27 February – Wine & Cheese party with Mr Muir Moffat giving his talk, ‘Going for Song’
  • 1 March – Formal Dinner Dance at Bellahouston Hotel
  • 22 April – Discotheque at Esquire House

An exciting new development was the Mixed Gala – apparently the first in the Club’s history!

This was originally going to be held on 22 May but was later moved to 20 November 1971. It was also open to both Senior and Junior members and there were also several new trophies up for grabs.

The Gala was followed by a Cocktail Party in the Reading Room: tickets cost 50p and included two free drinks.

The Club newsletter – undated but assumed to be late October/early November 1971 – reported that throughout the year a total of £4,000 had been raised. In social terms too the year was deemed a success.

“The Cocktail Party will conclude the Centenary celebrations which started last January. All of these functions were very well supported by members and their friends and have engendered a great feeing of fellowship amongst us all.”

Club newsletter, circa October/November 1971

Club Newsletter, circa October/November 1971. Arlington Baths Club Archive, basement cupboard, Box 15, folder 2.

So what shall we do for our 150th anniversary? All suggestions are very welcome!

Please post your ideas below or email

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s