Enjoy a clean break ... by visiting long-lost bath house in Kirkintilloch

30.8.12 Photograph Jamie Forbes. Wild by Nature and The Foundry. Building is part of Doors Open day as it used to be a communal bathhouse in the 1920s.
30.8.12 Photograph Jamie Forbes. Wild by Nature and The Foundry. Building is part of Doors Open day as it used to be a communal bathhouse in the 1920s.

DIP into the past and visit a former communal bath house set up by one of Kirkintilloch’s most famous sons.

That is just one of the fascinating attractions at this year’s Doors Open Day.

Taking place this Saturday, September 8, the event sees places of interest which usually charge for entry, or are not even open to the public, throw their doors wide open to visitors.

This year the 22nd Scottish Door Open Day sees a remarkable building, whose history has only recently been unearthed, opened to the public for the first time.

The property in Kirkintilloch’s Broadcroft currently houses Wild by Nature adventure trips, but in the 1920s was where many of the townsfolk went to shower and bathe – thanks to former Secretary of State for Scotland and Lenzie Academy pupil Tom Johnston.

Local historian Don Martin said: “This commercial property in Broadcroft turns out to have been formerly the Kirkintilloch Burgh Municipal Shower Baths – one of Tom Johnston’s attempts at ‘Municipal Socialism’, along with municipal pictures, a municipal piggery, a municipal goat herd and many other such things.

“It was opened in 1920 in a former laundry. I knew of its existence, but thought it had long since vanished until it was drawn to my attention by the present occupier who is very enthusiastic about its history.”

Thomas Peddie, whose business moved into the premises around three years ago, said: “The original roof is still here so people will be able to see that.

“I found out about it after the staff at the Auld Kirk Museum said they thought it could have been the old bath house. I did some research and found out that it definitely was. When we were renovating we even found a couple of tiles from the baths.”

Joining the old bath house for Doors Open Day in Kirkintilloch will be the Caurnie Soaperie – the world’s oldest cold process soaperie and Scotland’s oldest soap maker – which will be open to visitors from 10am-1pm.

In Bishopbriggs, Brackenbrae House will be open from 1pm-4pm, while the nearby Fort Theatre will welcome visitors from 10am-1pm.

Members of Lodge Cadder Freestone, in St Mungo Street, are also opening their doors from 10am-4pm.

Meanwhile in Lenzie, St Cyprian’s Scottish Episcopal Church, which was built in 1873 and boasts stunning stained glass window, will welcome people from 10am-4pm.

Finally, the community-run Campsie Memorial Hall, in Lennoxtown, will be open from 10am-1pm.

For more information just go to www.doorsopendays.org.uk or call 0141 221 1466.

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