Bearsden OBE splashes out on historic baths

A BEARSDEN man has helped an iconic Victorian baths in Glasgow’s west end take delivery of a new diving platform after the original lasted an incredible 135 years!

Known by its original and historic name, the diving ‘dale’ was replaced thanks to the generosity of baths member John Watson OBE who lives at Canniesburn.

John provided the funds to replace the original cast-iron one installed in 1878 two years after the baths in Cranworth Street, Hillhead opened.

The option of replacing it with a modern one was rejected in favour of commissioning an EXACT replica in keeping with the Bath’s renowned Victorian surroundings.

An imposing poolside triangular shaped structure, the dale was unveiled by John who is one of the country’s leading industrialists.

It was made by ornamental ironwork manufacturer Walter MacFarlane and Co whose Saracen Foundry in the north of the city also produced the ironwork in the Kibble Palace in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens.

Like The Western Baths Club, Walter MacFarlane and Co can trace its history back to the mid 19th century and was the ideal choice to create the new dale.

Mr Watson, who is Chairman and Chief Executive of printers John Watson and Co, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to create the new diving dale which will be of great benefit to the many members of the Western Baths Club.

“The original was typical of Victorian design and manufacture when things were built to last. The fact that the previous one lasted for over a century and a quarter is testament to that. I’m confident this one will give at least another 135 years of service to the Club.”

Fraser Makeham, General Manager of the Western Baths Club, added: “The original diving dale was corroding and clearly past its useful life. Everyone would agree that it has served the club well and after 135 years was due its retirement. “We are very grateful to the generosity of John Watson and the Watson family for our new dale. Choosing a replica rather than a more modern one allows us to preserve the original appearance of the Baths.”

Mr Watson has a long-standing connection with the Western Baths Club. His late mother Mrs Jean Watson was a member for over 50 years.

Jean generously left a bequest to the Club which funded state-of-the-art televisions in the gym.

Mr Watson has been a member for nearly 60 years and his four sons - Sandy, Angus, Findlay and Fergus have also all been members.

He was awarded an OBE for services to printing and charity in 2006.