Members of a 150-year-old health club in Glasgow’s west end claim seedy incidents and lax rules are threatening the historic venue.

They are furious that a man allegedly caught performing a sex act on himself in a public area of Arlington Baths Club was allowed to continue attending for weeks before he was expelled.

The incident is said to have happened on July 12 and was reported to management by a male employee. 

According to members, it was only after both they and staff raised concerns that his membership at the club, which is attended by families with young children, was terminated last Sunday.

Police Scotland said a 38-year-old man was arrested and charged, three days later, with public indecency and is due to appear at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

Members say there is growing unease about the running of the Arlington, which marked its 150th anniversary last year and has a £600 annual membership fee and once welcomed Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.

Earlier this year a number of female members are said to have reported a male gym-goer for sexual harassment.

“It took months for him to be removed,” said one member. “There is a pattern there of nothing being done.”

Members are said to have expressed disquiet after a nudist night was introduced several years ago.

The Herald:

The Herald was shown a website where the Arlington, which is member-run, is advertised as an “intimate gay spa and Turkish baths.

“Arlington Baths Club is where to go if you love to have gay sex with men in a hot tub.” 


The baths is housed in a purpose-built Category A Listed Building  and opened on August 1 1871 and was the first swimming club in Glasgow.
One female member said: “Members really love the club.

“It’s a very special place that feels ‘out of time’. I’m genuinely devastated that it seems to have been sullied.

“When I joined 15 years ago, there was a very clear sense that members had to follow rules - you got a row for not hanging your clothes up on a peg.

“There was no consultation on the Sunday nudist nights that take away three full hour of prime club time from members as no one wants to go at the same time.

The Herald:

“More than anything, as a member-run club, we have a responsibility to the staff that we employ who have a right to feel safe at work and not to be exposed to sexual harassment and non-consensual acts of sexual behaviour.” 

She added:  “Gay or straight, our members should feel welcome and safe in such a special place.

 “My personal preference is for the nudist nights to cease and for a change in leadership.”

READ MORE: The day Glasgow's Arlington welcomed Rudolf Nureyev

A petition was previously launched on calling for a “clear and actionable plan” on dealing with member complaints and a review of board members.

“I know the staff have been unhappy for quite some time,” said another member. “They feel that their terms and conditions are poor compared to other staff in council establishments.

“They feel as if the board is non-accountable and non-transparent.”

The Herald:

She said she found men in a mixed steam room without underwear, which she said was against club rules.

Another member who claims she was sexually harassed by a man in the pool area said she lodged a formal complaint with the club. 

READ MORE: Scottish ministers reject art deco cinema demoliton 

In a statement the club’s general manager said:”The Arlington Baths Club does not tolerate indecent behaviour on the premises. 

“The Board of the Club have considered a recent report of such behaviour and one person has been removed from membership of the Club as a result.

“Members who have a grievance can use established procedures within the club.  

“The board will be making no further public comment.”

The Arlington prides itself on being the world’s oldest baths club to be owned and run by its members.

The building was designed by the noted Glasgow architect, John Burnet, among whose surviving works are Glasgow Stock Exchange, Merchants’ House on George Square, and Govan Burgh Chambers.

Its striking features include a sky-lit swimming pool.

The building was awarded A-list status by Historic Scotland in 2014.

In the Summer of 1975, Rudolf Nureyev, was signed in for a massage by the club’s on-site masseur.

Past members include Glasgow Boys painter George Henry and late 19th Century Scottish Poor Law reformer Robert Peel Lamond.