Moseley Road Methodist Church closed its doors for the last time yesterday. Here Steve Beauchampé looks back at how the building has been so important to the Friends of Moseley Road Baths.
The closure of Moseley Road Methodist Church leaves yet another vacant building in what was once the bustling heart of Balsall Heath. For the Friends of Moseley Road Baths however the closure is particularly sad. Located directly opposite the Baths, the church has played host to several of our most important events. On November 27th 2006 it was the venue for the public meeting that lead to the group’s formation. Henceforth it hosted our monthly Committee meetings and our inaugural AGM. Those early Committee meetings are etched in the mind; we shared the building with a group of local ukelele players so our discussions were always set to music coming from the room next door!
Perhaps the most memorable event we staged at the church came on the afternoon of Tuesday October 30th 2007, with the Centenary Tea Dance that marked the 100th Birthday of Moseley Road Baths. Our special guests that day were the then Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, who followed a guided tour of the baths conducted by manager Dave Flora and members of the Friends by joining well over 100 of MRB’s supporters to eat cakes and sandwiches, dance and reminisce.
In June 2008 we gathered together around 80 representatives of interested groups for a seminar on the future of the Baths, chaired by architectural historian Simon Inglis (whose initial impetus had led to the formation of our group). Simon returned in 2009 for our annual Memories and Memorabilia Day where his superb illustrated talk on Britain’s historic indoor swimming pools enraptured an audience of around 100. The event was the second of our Memories and Memorabilia Days but doubts over the future of the venue contributed to the decision to switch last year’s event to the Balsall Heath Church Centre in Edward Road.
So goodbye to Moseley Road Methodist Church and a particular note of thanks to Nan for all the help she has given us. Let’s hope there’ll be a new Methodist church opening in Balsall Heath soon.