To mark the re-opening of Woodcock Sports Centre following a £5m refurbishment and renovation, the University of Aston is presenting an illustrated talk on Monday October 17th (6:30-7:30pm) about the centre’s 151-year history.
Owned and managed by the University since 1980, when it was purchased from Birmingham City Council for £1, the Grade II listed sports centre in Gosta Green is the home of Birmingham’s oldest surviving swimming pool, dating from 1902.
But Woodcock’s history can be traced back almost to the dawn of municipal swimming when, in the 1850s, Birmingham Town Council responded to a public petition calling for the construction of bathing and washing facilities in the town’s northern districts by erecting only the Birmingham’s second set of baths (the first having opened at Kent Street in 1851).
The talk – which is open to the general public and free of charge – will also cover the major rebuilds of 1902 and 1926, when the Gala Pool (now a sports hall) was erected, as well as looking at the 2011 upgrade. Also covered will be Woodcock Street Baths’ rôle as the city’s main municipal laundry, as well as it’s use for winter entertainments such as snooker and boxing tournaments and, perhaps most importantly, for swimming galas, both local, national and international.
The refurbishment and renovation has seen a number of original features restored as well as the creation of a new 120-station gym, new martial arts, fitness and dance studios and the refurbishment of both the swimming pool and sports hall.
The talk takes place in Room G11 of the main building, Aston Street (entrance via the main reception doors).