Hope for historic Balsall Heath baths
A project to breathe new life into Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath is a step closer after winning financial support from Historic England. Following a competitive interview process an experienced team has been appointed by the Moseley Road Baths Action Group (1) to prepare an options appraisal for the future of this Grade II* listed building (2).
Jointly, the National Trust and The Prince’s Regeneration Trust (a world-leading regeneration charity) (3) will propose how the building can continue as a public swimming baths whilst exploring what additional uses it could accommodate. The options appraisal will research other examples of historic baths across the UK that have been successfully regenerated and the partnerships that made them work. From this it will suggest what the future options for the ownership and management of Moseley Road Baths could be.
Moseley Road Baths, opened in 1907, is a building of international significance. Earlier this year it was one of two UK buildings added by the World Monuments Fund to its Watch List – outstanding sites that are at risk. It is a Grade II* listed building: the only public baths in Britain of this status to be still in use.
The building, which is owned by Birmingham City Council, includes many rare or unique features. One of its two pools is in regular use by swimmers, who value its special ambience. Due to lack of funds, Birmingham City Council intends to close and ‘mothball’ the building next year when the rebuilt Sparkhill Baths open. It has now offered its support to these new community efforts.
The fabric of the building is in a very poor state, and millions of pounds will need to be raised for its repair and improvement. But local enthusiasm for saving the building, the Historic England funding and the potential for complimentary uses in the Baths’ unused space gives campaigners hope that this can be overcome.
Veryan Heal, Historic England’s Planning Director, West Midlands, said “We are pleased to be supporting the first stage for this project, which we believe will lead to securing the repair and future of this important Grade II* building, enabling it to be removed from the Historic England Heritage at Risk Register.”
Karen Leach, chair of the Action Group, said “We hope this is the first step towards ensuring a viable future for this outstanding and much-loved swimming pool.”
Ros Kerslake OBE, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, said: ‘We are thrilled to be working with the Moseley Road Baths Action Group and the National Trust to explore the conservation of the building and potential additional uses. Together we can ensure this special place reaches its full potential and has a long and secure future.’
Andy Beer, Regional Director for the National Trust in the Midlands, said: ‘Moseley Road Baths is one of Birmingham’s most beautiful and significant buildings. It is also of national importance – standing almost unchanged since 1907 it is the oldest baths still in use in the UK. We are excited to be working with The Prince’s Regeneration Trust to provide advice to Moseley Road Baths Action Group.’
Contact: Karen Leach, 07906 858594
Notes to Editors
(1) The Moseley Road Baths Action Group has formed to find ways to keep the Baths open and restore them under community ownership. Their aims and membership can be found on the Friends of Moseley Road Baths website: http://www.friendsofmrb.co.uk/about/mrb-action-group/
(2) Further information on the Baths themselves can be found at http://www.moseleyroadbaths.co.uk/
(3) The National Trust is partnering with the Prince’s Regeneration Trust to act in a consultancy role to the Moseley Road Baths Action Group.
- Both organisations will draw on their experience and expertise in historic buildings as well as commercial and fundraising activities, to assess the most viable options for Moseley Road Baths.
- This work is purely consultative and the organisations’ involvement does not mean that the National Trust or Princes Regeneration Trust will be taking any kind of ownership role at Moseley Road Baths.
(4) Historic England (formerly known as English Heritage) are the public body that champions and protects England’s historic places. We look after the historic environment and provide expert advice. Further information can be found at https://www.historicengland.org.uk/
For further press information please contact Louisa Moore at louisa.moore@HistoricEngland.org.uk or 0121 625 6883
(5) The Princes Regeneration Trust
For interviews with Ros Kerslake OBE, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, and for further information and pictures, contact:
Claire Thompson, Communications, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust T: 020 3262 0567 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcus Stanton, Communications, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust T: 020 8617 0210 M: 07900 891287 E: email@example.com
About The Prince’s Regeneration Trust
The Prince’s Regeneration Trust (PRT) is a world-leading regeneration charity working in hard-hit areas of the UK to rescue and re-use local buildings in order to transform lives.
PRT is a separate charity from The Prince’s Trust.
Over the past 19 years we’ve worked on projects saving about 1.4 million square feet of buildings – enough to fill almost 32 football pitches – and have created about 1,800 jobs. PRT is committed to:
- focusing on the most deprived communities in the UK, on buildings where other efforts have failed and on projects that are far too complex for communities to undertake themselves
- calling on communities to apply to us for expertise to get regeneration underway
- running a national roadshow touring 36 locations over 3 years that will give world-class advice and practical guidance for communities who want to rescue buildings themselves
PRT is leading on the development of social investment in regeneration and we’ll provide hard evidence of the effect of our work in areas like training for young people, welfare of elderly people and new business start-ups. All of the charity’s work draws upon PRT’s unique ‘knowledge bank’ made up of our own team of experts working in partnership with other leading specialists. Find out more about PRT today by going to www.princes-regeneration.org; www.facebook.com/princesregeneration; or follow @PrincesRegen on Twitter.