Sign our petition

Can we get our petition up to 1,000 or more by the end of the month? We appreciate how many of you have signed petitions over the years, but we believe that a strong show of support NOW will help us make the case for keeping the Baths open beyond its scheduled closing date of July.

Sign the petition now

The council is discussing with the Friends and others in the community, plus heritage organisations, how the baths might be kept open. The current closing date is July, but it might be extended to allow a community grouping and/or non-profit operator to be ready to take it on, while work is done on seeking funding for necessary renovation.

March Open Day – last chance to see?

Our Last Ever Open Day?

 

With Moseley Road Baths due to close in June 2017, the next open day on Saturday 18th March could well our last event at the baths for the foreseeable future.

Come along between 10am and 2pm for tours of parts of the building that are usually closed to the public and, more importantly, to find out how you can help us in our campaign to keep our pool open!

Can you spare a few hours to help out during our open day? If so let us know by emailing contact@friendsofmrb.co.uk.

How You Can Help Now!

The Moseley Road Baths Action Group is working hard to find a way to keep our pool open, liaising with Birmingham City Council as part of a coalition led by the National Trust, and including Historic England and World Monuments Fund.

In order to show that there is demand for swimming and that the pool can continue to operate outside city council control, they need your input.

Please take a few moments to fill in the survey below and help us to keep swimming at Moseley Road Baths.

Action Group progress and how you can help!

It’s been a while since we were in touch with some of you, but we can tell you a lot has been going on in our efforts to save Moseley Road Baths.  Here is an update from Karen Leach from the Moseley Road Baths Action Group.

Emblem (Rachel)

There is very much a chance that we can be successful in keeping Moseley Road Baths open for swimming and restore the building, but we will need everyone’s help in doing so. After giving you an update of our recent activities, we will outline some of the ways in which you could help and ask you to respond.

In spring last year, MRBAG was awarded funds from Historic England to undertake an Options Analysis. We commissioned National Trust and Princes Regeneration Trust to produce this, and the finished version can be found here. This excellent report has pulled together all the information on the huge heritage and community value of the baths, its state of repair, likely renovation costs, examples of other successful pools from across the country and much other useful information. It outlined some indicative options from which we have been developing our preferred options.

Meanwhile, the National Trust, Historic England and the World Monuments Fund have all identified Moseley Road Baths as a priority, and have formed a ‘coalition’ to work with Birmingham City Council on potential solutions to the renovation and longer term future of the building. This coalition has now put forward a set of proposals to Birmingham City Council as to how swimming might be continued and the building rescued from its current neglected state. This includes what we need the Council to provide as their contribution to making this work.

In outline, these proposals mean:

  • The Coalition partners, led by the National Trust, will be able to help us access heritage expertise and funding for design, feasibility work and eventual restoration of the building.
  • We have formed Moseley Road Baths CIC (community interest company) to take on responsibility for keeping swimming going at some point after the current closure date of June this year. This may involve bringing in a short term non-profit operator initially, then going on to manage the baths ourselves. Either way this will involve some volunteer time. This model is working in many other pools across the country, saving them from closure. We have won further funding and support from the Bright Ideas Fund, and local social enterprise specialist Dave Lane is helping us with this task.
  • We are asking the council’s support for a transitional period while we and they prepare for the handover.
  • All coalition partners including ourselves will continue to seek funding and raise the profile of the baths. Check out the Friends of MRB’s website for further info.

 Of course in an ideal world, we would want the City Council to continue running and staffing these baths, but it is clear that this cannot happen under current circumstances and this is why our only option for saving the baths is the one we have outlined here.

Our long-term vision for Moseley Road Baths is of a lively enterprise with swimming at the heart of the mix of uses for its exciting spaces, and possibly working with the Library to make best use of space.   To be successful, Moseley Road Baths will need to draw on its importance nationally and internationally to become a ‘destination’ with wide appeal in Birmingham and beyond, while maintaining its community roots, and respecting and celebrating the heritage of the building.

We have been overwhelmed by the messages of support from both our local community and people further afield who either care about heritage or swam here as children or both.

So, in order for this to work, we will need local expertise and passion to help govern what happens; volunteer input to manage the pool; local organisations and individuals to commit to keeping on swimming here; and crowdfunding. Any of these ways of helping is fantastic!

 To help us out, please take this short survey!

In the meantime if you do Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, please check out our social media campaign for the rest of February at #keepswimmingmrb and @moseleyrdbaths.  We’re showing what support there is for the baths. You can take part by posting a selfie or what you love about the baths, or just retweeting and reposting. And please do come to our next Open Day on 18th March.

As a final suggestion, if you do want Moseley Road Baths to be saved, it would be great if you can make sure your local councillors know this, so do be in touch with them by email or phone or in person.

We are really excited (if a little daunted!) about the future and look forward to hearing from you.

Karen Leach

On behalf of the Moseley Road Baths Action Group

Members of the Action Group are:

Ashram Moseley Housing Association, Balsall Heath Forum, Balsall Heath History Society, Birmingham Conservation Trust, Development in Social Enterprise, Friends of Moseley Road Baths, Localise WM, National Trust, RnR Organisation, St Pauls Trust

#keepswimmingatmrb

On 1st February, Friends of Moseley Road Baths are starting a new campaign which will run throughout February to demonstrate community and public support for keeping swimming at Moseley Road Baths.

This draws together a number of strands:

  • The release of a new film produced in conjunction with the World Monuments Fund which invited individuals to come and share their memories and stories about the Baths.

  • A campaign by a Birmingham photographer showing local groups who came to Moseley Road Baths to demonstrate their support including:
    • Balsall Heath WI
    • Ort Gallery
    • Birmingham Bike Polo
    • Muslim Student House Mosque
    • Moseley Yoga
  • An invitation to members of the public to share their own pictures of them visiting the Baths using the hashtags #keepswimmingmrb and #moseleyroadbaths on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Details will be posted on the Friends of Moseley Road Baths website, Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.

For more information contact: Kat Pearson 07713141928, Kathryn.Pearson@mail.bcu.ac.uk or visit http://www.friendsofmrb.co.uk/

Interview with David Taberer

Just before Christmas we asked you to come along to the Baths on a Sunday morning to share your thoughts about the building. Today we learnt that one of our interviewees, David Taberer, passed away suddenly last week. David and his wife Linda had travelled all the way from Droitwich and were first in the queue to be interviewed. David was absolutely charming and so passionate about his old neighbourhood.

We are very pleased to share David’s interview with you all at this time. He grew up in Balsall Heath, and like so many of you on here grew up with the Baths as his playground (along with the bomb pecks!). He recalls friends diving from the Gala Pool balcony and getting a certificate for a quarter mile.

Why do you love Moseley Road Baths? Interviewees needed!

The World Monuments Fund have asked the Friends to produce a short video in which users and supporters of the baths talk about why Moseley Road Baths are important to them and why the building and the swimming baths should be saved.

As you probably know by now this year is the 10th anniversary of the Friends of Moseley Road Baths who have campaigned to keep the Baths open. The future of the Baths is now probably at a more critical stage than ever, with closure due to take place in June 2017. Sparkhill Baths is due to open then and so the continued existence of the baths needs a really sustained campaign over the coming months.

If you would like to be involved in a short interview then please come along on Sunday 18th December, 10-12 to say a few words on camera.

Pool of Memories – A Short Documentary

We’ve very happy to share this film from Johnathan Jules – Student Documentary Film Maker and Pool Lifeguard!  We think it brilliantly captures the beauty of the building and the issues it now faces.  Let us know your thoughts too!

Pool of Memories – A Short Documentary from Johnathan Jules on Vimeo.

Johnathan writes:

“I’m a 2016 BA (Hons) Media and Communications graduate. I aimed to produce a short documentary that explains what Moseley Road Swimming Baths means to people that have worked, swam, and grew up there and to listen to what they have to say about the Moseley Road Baths from their point of view. By doing this documentary I will be showing my own personal concern by creating this documentary to be part of the movement to keep the baths open but most importantly to share the connections of people past and present who have experienced the brilliance of being part of Moseley Road Baths.”

 

PRESS RELEASE: $15,000 cash boost for World Monuments Fund ‘Watch Day’

The continuing campaign to keep Moseley Road Baths open has received a cash boost.  A grant of $15,000 has been provided by American Express through the World Monuments Fund. The money will be used to promote the baths through various activities leading to a Watch Day. The day will include conducted tours of the building, including areas normally closed to the public.

Moseley Road Baths was chosen by The World Monuments Fund as one of fifty sites of international importance which are under threat in its 2016 Watch List. The WMF is providing advice and support to the Friends of Moseley Road Baths in their campaign to keep the Baths open.

The grant being announced today will enable the Friends to mount an open day to publicise their work and emphasise the importance of the Baths to the local community. As well as organising a Watch Day, the Friends hope to be able to use some of the cash to improve the appearance of the front of the building and provide a new sign outside so that people realise the Baths are still open.

Mr. Mark Gunton, Treasurer of the Friends of Moseley Road Baths said, ‘The WMF listing has already been hugely beneficial because it has brought the risk to this wonderfully historic building to an international audience. We have had several major organisations expressing an interest in helping us. Now the cash grant will enable us to mount a really impressive event in the building later this year.’

The Baths have been under threat of closure since 2013 but will remain in use until early 2017 when Birmingham City Council intends to close the doors for the last time.

*****

Links about the latest financial award:

https://www.wmf.org/press-release/american-express-partnership-world-monuments-fund-awards-1-million-grants-five-sites

https://www.wmf.org/fivetowatch

PRESS RELEASE: Team appointed for Moseley Road Baths Options Appraisal

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: claire.thompson@princes-regeneration.org

Marcus Stanton, Communications, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust T: 020 8617 0210 M: 07900 891287 E: marcus@marcusstanton.co.uk

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.