Library run

At 9am on Saturday 5th September, Mark Gunton and Chris Crean, from Moseley Road Baths to deliver copies of the Pool of Memories book.

Pictures were taken at each library on the 42 miles and 4 hour round trip.

Thank you to all the library managers and staff who accepted our donations.


September updates

Campaign updates

July’s AGM (our ninth!) was yet again testament to how much interest the building generates and how passionate people are about keeping swimming there. There was a good discussion about the future strategy of the group and some very positive reportbacks from our elected officers. Mark Gunton remains as Treasurer, Philippa Webster was re-elected as Secretary and we welcome Viv Harrison as our new Chair, with our thanks and appreciation extended to outgoing Chair Jen Austin for her hard work and commitment to the Baths, which precede even the formation of our group!

Members of the group have been participating in a working group which has been set up to explore the feasibility of keeping the building open beyond the planned closure at the end of 2016. At our AGM we reaffirmed our commitment to keeping swimming at Moseley Road Baths and gave members a remit to lobby for a publicly owned and managed swimming facility to remain on site.

Birmingham Heritage Week and Fierce Festival

25878b2d-dc09-4003-95f2-cbfd142070e9Birmingham’s Inaugural Heritage Week takes place Thursday 10th September – Thursday 17th September. Throughout the week there will be a wealth of fascinating events, exhibitions, talks and tours that provide a wonderful insight into the diversity of the city’s cultures and heritage. Following on from last October’s hugely successful collaboration with Fierce Festival, the Friends of Moseley Road Baths will be hosting Birmingham Heritage Week events at the Baths, from 10th-17th September.

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 21.16.32The highlight of the event will take place on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th. Over the two days, eight artists with Birmingham connections will present new and existing work in the usually closed washing baths. There will also be a programme of short films curated by Kino 10. This programme, titled Slip, is co-organised with Fierce Festival. Featured artists include Alek Wojtulewicz, Annie Mahtani, Emily Warner, Sarah Farmer, Sheila Ghelani, Sophie Bullock and the duo Under The Plans.

The artists’ work can be viewed from 4-8pm on Friday 11th September and from 10am-4.30pm on Saturday 12th September. Entry to the works is free.

In tandem with the arts event, on Saturday 12th, the Friends Group will be conducting guided tours around the Grade II* listed building, including areas not usually open to the public. These tours will start at 12, 1, 2 and 3pm and will usually last about 30-40 minutes. Places are limited, so please arrive early.

Also on Saturday, between 1 and 2pm, there will be an allotted hour’s free swimming to encourage visitors to not only see the building, but experience it. Please note that these places are limited for the designated hour. Buoyancy aids can be provided. Any queries can be sent to

For the remainder of the Heritage Week, and beyond, the swimming pool will be open at the times shown on, so that visitors can bathe in over one hundred years of history and heritage.

Pool of Memories – Coming to a school or library near you?

With the new school year looming (I hear your cheers and sighs in equal measure!), we wanted to draw your attention to some of the excellent resources that the Friends of Moseley Road Baths have developed over the course of our ‘Pool of Memories’ project which ran from 2010-13.

Our website,, hosts just a taster of some of the resources that the Friends of Moseley Road Baths created through our three year Heritage Lottery Funded Project. Have a browse and listen to Oral History recordings, watch video interviews and download worksheets. If you are interested in developing a project around the history of the building, please contact Rachel on

Spreading our work yet further, on Saturday 5th September, some of the Friends of Moseley Road Baths will be travelling to community libraries around Birmingham to deliver copies of their ‘Pool of Memories’ book.

Pool of Memories cover

Some of the libraries local to the Baths, including the new Library of Birmingham (LOB), were given copies at the time of publication, so the Friends contacted each of the remaining libraries under the LOB umbrella offering to donate copies to each. Of the 33 contacted, 11 kindly requested copies for their stock. Starting at the Baths, the Friends will travel clockwise around Birmingham, taking pictures at each opportunity, to arrive at Stirchley Library, located next to Stirchley Baths, which will be hosting an open day.

Film and Photography

Moseley Road Baths is quite understandably extremely popular as a location for film and photography. Many of you have contacted us asking about using the building as a location. Film Birmingham is the body responsible for co-ordinating and supporting film and photography work across the city and they require any shoots to be insured and risk assessed. Most students will be covered by the insurance of their college or university and many professionals should have adequate Public Liability Insurance, but it is worth checking. You can fill in the on-line form or just phone them on 0121 675 3883 to learn more about what you need to put in place before you start work. We also ask that you speak with the Pool Manager, Dave Flora, to see if you can be accommodated. The pool number is 0121 464 0150. Please be aware that staff are unable to work outside of normal pool hours and that access to the building is restricted.

Birmingham Heritage Forum f9276083-38af-472d-8ed4-29d945e79061We have now joined Birmingham Heritage Forum. Birmingham Heritage Forum members are organisations concerned with collections, historic sites, museums, galleries, churches, gardens and visitor services, within the Birmingham area. The Heritage Forum was established in 1991 by Birmingham City Council. Since 1997 it has been an independent society run by a committee of volunteers. 

Discover more about Heritage sites and projects across the city on the Birmingham Heritage Forum website.

New postcards now available

We have a new set of beautiful postcards available featuring both archive and current images of the building. Grab a set of either Black and White or Colour postcards from stalls and events or contact us directly at

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 21.14.06

Next meeting and a call for volunteers

Meetings are friendly and informal and we welcome new faces and fresh ideas!

Next meeting
Wednesday 9th September
Tea Room – Moseley Road Baths

Volunteer with us!

Could you help us out during the Heritage Week and Fierce Festival? If so then e-mail


Our Annual General Meeting takes place across the road from the Baths at the Ort Café at 7pm on Wednesday, 8th July.  On the Agenda we have:

  • Election of Officers (Chair, Secretary, Treasurer)
  • A report back from our current Officers
  • A report back from tonight’s Working Group meeting
  • A discussion on our strategy over the next year
  • Discussing forthcoming events.

Nominations are open for elections until the start of the AGM.  They can be sent via e-mail to

Working Group meeting TONIGHT

Tonight’s meeting (Tuesday 7th July)


What is it for?

This meeting has been called by a working group, which includes members of the ‘Friends of Moseley Road Baths’ to try and draw people together to discuss what can be done with the building in the event Birmingham City Council forging ahead with their plan to close the building for swimming next year.  The meeting will have a number of different speakers outlining different possible models for running a community pool and both individuals and organisations will be able to contribute their ideas to helping to create a strategy.

What are the aims of the group?

The working group see public swimming and heritage as being the most important factors in the future of the building.  They acknowledge that there are considerable challenges, but are eager to start a wider conversation about a way forward.

What are the details?

The meeting takes place tonight (7th July) at 7pm, St Paul’s School, Hertford Street (on the corner with Clifton Road).  All are welcome.

How can I find out more?

We will update supporters on any outcomes from the meeting through our newsletter and social media.  We will also be reporting back at our AGM.

Stakeholders’ meeting

As mentioned previously, a working group (including members of FOMRB) has formed to look into funding and development options for how the future of the Baths can be secured for both swimming and other community uses. The group is working with the Council on this. There is a meeting on 7th July, 7pm, at St Paul’s School, Hertford Street, Balsall Heath, to bring all stakeholders together to discuss options.

Do come along if you’re interested. If you have any questions, contact Karen Leach, or 0121 685 1155

June updates

In this update:

Welcome to this long overdue update on the Baths campaign and Baths related news!  There’s lots to share – and don’t forget if you want to add any items then let us know!  This month we’re covering:

  • Timetable changes and staffing issues
  • Moving forward with plans for the building?
  • Sparkhill Baths news
  • Photos from Fierce Festival
  • Time to get active?  A call out for volunteers
  • Sampad’s heritage project on the Stratford Road
  • Details of our next meeting and forthcoming AGM

When can I swim?

Staffing shortages

Many regular swimmers may be aware that there have been a number of changes to the timetable and we have learnt that this Wednesday the building was closed.  This is due to temporary staffing shortages which are hopefully being resolved with the appointment of a new Duty Manager.

Women Only sessions

There is an ongoing issue with a lack of female lifeguards to cover the Monday night Women’s Only sessions.  Monday evenings are now a mixed session but we understand that the Tuesday night Women Only session is due to be extended.  As always, do ring ahead if you are concerned.

Be Active swim times

There are new times for the popular ‘Be Active’ scheme, which enables all Birmingham residents to swim for free at designated times with a valid Leisure Card.  The Tuesday morning Public Swim has now moved to a Friday morning.  It’s proving particularly popular with pre-school kids!

Aqua session

Also, we want to give a plug for the Tuesday night Aquarobics session.  Have fun, get fit with John Currivan, ‘The Fitness Guru’.  We hear great things about this session.  It takes place on Thursday evenings at 8pm.  Ring John on 07502 010 200 for more details.

With a looming closure…

…it’s not just members of the Friends of Moseley Road Baths who are concerned about the future of the building.  Closure of Moseley Road Baths is currently pencilled in for whenever Sparkhill reopens (more on that below).  Previous attempts to push Councillors into any kind of constructive discussion on the future of the building have proved fruitless, so members of the group have met with a number of local organisations to try and look at options for the building.  It was a well attended and positive meeting, and the group were unanimous in their belief that the building should remain open for public swimming.  The group agreed the following as the outcomes we would be seeking from working together with the Council on a future for Moseley Road Baths:

  • It must stay open for swimming, alongside other uses.
  • Ideally both pools would be open for swimming but we recognise this is ambitious.
  • If only one pool can be saved, the Gala pool is preferred.
  • The building should primarily be owned and operated on a non-profit basis for community use.
  • There might be some concerns over significant residential use.

The group is willing to explore any options within these bounds.  There will be a wider meeting with all potential stakeholders, organised with the assistance of Cllr Trickett and Cllr Holbrook, at the end of June, beginning of July.

Sparkhill Baths update

We received this from the Council’s Strategic Sports Team on 11th May:

‘We are currently undertaking the work to remove the asbestos within the old building, this will then allow the final ground condition surveys to be completed.  As long as the removal of the remaining asbestos goes without any further problems, this should allow demolition to take place during the school summer holidays, with construction following soon afterwards.  Service availability is expected in December 2016.’

Fierce Festival photos

We’ve been reliving last October’s magical Fierce Festival with these lovely images sent from Artists Laura Delaney and Lisa Stewart that were taken by Fierce’s photographer.  Yet another example of how a pool of water can be a starting point for so many creative and interesting uses.

Could we have some of your time?

The Friends Group will have stalls at a couple of events during June and July and would greatly appreciate any extra help on these days, even if it is only for a couple of hours. They are:

Sunday 28th June 11am-4pm
Birmingham Lives History Fair at Trefoil House Holloway Head Birmingham B1 1QL, not far from the ‘Pagoda Island’ on the A38.
We have one of nearly 30 stalls run by local history groups, which will be in the main hall of Trefoil House (the Birmingham Girlguiding HQ).

Saturday 4th July 9am-3pm (approx.)
Moseley Festival Street Market held on both sides of the main road through Moseley Village.

Postcard distribution

Could you stick some of our ‘Let’s Keep Swimming at Moseley Road Baths’ postcards through doors on your street?  Or give some out at the school gate, in your office or in a local café?  If so then let us know and we can get a stash to you!

If anyone is willing to help, please email Mark Gunton at

‘My Route’ is Sampad’s community heritage project exploring the changing history of the people, culture and landscape around Stratford Rd between Sparkbrook and Hall Green in Birmingham since the 1940s.

This exhibition will be held from Saturday 13th June to Friday 10th July, along the entire Stratford Road from Sparkbrook to Hall Green. The exhibition will feature photography by the renowned Birmingham photographer Vanley Burke, and sound installations by Brian Duffy, famous for his work with Modified Toy Orchestra. There will be a heritage trail both in physical form and as a mobile application using augmented reality, developed by local digital developers Substrakt. A touch-table map tracking the changes along the road from 1945 to present day will be available to use at the Bordesley Centre and at Hall Green Library, and a number of satellite exhibitions at nearby locations are being developed. A free publication will also accompany the exhibition.

For more details, visit .

Forthcoming meetings

if you have made it this far through our update then you’re probably exactly who we need to come and join us at our regular meetings!  Meetings are friendly and informal and we welcome new faces and fresh ideas!

Next meeting
Thursday 11th June
Anderton Park Children’s Centre
7.30pm prompt

AGM Notice
This is schedule for Wednesday 8th July from 6:30pm at Ort Café, opposite the Baths.
Nominations for the positions of Chair, Secretary and Treasurer are open, please send nominations to

Change of date and venue for April meeting

We know things can get pretty hectic over the Easter holidays for you busy lot, so we have decided to change the date of our next meeting to Thursday 16th April, 7:30pm with a change of venue.  We will now be meeting at the Tea Room in Moseley Road Baths.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Keep Moseley Road Baths Open Day – a huge thank you!

What an amazing response!

Every time the Friends of Moseley Road Baths have hosted an event, we wait nervously to see if anyone will show up.  Experience should tell us not to worry, as each time we’re heartened by how many people are so eager to view the building and come for a swim!

Around 80 people alone came on a tour upstairs with others just viewing the pools, slipper baths and boiler room downstairs.  Former Baths employee John Berrill’s description of how the plant and equipment worked was both highly informative and very well received by the visitors and we’ll be arranging to record him on site soon for the archive.  The fun swims lived up to their name, with balls and floats in the pool encouraging swimmers of all ages to have a splash around together.  Unfortunately some swimmers were turned away as we had a full pool!

Visitors also took time to chat with the group about the progress of the campaign and we sold plenty of books, postcards, greetings cards and t-shirts.  Along with your generous donations we raised a healthy amount of money to plough back into our campaign and heritage work.


Inspired?  Join us!

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 11th March at Anderton Park Children’s Centre, 7.30pm.  We shall be gearing up for local elections, assessing what the likely scenarios are for the building post-election and planning more events.  Bring your ideas and enthusiasm!  Meetings are open to all and the venue is wheelchair accessible.


The day also featured on BBC Radio WM’s ‘Hunted’ show, with listeners following clues to find clues hidden in the building.  Could you have guessed?  You can Listen Again by clicking here: The clue hunting begins at around 55m, the section at Moseley Road Baths starts a 1hr 29mins.

Some special thank yous

Thanks are due to all of you who took time out of their weekend to volunteer – giving tours, pouring drinks, counting swimmers, giving directions, manning stalls.  Without your efforts yesterday’s event simply would not have taken place.

As always we also wish to thank the staff at Moseley Road Baths for being so accommodating.  Year on year they work with the building’s closure looming over their heads as things gradually fall into increased disrepair.  Their commitment ensures that people keep coming back.

Help needed – 8th March

Roll up! Roll up! We need volunteers for our ‘Keep Moseley Road Baths Open Day’, next Sunday 8th from 9.30am – 2pm.  The more of us the better (and there are some seated roles so we could swap from time to time).  You may be able to serve refreshments, sell books, direct people or help with answering questions about the building.  Let us know if you can help out by e-mailing

Radio 4 feature

Moseley Road Baths got a plug on BBC Radio 4’s ‘A History of Britain in Numbers’ this week.  Presenter Andrew Dilnot visited the pool and spoke to Steve Beauchampé about the Victorian vision that was responsible for the development of these kind of municipal buildings, particularly in Birmingham.

You can ‘Listen Again’ online, the whole programme is only 15 minutes long, Birmingham is featured from around 5:55mins.