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.

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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.

 

Let’s Keep Swimming at Moseley Road Baths!

Inspired by Moseley Road Baths after this weekend’s events? Time to get active preventing it’s closure? ‘Let’s Keep Swimming at Moseley Road Baths!’

Come along to this Thursday’s campaign meeting, 7pm at the Baths. Or put up posters, distribute flyers, speak with Councillors, help on a stall or help with media and publicity!

We had an overwhelming response to Saturday’s Open Day and Instameet (in collaboration with IKON Gallery and in celebration of our listing on the World Monument Fund’s 2016 Watch List). We want this to translate into a bigger, bolder campaign to keep our pool open for swimming. Please lend your time and skills and ‘Let’s Keep Swimming at Moseley Road Baths!’

Contact events@friendsofmrb.co.uk for more information.

Open Day – 5th March

The next Moseley Road Baths open day will be held on Saturday 5th March from 1:30-4:00pm.

We’ll be trying out a new way for people to tour the building with a set route and volunteers on hand in each area to answer your questions and tell you all about the history of this unique internationally recognised heritage facility.

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What can you do?

Are you interested in preserving Moseley Road Baths? Would you like to play a more active role in your local community? If so, the Friends of Moseley Road Baths are looking for volunteers to help out at our open days! We’d love to hear from you if you think you can offer your time to do any of the following:

> Marketing and publicity for events;
>Photography during open days;
>Baking cakes for a refreshments stand;
>Manning stalls and greeting visitors;
>Helping with tours of the baths.

Or perhaps you think there are other skills you could offer – if so, please email us at events@friendsofmrb.co.uk to let us know what you can do!

Even if you can’t volunteer for the next open day on March 5th, come along to the event to look round the building and experience the event!

We will also have other regular open days during the year so get in touch if you think you could spare some time at a later date.

In addition to the Friends of Moseley Road Baths own stalls, Balsall Heath Local History Society will be present and there will also be a craft stall displaying items produced by local people.

Spooky goings on…

On the evening of Friday, October 30th 2015 Moseley Road Baths Friends Viv Harrison, Jen Austin and Michelle Bint took part in the BBC Radio WM programme Haunted (a Halloween special edition of the station’s regular Sunday morning show Hunted), which included a section where WM reporter Debbie had to find hidden clues at the Baths. Listen here to the appropriately scary and spooky welcome which we gave her as she searched the women’s ‘slipper’ baths and Gala Pool.

Cleaning and maintenance work now underway

The Friends have been in regular contact with Birmingham City Council since the announcement that the building has made the World Monuments Fund ‘2016 Watch List’.  We want to ensure that the Council are doing everything within their power to maintain the building, despite lack of funds for major improvements.  So far, we understand that lighting is being improved, areas are being tidied and quotes are being obtained for thorough cleaning of areas within the building which do not have public access.

Sparkhill Baths update – November 2015

Further delays with Sparkhill Baths

The re-opening of a new, rebuilt Sparkhill Pool will not happen until Spring 2017 after yet more delays as a result of asbestos on site.  The Birmingham Mail reported on 19th November that:

Cabinet member for contracts Stewart Stacey (Lab, Acocks Green) said: “Sparkhill Pool is not going as predicted.  “As happens with many older buildings, the asbestos was much, much worse than anyone thought it would be and more than was visible when the contract was signed.”

Demolition work is now expected to continue for the next few months, with construction due to start in March 2016 ready for a May 2017 opening.  It is 18 months behind schedule.

Moseley Road Baths Open Day

Moseley Road Baths Open Day, October 31st 2015

Following the recent announcement that the Baths was to be included on the World Monuments Fund Watch List we decided to hold an open day at the end of October, which would also tie in with Moseley Road’s 108th birthday. Having taken part in Birmingham Heritage Week just six weeks earlier we were a little apprehensive that we’d struggle to attract many visitors this time (between 80-120 is usual for our open days). We were therefore amazed when around 240 people showed up; making this easily the most popular event we’ve stage since our formation in nine years ago.

Plans to run four guided tours quickly expanded to seven, additional MRB information sheets were hastily photocopied, extra copies of our Pool of Memories book were brought in as the enthusiasm and excitement of visitors made the Friends’ volunteers forget their exhaustion.

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Centrepiece of the day was a re-enactment of the Opening Ceremony, staged in period costume thanks to our friends at Balsall Heath Local History Society. Particular thanks to Martin Mullaney who played the rôle of Deputy Lord Mayor Alderman Reynolds and gave excellent speeches both at the front of the building (to a crowd of up to 80) and then in the foyer, which likely hasn’t been so crowded in years, to the backdrop of a string quartet playing Edwardian period music. The ‘dignitaries’ (architect William Hale, Baths Committee Chairman William Davies, Baths Department Superintendent Job Cox, Resident Money-taker Mrs Hidden and a representative of Moseley Swimming Club ladies section – or Mark, Carl, John, Helen and Philippa as they are better known) each received replica 1907 tickets (or at least our approximation of what one might have looked like) despite the unexpected arrival of a placard waving suffragette (Fran Delaney) and a local factory hand desperate for a wash (Chris Crean)! The re-enactment ended with the cutting of a splendid Victoria sponge cake, decorated with Moseley Road Baths birthday greetings.

Amongst our many visitors were Balsall Heath Councillor Victoria Quinn and her husband, outgoing Council Leader Sir Albert Bore. Our thanks as ever to the staff for whom nothing seemed too much trouble, and to the public who came from Balsall Heath, Birmingham and beyond to visit Britain’s finest still operating Edwardian swimming baths.

Open Day at World Monuments Fund Listed Moseley Road Baths

To mark Moseley Road Baths’ recent inclusion on the World Monuments Fund Watch List as well as the building’s 108th birthday, the Friends of Moseley Road Baths are holding an Open Day on Saturday, October 31st 2015 from 10am-4pm.

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Moseley Road Baths Open Day gives the public a chance to learn about the history of this threatened Grade II* listed building, with access to normally closed areas such as the gala pool, private washing bath departments, laundry room and cold-water storage tank, as well as the boiler and filtration rooms. A highlight of the day comes at 2pm with a re-enactment of the opening ceremony following which Edwardian-period musical entertainment will be provided in the tea room and birthday cake partaken. Later, at 3pm, members of the general public who so wish may undertake a guided tour of the building. For those unable to attend the re-enactment, additional guided tours will take place at 11pm, noon and 1pm and pre-booking is advised. Entrance to Moseley Road Baths Open Day is free, and refreshments will be available in return for a small donation to the Friends of Moseley Road Baths. Additionally, Pool of Memories, the Friends’ book on the history of the baths, will be on sale for £10.

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Please note that Pool 2 will be open for public swimming throughout the day and those who have never previously swum at Moseley Road Baths are especially welcome to come along and enjoy a dip in this historic Edwardian pool that Birmingham City Council currently intends to close at the end of 2016.

Moseley Road Baths is both a local and national asset under threat of closure.