Category Archives: Arts

Have you been involved in a MRB art project?

Moseley Road Baths has always been a real inspiration to people doing creative, exciting things. A couple of weeks ago editorialgirl took a tour of the building and took this wonderful selection of photos, which complement her previous collection from 2009’s Flickrmeet for local photographers which we featured on here at the time.

We’re wanting to hear from others who have been involved in arts events at the Baths:

Have you ever organised an art event at Moseley Road Baths? Have you ever taken part in one, or just attended? If so, then The Friends of Moseley Road Baths would love to hear from you. As part of our Pool of Memories History Project we’re researching all aspects of the building’s 105-year history. So if it was an art show, a video shoot, fashion show, play, exhibition, TV appearance, or anything else then we’d love to hear from you. Maybe you were at Immerse, Swimming Without Water, saw Stan’s Cafe’s show, or maybe you have a copy of the Gangsters episode which included the baths, or the Dalzeil and Pascoe show that featured Norman Wisdom! If you think you might be able to help, memories or memorabilia (posters, tickets etc), then do get in touch at memories@friendsofmrb.co.uk.

Astounding response to Heritage Consultation!

We have seen an overwhelmingly positive response to the consultation work that Birmingham Conservation Trust have been doing as part of the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for restoration and heritage projects at Moseley Road Baths.  There is a great write up on their blog.

Baths Questionnaire

Lots of you have been completing questionnaires on your ideas for the building (these can be found at the Baths and many local community venues), there was lots of interest at the Eid Mela a few weeks back, 133 people took a ‘Behind the Scenes’ tour last weekend, every single department at Joseph Chamberlain College has expressed an interest in using the Baths with students, plus this week we are meeting with local schools to discuss their vision for activities at the Baths. Phew!

I was lucky enough to meet with Suzanne Carter, part of the team from Birmingham Conservation Trust conducting the consultation, and representatives from local arts organisations. We took a tour around the building, delving into nooks and crannies. It’s so inspiring and affirming to see people getting visibly excited by the possibilities in the space.

We spoke about how the individual cubicles for the slipper baths could be used creatively, how the archive from the Pool of Memories could be used as inspiration, and we got very excited talking about how everything from the smallest detail of the tiles and marble to the huge expanse of the Gala Pool could be employed for photography, film, projection, dance and drama.

It’s clear to me that we have a really wonderful opportunity to combine the heritage and beauty of this inspiring building with the creativity and talents of local people.  Let’s push to make sure that we can make these things happen!

Surroundings

As part of our oral history project we’ve received a link to an online version of a sound installation created at Moseley Road Baths back in 2000 by Bobby Bird.  Have a listen to the soundscape and view pictures here: http://bobbybirds.wordpress.com/about/surroundings-moseley-rd-swimming-baths/

Moseley Road Baths – at the ‘art’ of Balsall Heath

Where to start with summarising last Saturday’s fantastic art exhibition and celebration of Moseley Road Baths’ 104th Birthday?  We were overwhelmed by the response from artists and those who attended on the day; what a timely reminder with the Baths currently closed that it still remains as popular and loved as ever!

Pool of Memories Art Exhibition

Pool of Memories Art Exhibition

First off I must say a huge thank you to the artists who produced such fantastic work!  Please do look them up and support them!  They are: Anne Irby Crews, Eleanor Leonne Bennett, Harry Starling, Heather Ramsden, Helen Flanagan, Maria Reaney, Michelle Bint, Paul Hull, Paul Jessett, Robert Geoghegan, Rose Jennings and Vivienne Harrison.

Thanks also to Corinne Fowler who read an excerpt from her novel which vividly describes a full-immersion Baptism at Moseley Road Baths – something that the Riverside Church used to do.  She did an excellent job of transporting the audience to the poolside in the absence of our annual tours!

Pool of Memories Art Exhibition

The day was also an opportunity to celebrate our Pool of Memories project so far.  The bits of our archive out on display really got people talking and we got so many wonderful stories and great feedback!  A number of people left their details for us to interview them, and this wonderful certificate was shown to us which dates back to 1928!

Pool of Memories Art Exhibition

I was lucky enough to do two wonderful oral history interviews with visitors.  Betty spoke about her first attempts at swimming in the early 1930s and going for weekly baths, right through to swimming as a teenager, courting with Fred (now her husband!) and taking their daughter there when she was a toddler.  Ruth was visiting from Yorkshire and spoke fondly of her 13 years of working as a lifeguard and how it was so much more than lifesaving but about building important relationships with the whole community.

We also screened films from our Pool of Memories School project, including Premiering two films produced by pupils at Park Hill School over the past couple of weeks.  A few of the pupils were in attendance and proudly showed their work off to family!

Pool of Memories Art Exhibition

Finally, a massive thank you to all those who volunteered their time on the day and to the staff at the School of Art for making us so welcome.  Over 110 people were in attendance which I think is a huge achievement for a voluntary group!  Please do let us know what you thought of the event so we can build on this success for next year’s event!

The History of Moseley Road comes to life!

History Fair Exhibition

From 15th October until 5th November Moseley Road’s history will be brought to life as never before!  The Balsall Health Local History Society are exhibiting a selection of over 200 photos from the area, many of which have never been seen before.  In addition there will be dozens of artefacts, a mini school room and a slideshow and film showing the neighbourhood in years past.

The exhibition takes place at the ‘Make it Zone‘, formerly Butcher’s Print Works, located next door to the School of Art, opposite the Baths and Library.  The venue will be open Saturdays 11.00 – 16.00, Sunday 16th, 23rd, 11.00 – 16.00 Monday – Wednesday 12.00 – 16.00.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, head down to the Moseley Road (outside the Make It Zone) on Sunday 16th October at 11am and then again at 2:30pm as astonishing scenes will take place in Balsall Heath… a history trail along the Moseley Road will be dramatically interrupted by various scenes from the past including the escaped lion from the Sherbourne Road Zoo, the 1791 Church and King Riots, the 19th. Century Fire Brigade and its wandering horse… and much more!

The exhibition and Drama Trail are being supported by St Paul’s Community Development Trust, The Heritage Lottery Fund, MACE West Midlands, and the BBC Reel History campaign.  This compliments the Society’s excellent Digital Balsall Heath online archive project which we reported on back in August.

Don’t forget that on the 29th October you can indulge in a whole afternoon of history and locally produced artwork by also visiting our own Pool of Memories Exhibition between 12noon and 4pm next door in the School of Art.  We are accepting your artwork until the 17th October.

Deadline for artwork submissions extended

We’ve had a fantastic response to our appeal for artwork for this year’s Memories and Memorabilia Day; it’s really encouraging to see how much enthusiasm and talent there is out there!

As members of Friends of Moseley Road Baths who are curating the exhibition won’t get opportunity to get together and make a decision on which pieces to put in the exhibition until the 17th October we’re extending the deadline until then.  We will be making final decisions on exhibitors and contacting them on the 18th/19th October to make arrangements for the day.  In the meantime, thanks so much for your patience and we’ll be in touch soon!

Just as a reminder, if you have not already done so, to enter a piece we require:

  • An image or still of the work,
  • Size and dimensions,
  • Equipment needed for display or performance,
  • A brief statement about the work.

Moseley Road Baths Art Exhibition – Call for submissions

The Friends of Moseley Road Baths are looking for artists to submit work for an exhibition of art inspired by Moseley Road Baths and swimming in Birmingham for this year’s Memories and Memorabilia Day.

This event is part of the Friends’ Heritage Lottery funded “Pool of Memories” oral history project and there is a possibility that work submitted will be included in the book and website being produced.

The exhibition will take place for one day only on Saturday 29th October 2011 at the former Moseley School of Art on Moseley Road, Birmingham.

Memories and Memorabilia Day 2011;Work can be in any medium although space availability and any equipment needed will be taken account during selection.

To submit work, please email to memories@friendsofmrb.co.uk the following:

  • An image or still of the work,
  • Size and dimensions,
  • Equipment needed for display or performance,
  • A brief statement about the work.

The closing date for entries is 7th October 2011.

Margaret’s Exhibition is now open!

Thanks so much to everyone who came to the launch of Margaret Braithwaite’s exhibition of oil paintings of Moseley Road Baths. It was clear from the event how passionate people are about the building and what fond memories they have of swimming there.  The exhibition is on at the beautiful Birmingham and Midland Institute on Margaret Street for the next couple of weeks.

Margaret Exhibition
Jen and I went onto Carl Chinn’s show on Radio WM yesterday to discuss the exhibition and some of the work we’re currently doing through the Pool of Memories project. You can listen again on the BBC iPlayer until the 13th February at http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/p00dtv0m/, we are on from 47:20 for about 10 minutes.

Art Exhibition – Homage to Moseley Road Baths

Local artist Margaret Braithwaite has a long association with Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath.

Her youngest son learnt to swim there in the 1980s and her admiration for this beautiful pool, a Grade 2* listed building, prompted her to create a set of paintings which will be on display at the Birmingham and Midland Institute during the month of February.

Margaret says: “I wanted to show the wonderful light coming through the big windows, and to capture the life that goes on there. The Pool is in dire need of repair. It is a crucial part of Balsall Heath providing swimming tuition for many schools, and I hope it will be brought back to its former glory. My contribution towards its future is this set of paintings.”

The Friends of Moseley Road Baths are supporting the exhibition, as part of “Pool of Memories”, a Heritage Lottery funded project working with local schools and pool users past and present to record the history of this much-loved building.

Moseley Road Baths is currently closed for urgent structural repairs.

Exhibition Launch:

Tuesday February 1st 2011 at 7pm

Birmingham and Midland Institute, Margaret Street, Birmingham

The paintings will then be on view during the usual Institute opening hours (Monday to Friday 9 – 5)

Margaret's paintings

Do you have memories to share of swimming at the Pool, particularly during the 1980’s? You can leave details on memory forms available at the Institute, or contact:

Jenny Austin, Pool of Memories Project Co-ordinator, 07521734022. email memories@friendsofmrb.co.uk or go to the website www.poolofmemories.co.uk

A talented bunch

Because we like all things Birmingham and because we have such a talented group of people involved in our campaign and Pool of Memories project, I wanted to take a second to plug two smashing artists.

Vivienne Harrison has been a member of the Friends of Moseley Road Baths from the word go.  When she’s not keeping the Pool of Memories project on track by keeping on top of finances, recording volunteer hours and making sure that we’re on target to get everything done, she’s often found organising art exhibitions and working on her own visual arts practice.  She is currently organising the ‘Women Photographers!’ visual arts exhibition as part of  ‘Shout!’ – Birmingham’s Festival of Queer Culture.  There is a private view on the 16th November, and then the exhibition will run from the 17th-20th November at Jubilee Trades Centre, Pershore Street, Birmingham, B5 6ND.

I was really pleased this morning to see Robert Geoghegan featured as an artist on the We Are Birmingham site.  Robert is a regular swimmer at Moseley Road Baths and has volunteered to record oral histories for our Pool of Memories Project.  I love his cheeky take on familiar views of Birmingham.  Anyone who has ever caught the 50 bus will have a giggle at his take on the bus to Druids Heath!  A selection of his work will be on sale at the We Are Birmingham shop in Dale End once it opens on Saturday 13th November.