Category Archives: Events

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.

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 contact@friendsofmrb.co.uk.

Keep Moseley Road Baths Open Day

The Friends of Moseley Road Baths are hosting a ‘Keep Moseley Road Baths Open Day’ on 8th March, 10am-2pm, to mark the 108th Anniversary of the building opening its doors to swimmers.  We hope to demonstrate just how wonderful and relevant the building is, in spite of Birmingham City Council’s plans to close the facility in 2016.Open day poster 2015Whilst the building itself opened on 30th October 1907 for washing and laundry facilities, swimming pools at the time were only used in warmer months, so it wasn’t until Spring 1908 that swimmers were able to take the plunge.  During winters, pools were usually emptied and boarded over for social activities, including dances, billiards and card games.  Moseley Road Baths was also used as a Casualty station during the Blitz.

On the day there will be an opportunity to take a tour of areas of the building which are normally closed to the public – previous tours have been really well received and we encourage visitors to take lots of photos!  With the building due to close its doors for the last time next year, this may be one of the last opportunities for the public to see areas such as the Gala Pool, Laundry Room, Boiler House and original Water Tank.  As well as members of the Friends of Moseley Road Baths, we are also pleased to welcome former employee John Berrill who will be on hand in the plant room to answer questions.

Swimmers of all ages can head into the water for a free fun swim on us, with floats and toys in the pool between 9:15am and 11:15am.  This will be on a first come, first served basis, so arrive in good time!

Members of the Friends of Moseley Road Baths will have a stall where postcards and our book will be available to buy, and visitors can learn more about our campaign.

110 Swimmers take the plunge!

After a hugely successful gathering of swimmers and pool supporters for a unique photo shoot, Attilio is now set to unveil his work to the world this Thursday.

In a truly humbling display of just how well loved our local pool is, photographer Attilio Fiumarella and the gang over at Some Cities succeeded in getting 110 swimmers together to stand in the empty Gala Pool in their swimming costumes on a sunny Sunday morning to show their love for the building – and dismay at its proposed closure.

The shoot was a massive boost to the campaign against the proposed closure of the building – earmarked for September next year.  There was such a fantastic, good natured atmosphere – it was so lovely to see so many pool users coming together.  Attilio captured a real cross section of the community who gather at the pool each week.  The event really illustrated what a diverse bunch we are – babies and toddlers lined up next to pensioners, keen lane swimmers next to ‘Strokes’ pupils, club swimmers alongside the Aquarobics devotees and members of the Friends of Moseley Road Baths next to pool staff.  That unique community is what we stand to lose if the pool closes.

The powerful images from the photo shoot were picked up by local news outlets, and soon the story grew to become the third most read story on the BBC News site, it was covered in the Daily Mail and we even gained coverage of our ‘Warrior Spirit’ as far away as Scotland!  Twitter went wild with the #100swimmers hashtag, and we even got a Tweet from Jeremy Vine!

Thanks to everyone who helped to spread the word and who shared their images and thoughts on the day.  Esther Barnes documented the shoot and has produced some lovely images.  Matthew Walters was one of the ‘Terracotta Army’ who took advantage of the event to take some gorgeous shots of around the building.  Proof as ever that this building continues to inspire.

Attilio’s image from the photo shoot will be unveiled this Thursday July 31st, from 6.30pm, at The Old Print Works, over the road from the baths – and all are welcome – whether you participated, spread the love online or only saw the story in the press.  Attilio will be there to answer questions about the project.

IMG_4169The Friends of Moseley Road Baths want to extend a huge thank you to Attilio for his vision and talent in bringing the project about, the team at Some Cities for supporting such an ambitious and exciting project, Ian Edwards (pictured above with his loudspeaker!) for his expert direction of the swimmers, to the crew who were running round supporting Attilio, to all of the swimmers who gave up their morning to stand around in an empty pool, and of course, thanks are also due to the pool staff for accommodating the event.

Lobby the Council – bring a placard!

Last year several hundred people, including local school pupils, wrote letters to the Council asking that the Baths reopen for swimming.  A consultation exercise for the HLF bid found quite overwhelming support for swimming in the building.  We’ve received so many messages from people upset that swimming may stop at Moseley Road Baths.  It’s clear that local councillors are not representing the very clear wishes of local people and failing in their duty to provide swimming facilities.

So, just to make them aware of the strength of feeling and to coax them into committing to the future of the building as a public swimming pool, we will be lobbying the:

Hall Green District (constituency) meeting

next Tuesday 22 Jan

12.15pm at the Council House, Victoria Square

We appreciate that this is a mid-week lunchtime, but if you can commit to come along, make a placard etc. then this would be wonderful in demonstrating the opposition that exists to the Council’s policy towards the building.  We know you are a creative and vocal bunch, and the press do so love a pretty picture, so please do what you can!

We Want To Swim! demo - Summer 2011

Urgent campaign action!

E-mail

  • No more excuses!

  • No more delays!

  • We want to swim!

You may know that the re-opening of the Baths has recently been pushed back to the beginning of April 2012 for repainting of the ceiling (see latest update from Cllr Mullaney).  As Councillor Mullaney says, he has challenged the need to repaint the ceiling, “since from my perspective the baths have been closed long enough and this constant discovery by Health and Safety of yet another issue, just as we are about to re-open has to stop.”

There is a constituency meeting on the 20th March.  We need to send a message to the local councilors, loud and clear, that the pool must be re-opened.  We urge you to please:

  • add your voice and send a message to the local councillors (and/or to us)
  • get your friends and children to send their messages;
  • attend the meeting (see notes below).

Thanks for your support.

  • Messages can be in any format: signs, pictures, posters, cards, letters, photos, videos etc.  Please get them to us as soon as possible and by the 16th March at the latest.
  • Write your message to the Constituency Chairman, Councillor Kennedy, and send a copy to us.  We will present it at the meeting.
  • The Hall Green constituency meeting is at 7pm on Tuesday 20th March.  We will inform you of the venue once it has been confirmed (likely to be in Sparkbrook).

Happy 5th Birthday!

The Friends of Moseley Road Baths group is 5 years old! We were born at a public meeting attended by around 100 people, held at Moseley Road Methodist Church on Monday, November 27th 2006.

In an age when many people have such full work, family and social commitments it takes a lot to keep a community group such as ours going. Many well-intentioned organisations never make it to their fifth birthday, so it’s testament to those volunteers who give so freely of their time for a cause they feel passionately about that the group has made it this far and is still going strong. We’ve got a core of around a dozen regulars and others who get involved on a more ad hoc basis for events such as our annual Memories and Memorabilia Day, and conducting interviews for our Heritage Lottery Funded Pool of Memories project.

We have an excellent relationship with the staff at Moseley Road Baths, not least manager Kishor (Dave) Flora and have generally found the local media to be supportive of the building and increasingly aware of its historical importance, both locally and nationally. There have been many highlights during our first five years, but celebrating Moseley Road Baths’ 100th birthday in October 2007 with a visit from the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, establishing our online Virtual Tour and receiving a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to research the building’s history, interview past and present MRB users and help local schoolchildren make films about the baths and their social history, are perhaps amongst the most memorable.

We’ve met some amazing people, such as octogenarian Philip Morris, who came back to undertake a fundraising swim at the baths in 2009, the first time he’d returned since the mid-1930s! Howard Edwards and Doris Gamble (he played in dance bands at the baths, she taught youngsters to swim) are two more who come to mind, Then there are the others, such as Celia Reeves of Anderton Park School, Val and Bron from Balsall Heath Local History Society, and Ian Dungavell of The Victorian Society as well as our friends at the wonderful Victoria Baths in Manchester. None are regular Moseley Road Baths swimmers, but all are both passionate about the building and understanding of its vital importance as a community swimming pool. And a special mention for Played in Britain series editor Simon Inglis and long-term Moseley Road Baths campaigner Selina Stewart – without their enthusiasm that first meeting would never have taken place.

We must also mention Cllr. Martin Mullaney, Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture. Although the long-term future of Moseley Road Baths is not yet assured, Martin has proved to be a determined supporter of the baths and has battled sceptical colleagues who might have used the structural problems experienced at MRB this year as an excuse to close the building down for good.

Finally, and undoubtedly most important of all, are those Moseley Road Baths swimmers and bathers past and present who support our events, come on our tours, join our mailing list, follow our news on Facebook, Twitter and via our website, and who can’t wait for early 2012 when Moseley Road Baths once again re-opens for business.

The Friends of Moseley Road Baths will be holding a 5th Birthday/Christmas Party at the Old Moseley Arms in Tindal Street (off Edward Road), Balsall Heath from 8pm on Friday, December 9th 2011 – we hope to see as many of you there as possible.

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!

Pool of Memories Art Exhibition

Plans are now well underway for this year’s annual event as part of our ‘Pool of Memories’ project.  On Saturday 29th October, noon-4pm, Friends of Moseley Road Baths will be taking over the Moseley School of Art on Moseley Road (opp. the Baths) for the day to celebrate the Baths’ history and beauty through the medium of art!M&M 2011Today we have selected 12 local artists’ work to exhibit, encompassing a wide range of mediums, including photography, illustration, sculpture and portraiture.  All of the work has been inspired by the building itself, swimming, or water.  The ‘Pool of Memories’ exhibition will not only be the only opportunity to see all of these works together, it will also be a rare chance to see inside the former School of Art, itself Grade II* listed.

In addition we will be screening short films produced by local pupils as part of our Pool of Memories School project.  Pupils from Park Hill School, Anderton Park School, Clifton Junior School and Percy Shurmer School have filmed and conducted oral history interviews with people who remember swimming, working or washing at Moseley Road Baths.  We will be premiering the most recent films from pupils at Park Hill School on the day – filming only took place today!

Park Hill Pool of Memories

We shall also be welcoming Corinne Fowler to the event who will be reading an excerpt from her novel which features an account of a full immersion baptism in the swimming pool!

As usual there will be a selection of stories from our ever growing oral history archive on display as well as an opportunity to contribute to the archive with your own memories.  If you would like to share your stories on audio recorder or on film then please come along!

Don’t forget that our exhibition is wonderfully complemented by the Balsall Heath History Fair and Exhibition taking place next door at the Make It Zone!

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.