Category Archives: Media

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.

Join us for a ‘swim’

Dear MRB Supporter,

With Moseley Road Baths set to remain closed for the whole of the school holidays we’re inviting you (and if possible, your children) to join us outside the baths at noon this coming Monday, July 25th – the first day of the school holidays – to express disappointment and unhappiness at the continued closure of Moseley Road Baths. We’ll take some photos and are inviting the local press along so bring your swimming costume (not to wear, but to hold up as it makes a much better picture!) and together we’ll try to increase pressure on Birmingham City Council to get the baths reopened for the first time since December 2010.

If you can get along that would be great, if you could tell a friend, that would be fantastic too. We’ll need you for about 15 minutes. Thanks.

The Friends of Moseley Road Baths

Pupils banner

Local pupils have previously made their views known!

Press Release – Pool of Memories School Project

Pupils in Balsall Heath have been learning about the history of Moseley Road Baths and creating short films based on their interviews with people who have memories of the building.  As part of the Friends of Moseley Road Baths’ ‘Pool of Memories’ project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, they have been working with local film-maker Rachel Gillies to create a series of short films.

The pupils have taken a tour of the building, done research about its history and learnt how to conduct filmed interviews, before editing their footage into short films to add to the group’s growing archive.

Pupils from Park Hill Primary School in Moseley screened a Premiere of their films in a special assembly on 16th May at 9:00am.  They include an interview with someone who almost gave birth in the pool, and another interview with a local stonemason who shared his memories of work to the windows back in 2004.

Park Hill Assembly

The Friends of Moseley Road Baths secured Heritage Lottery Fund money to run the extensive, 3-year oral history project, based on the history of the building.  Four out of nine school projects have been completed, with more than 35 young participants from four schools so far creating more than ten short films.  The work of the young historians has been added to a dedicated website, www.poolofmemories.co.uk as well as being used in local screenings and in educational projects.

The project is especially welcome at the moment due to the temporary closure of Moseley Road Baths whilst urgent repair work takes place.  It is hoped that the pool will reopen for swimming by mid-June.

“The children have really enjoyed learning about the importance of the baths within the local community. In addition, being able to interview local residents and make a film about it has been an invaluable experience!” said class teacher Clare Belshaw.

“I really enjoyed the project as I learned so much, such as how to set up a tripod.  I enjoyed visiting Moseley Road Baths and learning about its rich history as well as being able to go into the areas that are closed off from the public.  We also interviewed people and edited parts of the interview” said Poppy Emson, one of the pupils who took part.

Jenny Austin, the Pool of Memories Co-ordinator added: ‘This has been a fantastic way of getting young people excited about their local heritage, they really have taken the role of sharing and celebrating our local history seriously.’

Project worker Rachel Gillies added, ‘It has been wonderful to see how enthusiastic the pupils have been.  Pupils have had fun learning about this beautiful local building at the same time as gaining research, interviewing and film-making skills’

The films can be viewed at: http://www.poolofmemories.co.uk/2000-onwards/ and http://www.poolofmemories.co.uk/1980-1990/

Update on closure from Councillor Mullaney

Many of you will be aware that Moseley Road Baths is currently closed as work was due to begin on the lintel area around the Fire Exit on Pool 2 this month.

Councillor Mullaney last week posted up a report on the latest developments which I would recommend people read to have a grasp of what is happening. The upshot is that further inspection is needed of the structure supporting the wall and the windows and that this will determine the time and cost involved.  Funding is apparently available, but has not yet been signed off by the Council.

Friends of Moseley Baths, whilst appreciating the scale, scope and cost of the work, are anxious to see the pool reopen as quickly as possible.  The Hall Green Constituency currently has no swimming provision at all, something which is disastrous for those who rely on regular swims to maintain mobility and good health, and especially concerning for young people locally who are being denied the chance to learn basic water safety. We want to see the work completed to the standard required of a Grade II* listed building.

It’s crucial that the public remain involved in monitoring what is happening.  We are asking people during the closure to contact local Councillors to ask them to commit to the maintenance and reopening of the building.

Please take the time and contact your local Councillors or attend local advice surgeries to ask for updates on the work, and to ensure that they will fully support the maintenance work and reopening of the pool.  Make sure that you use the comments page and/or our e-mail address to let us know if you get any response!  You may wish to ask them:

What do they know about the closure?

Are they actively pressing to ensure that the work is moving forward?

Will they approve the budget for the repairs to be done?

Are they committed to the future of swimming at Moseley Road Baths?

Are they prepared to make a public statement about the lack of all swimming provision in the Hall Green Constituency?

Are they committed to keeping Moseley Road Baths within local authority control?

Will they campaign on the issue in upcoming local elections?

We would also encourage people to contact the local press and attend local Ward Committee and Constituency meetings to keep the issue in the public eye.

Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture – Cllr. Martin Mullaney –  Martin.Mullaney@birmingham.gov.uk

Ward Councillors

Cllr. Mohammed Ishtiaq – Mohammed.Ishtiaq@birmingham.gov.uk

Cllr. Shokat Ali – Shokat.Ali@birmingham.gov.uk

Cllr. Salma Yaqoob – Salma.Yaqoob@birmingham.gov.uk

Local Press

Birmingham Post – Upload letters to the Editor here

Birmingham Mail – letters@birminghammail.net or call freephone number 0800 138 2555 or 0870 830 6985 between 8am and 5.30pm specifying that you are submitting a letter to the Birmingham Mail.


Pupils set to work filming

Today the seven pupils involved in our Pool of Memories Project set to work filming people with memories of Moseley Road Baths. As soon as the session started they showed that they were completely on the ball by getting all of the camera equipment out and getting ready for the first ‘mock’ interview.

Setting up camera equipment

Our first interviewee was Mrs Noreen Evans, who came from Northfield, ready with a stash of photos to show us to help pupils to understand a little bit more about life in Balsall Heath in the 1950s. She went to Tindal School and was a regular at the pool.  She spoke about how going for a Bath wasn’t very nice as she didn’t like the carbolic soap.  However, compared to her tin bath at home, or even washing in the stone sink, it was a lot better.

Pupils at work

Miss Franklin from the school came and spoke to us about taking pupils swimming, and even recalled a time when one of the members of staff accidentally covered her with water!

Mrs Reeves then came in for an interview and talked about taking pupils swimming and even going swimming with her son when he was little.  She talked about how much she likes the high ceilings when she swims there.

Tomorrow we will be editing about 50 minutes of film footage into a short film to put on the website and to show to other pupils in Year 6.  In the meantime, here is a bit of footage from the Flip camera of the pupils interviewing Mrs Evans.

Why go for a bath at Moseley Road Baths? from Rachel Gillies on Vimeo.

Another view of Moseley Road Baths

We’re getting more and more interest in Moseley Road Baths from people who have been inspired by the building to do interesting and creative stuff. Alex Gamela came along to our Memories and Memorabilia Day last year and gathered a fair bit of footage and photography. He’s used it to create a Flash website which gives a really lovely view of the building, as well as providing lots of background information on the history of the baths. Have a look at the site here – but remember that you will need Flash installed.  Enjoy!

Invitation to Pool of Memories Project launch

The Pool of Memories Project Launch Event is to be held at Balsall Heath Library Moseley Road, (next to the Baths) at 3pm on Wednesday 17th February 2010.

Pool of Memories is an oral history project through which Friends of Moseley Road Baths will document the history of this nationally important building and record the stories and reminiscences of the generations of local people who have swum, socialised washed or worked there.

The Friends of MRB recently secured a Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Your Heritage’ grant of almost £48,000 for the project , which involves local schools and the community in the production of a book, a DVD and accompanying teaching resource pack, website and exhibition. The Project is also linked to Playhouse theatre in education scheme.

At the launch there will be an opportunity for you to find out more about the Project and, if you are interested, how you can help us build our archive of memories of the Baths. We do hope you will be able to attend.

A bittersweet experience

For so many of us who use Moseley Road Baths it’s a bittersweet experience.  How to convey the grandeur, the feeling of swimming in a palace, of being taken back to another place and time?  To a time when local authorities believed in providing ‘palaces for people’?  But how heartbreaking to see the dilapidation and lack of maintenance!

The vast majority of people who enter the building are quickly won over to fiercely believing that this valuable and unique facility should be restored to its former glory and kept for the purpose for which it was intended – a comprehensive swimming facility to serve local residents.

Having that discussion with the current state of the building and the contempt of some decision makers isn’t easy.  It can sometimes take a big stretch of the imagination to see how neglected areas can be brought back into use.

However, Alex Gamela and others on the HashBrum team have done some great work on documenting last Saturday’s ‘Memories and Memorabilia Day’ and showing both the passion and potential of the campaign.  Here is Alex’s film which I think captures the bittersweet feelings of so many of us really well.  Thanks ever so much!

Still endangered

Moseley Road Baths has hit the news this week with the news that for the third consecutive year it has been placed on The Victorian Society‘s top ten most endangered buildings.  The Society’s Director, Dr Ian Dungavell who earlier this year swam in Moseley Road Baths and numerous other endangered pools to raise awareness of their condition said;
‘Moseley Road Baths is the best of them all and it’s the most fabulous pool in the country that you can still swim in… Future generations won’t forgive us for leaving our heritage to deteriorate beyond repair.’
To find out about the other buildings that made the list go to the Victorian Society’s site, and also have a look at the BBC Birmingham feature on the news.