Category Archives: Memories and Memorabilia Day

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.

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.

A successful Memories and Memorabilia Day

On Saturday we had another wonderful Memories and Memorabilia Day, our fourth successive annual event to mark the building’s birthday.  In total we took 59 people for tours of the Baths, we had a full room for Neil Bonner’s talk on Manchester’s Victoria Baths and lots of people left details, shared their memories and tucked into Russ’ wonderful soup!

We had lots of people coming up and looking at our stalls, finding out more about our Pool of Memories project as well as looking through our exhibition.

Guests

We were also lucky enough to be able to display Margaret Braithwaite’s lovely paintings of Moseley Road Baths.

Margaret's paintings

The feedback from the tours of the building was excellent, with many people never having ventured beyond Pool 2.  Both Steve and Mark gave tours which took in the slipper baths, the boiler room and the laundry room.

Tour

Meanwhile, I had a lovely time chatting with people about their memories of Moseley Road Baths.  Eileen, pictured below, lived two doors down from the Baths between 1960 and 1964 and vividly remembers attending dances there, swimming with friends, and even using the Baths.  She also told us the story of when Billy Fury came to stay next door at what is now the Gurdwara!

Eileen interviewee

Thanks so much to all who attended, to the members of Victoria Baths who kindly came along, to everyone who held a stall at the event, to our volunteers for their hard work and of course to the long suffering members of the Friends of Moseley Road Baths Committee who put so much work into the day!

Last minute planning

With only two days to go until our Memories and Memorabilia Day the Friends of Moseley Road Baths and our oral history volunteers are going into overdrive to ensure that all our visitors come away with that warm glow that we’ve managed to achieve in previous years!

Last night we finalised a lot of our displays after hours and hours spent going through our oral history audio recordings.  I’ve been putting some of the best snippets together for visitors to have a listen to.  Meanwhile I know that others are leafing through memory sheets, laminating stuff, mounting pictures, and in the case of the group from The Victoria Baths in Manchester plotting their trip down to deliver their talk… and you know what?  It’s so exciting to be a part of it and to have the chance to share all of these fabulous memories with everyone!  There are some real gems, I particularly like this one of local pupils on the campaign trail!

Pupils banner

So, last minute planning….

If you haven’t already told your friends and family, made a note in your diary, spoken to that elderly neighbour who you know just LOVES local history, then do it now!!  Drop me a line at memories@friendsofmrb.co.uk if you want me to send you flyers or more information.

If you want to join one of our three tours of Moseley Road Baths, including many areas that are currently completely sealed off to the public, you will need to book your place to guarantee a spot.  Again, drop me a line or ring 07967 093 256 and state whether you want to join us at noon, 1pm or 3:30pm.  All tours leave from Mary Street Church Centre on the junction with Edward Road.  Be prepared for stairs and uneven surfaces!

The Friends of Moseley Road Baths group will be providing light refreshments, but as with previous years we encourage anyone with baking skills to add to our array of homemade cakes!  There’s something about a slice of cake and a cuppa that really gets people reminiscing!

We are really keen for those amongst you who swam, washed, worked, dived or danced at the baths to add your own memories (and memorabilia) to our growing archive by recounting and possibly recording your stories to our oral history volunteers who will be on hand for just this purpose.  Come prepared!

Finally, just in case you are unsure of directions, here’s a handy map! There is limited car parking at the venue (access on Mary Street), with some additional on-street parking.


View Larger Map

Can’t wait to see you there!

Last year’s tour

To get you warmed up for this year’s Memories and Memorabilia Day on 30th October, we wanted to share with you once again the excellent video that Alex Gamela and colleagues at HashBrum put together of the tour. Don’t forget that you will need to book this year’s tours in advance by e-mailing your preferred time to memories@friendsofmrb.co.uk or ringing us on 07967 093 256.

Enjoy!

Moseley Road Baths Tour from Alex Gamela on Vimeo.

Book a tour of the Baths

Memories and Memorabilia Day 2010 is almost upon us and will this year be held on Saturday, October 30th (the 103rd birthday of Moseley Road Baths) at the Mary Street Church Centre, corner of Edward Road/Mary Street, Balsall Heath (around 400 yards from the baths). The event runs from 11:30am-4:30pm.

This year’s Memories and Memorabilia Day forms an important element of Pool of Memories, the three-year history project for which we have received a Heritage Lottery Fund Your Heritage grant.

An exhibition showing a selection of the photos, video film, reminiscences and artefacts already collected by the Friends of Moseley Road Baths as part of the Pool of Memories project will be on display and we’re really keen for those amongst you who swam, washed, worked, dived or danced at the baths to add your own memories (and memorabilia) to our growing archive by recounting and possibly recording your stories to our oral history volunteers who will be on hand for just this purpose.

Pool of Memories Launch

Following last year’s superb illustrated talk by Played in Britain series editor Simon Inglis’ on Britain’s historic indoor swimming pools, we are delighted to welcome Neil Bonner from the Victoria Baths Trust in Manchester who will tell (and show) us all about the past, present and future of these glorious Grade II* baths (winners of the BBC’s inaugural Restoration series in 2003)! Neil’s presentation is scheduled for 2:15pm.

As in previous years, we’ll be providing guided tours of Moseley Road Baths, including the Gala Pool and ‘slipper’ baths.

There will be three tours (Noon; 1:00pm and 3:30pm), and we’ve been asked by the Council to limit the number of places per tour to 20, so advance booking is advised. Tours start from the Church (why this is will become clear on the day) and will last just over 1 hour. Please note that the tours take in areas of the Baths where there are steep steps and uneven surfaces.  Places will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. To book please e-mail us at memories@friendsofmrb.co.uk marking your e-mail ‘Baths Tour’ and stating which tour you would like to go on.

M&M Day 2010

Admittance to Memories and Memorabilia Day is free and refreshments will be available, although donations to the Friends of Moseley Road Baths group are most welcome. Car parking is available at the church centre (Mary Street entrance).

We look forward to seeing you all.

Memories and Memorabilia Day 2010

Our third annual Memories and Memorabilia Day will be held on Saturday, October 30th (the 103rd birthday of Moseley Road Baths) at the Mary Street Church Centre, cnr Edward Road/Mary Street, Balsall Heath (around 400 yards from the baths). Provisional times are 12:00-4:30pm.  The annual celebration was well received last year, when we were lucky enough to display some of Joan Gurney’s collection of swimming costumes of yesteryear.

Joan's swimming costume collection

This year’s Memories and Memorabilia Day forms an important element of Pool of Memories, the three-year history project for which we recently received a Heritage Lottery Fund Your Heritage grant of nearly £48,000.

An exhibition showing a selection of the photos, video film, reminiscences and artefacts already collected by the Friends of Moseley Road Baths will be displayed and visitors will be encouraged to recount (and record) their own memories and bring along their own memorabilia for inclusion in the project and our growing archive.

Those of you who attended last year’s Memories and Memorabilia event may well have enjoyed Played in Britain series editor Simon Inglis’ illustrated talk on Britain’s historic indoor swimming pools, based on his research for the English Heritage book Great Lengths. This year we are delighted to welcome our friend’s from the Victoria Baths Trust in Manchester (www.victoriabaths.org.uk) who will tell (and show) us all about the past, present and future of these glorious Grade II* baths (winners of the BBC’s inaugural Restoration series in 2003), the equal of our own favourite water palace!  We visited the Victoria Baths a few years ago, and would really recommend going to an open day!

As in previous years, we’ll be providing guided tours of Moseley Road Baths, including the Gala Pool and ‘slipper’ baths, for which advance booking is advisable, if the demand of previous years is anything to judge from!

Exact timings, details for tour bookings and the full programme of events are not yet finalised, so please check our website for updates and details of booking a tour place from early September.

Admittance to Memories and Memorabilia Day is free although donations to the Friends of Moseley Road Baths group are most welcome. Refreshments will be available