The Guardian put out a request for readers’ photos on the theme ‘derelict’ last week. The result was a collection of some of the most heartbreaking pictures of buildings which are a shadow of their former glory.
Amongst the pictures was a photo from Emma Jones (editorialgirl) of the Gala Pool at Moseley Road Baths which you can view on the Guardian’s site. The article incorrectly describes the swimming pool as abandoned (there is another fully functioning pool on site), but it’s not difficult to see why they drew that conclusion. I’m not sure how I feel about it: the pool is absolutely gorgeous, even in its present state, and I think that the more publicity the building has the better, but it’s absolutely shameful that such a building remains in the ownership of Birmingham City Council in such a state. I feel embarrassed that my local pool should so frequently be on ‘most endangered’ and ‘most neglected’ lists, but it seems that our local politicians share no such concern. Their silence over the past few months has been deafening.
The current state of play is that we have been presented with some three year old figures for the full refurbishment of the Gala Pool (estimated cost, £9m), but it has been made clear that this possible work is tied in with the future of Sparkhill Baths, which will be rebuilt on the current site. Whilst that is decided Moseley Road Baths is in a continuing state of decline, with urgent work required to make the building watertight. We took the volunteers from our Pool of Memories Project around the building a few weeks ago (more on that later!), and we were all shocked at just how bad the first floor flat is looking.
So, if you share our despair, think about dropping some of the local councillors a line and asking them what they plan to do in the immediate future to preserve Moseley Road Baths.
Better still, consider attending one of their Advice Surgeries. Let us know how you get on!