We’re really saddened to hear of the sudden death of Steve Beauchampé. One of the longstanding members of the Friends of MRB, Steve helped us to produce a virtual tour of the building, wrote our Pool of Memories book and conducted guided tours during many of our open days. He was eagerly looking forward to the next steps for the regeneration of the building, and his enthusiasm and knowledge of both the architecture and social history of the baths will be a great loss to our campaign to save our much loved community baths.
Do you want to train as a lifeguard?
It’s a great way to keep fit, gain new skills and confidence and help your local community!
Moseley Road Baths CIO can pay some or all of your training costs if you agree to work as a volunteer lifeguard at MRB.
There is a course running at the baths soon on:
- 19th and 20th May,
- 26th and 27th May, and
- 2nd and 3rd June
The CIO would particularly like to train some female lifeguards to help with women only sessions so that more local women can enjoy the benefits of swimming!
Ask at MRB reception for a volunteer form next time you visit or email the CIO for more details – email@example.com
Here is an important update from Karen Leach from the Moseley Road Baths Charitable Incorporated Organisation, who will be taking on the running of swimming facilities at the Baths from the start of April. There will be some changes to swimming timetables, lessons and prices, so do have a read and watch this space for further updates.
As you know the MRB CIO is due to take over the pool soon, and you might be wondering how this is going to affect you and your regular swimming activities. We can’t answer every question yet but here are some initial tips!
- The new schedule is under development and will be here as soon as we can get it to you. Club and school times will be similar to now, and we’ll have some public swim sessions including women only.
- There may be a few days’ closure after our official handover date of 3rd April, while we set up our systems and train staff and volunteers. Again we will let you know as soon as we can!
- The price for a public swim remains the same.
- We will not be joining the council’s membership scheme, so if you have a direct debit set up with the council which you only use for your MRB swimming, then you may want to stop this and go back to paying per session on the day. We hope to develop a membership scheme soon.
- We will be running Be Active sessions, as now, which provide free swimming within certain times.
- We are not permitted to join the council’s Passport to Leisure scheme, which provides concessionary swimming. We’re really sorry about this, but it is important to us to keep swimming affordable for everyone, so we will work up our own concessionary system as soon as we can.
- Children’s swimming lessons will initially be provided through local swim school ‘Diamond’, who cost a bit more thanStrokes but have a very good reputation. As above, we hope to provide a more affordable solution for those on low incomes in the near future – sorry this is not happening straight away.
- We are about to start formally recruiting volunteers for reception, cleaning and lifeguarding – thanks to everyone who has shown interest and we look forward to working with you! If you’ve already given us your contact details we will be in touch very soon.
Please let us have any feedback or queries! firstname.lastname@example.org . We’re very busy preparing to operate but will reply as soon as we can.
Finally – for those that are happy in pubs and like cake… the Old Moseley Arms will be holding a Cake Bake-off to raise funds for us, on 2nd March evening. Come along, have a slice ‘for donation’ and even make a cake to enter into the competition.
Look forward to seeing you at the pool soon!
Wondering what is happening with Moseley Road Baths’ future? There was a flurry of activity last Autumn when we raised a whopping great £26,000 towards the running costs of Moseley Road Baths when it is handed over to a community organisation to manage. Since then a lot of work has been happening behind the scenes. Hopefully this explains a bit more about what to expect this year!
Moseley Road Baths were scheduled to close in Summer 2017. The Moseley Road Baths Action Group (‘MRBAG’ – a wider group that included the Friends of Moseley Road Baths) came together to look into other ideas for keeping the Baths open. This Action Group came up with a plan to run the Baths as a community venture, and after lots of discussions, the City Council agreed to let the Action Group have a go !
so . . .
from 1st April 2018, Moseley Road Baths will be run as a Community run Baths.
The organisation in charge will be the ‘Moseley Rd Baths CIO’
What is a CIO?
CIO stands for ‘Charitable Incorporated Organisation’
During 2016 and 2017 the Action Group worked hard in order to form themselves into an organisation that could take over the day-to-day running of the Baths, on a business-like but ‘not-for-profit’ basis. Then they applied for charity status, which was granted in December 2017.
Caring for the building
An important part of the Action Group’s work has been to develop an Alliance with other important organisations – Birmingham City Council, the National Trust, World Monuments Fund, Historic England and others – who have specialist knowledge of caring for Heritage buildings & conserving them for a useful future.
The role of the Friends of Moseley Road Baths (FoMRB)
The Action Group formed as a temporary grouping to secure a better future for the baths. The Friends group is part of this group. The Action Group has now formed Moseley Road Baths CIO which will operate MRB from April 2018. The Friends group will also continue to exist, focusing as we always have on involving the public, by holding events and activities such as Open Days, Heritage tours of the Baths and arts events. We will work closely with the CIO – we have many members in common.
New FoMRB members welcome!
Meetings are held every two months in the Tea Room at the Baths. The next meeting is Thursday 12th April at 7pm.
How you can help run the Baths:
- Keep on swimming – use it or lose it. We need your custom to keep the Baths open
- Remind your friends that the Baths are staying open and encourage them to swim here. You can help spread the word through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or our newsletter.
- Train as a lifeguard
- Train as a Receptionist
- Volunteer for other jobs, including cleaning, maintenance and publicity
- Become a Trustee
If interested in any of these roles please contact Karen Leach on email@example.com or phone 0121 449 8348 and leave a message or ask to speak to Karen.
A guest blog by Phil Beardmore
Moseley Road Baths is a beautiful treasure of a building. It is also very old and hasn’t had much investment over the years. So it is no surprise that it is a building that is quite wasteful of heat, power and water.
So I was delighted in summer 2017 to be appointed by the Friends of Moseley Road Baths Action Group to produce a report on energy and water saving options at the baths.
The age of the building and its listed status puts limitations on what you can and can’t do.
Here are some of the key recommendations that I made for things that won’t cost too much will have a short return on investment:
- Detect and repair all leaks of cold water, hot water and steam, and reinstate lagging on hot water and steam pipework
- Use a pool cover on Pool 2 to prevent evaporation of water, heat loss and excessive humidity
- Use a timer on the filtration pump
- Upgrade all lighting in frequently used areas to LED lighting
- Upgrade all heating and lighting controls
- Optimise the use of electrical appliances to align with times of day when electricity is cheapest.
The following recommendations will cost more and have a longer return on investment but will nonetheless save money over their lifetimes:
- Replace the roof above Pool 2 with a new one conforming to current standards of insulation
- Replace the gas-fired steam boilers that supply heat to the pools, and also their heat exchangers, with either energy efficient gas, or with biomass boilers subject to further options appraisal
- Replace the gas-fired domestic hot water boilers that supply hot water to wash basins and showers, with energy efficient gas boilers
- Upgrade the ventilation system in Pool 2 to an energy efficient heat recovery system, with variable speed drive.
Other measures that could lead to the generation of energy and non-potable water on site include:
- Solar electricity, with or without battery storage
- Solar thermal, to pre-heat water to the domestic hot water boilers
- Solar cooling, which uses the heat of the sun to optimise the refrigerant gas in a dehumidifier
- Investigate the feasibility of rainwater harvesting and/or groundwater abstraction to provide filtered water to the pool; a paid internship with the University of Birmingham will be advertised shortly
- Develop a business case for an energy and water services company to fund, own and operate on site generation of non-potable water and renewable energy.
I’ve also recommended that when the time is right to do so, the Moseley Road Baths CIO should engage a reputable broker of energy and water supplies in order to obtain the most competitive prices.
There is a lot to be done but the business case for investment in energy efficiency is very strong. The good news is that Moseley Road Baths CIO is in a good position to secure the funds that could lead to saving a lot of money, and carbon dioxide emissions, in the near future.
Moseley Road Baths CIO will implement some of these recommendations and will work with the City Council and our other coalition partners to achieve the others. We’re really grateful to Phil for an excellent and thorough report. This is part of some development work funded by the Bright Ideas grant programme.
Great news that as of 21st December we now have a registered charity, Moseley Road Baths CIO (charitable incorporated organisation) which will take on responsibility for running the baths.
We are seeking a chairperson or co-chair for Moseley Road Baths CIO to take forward the community swimming venture as part of the future use and restoration of the whole building.
As you’ll know, our group of dedicated volunteers has been working together for the last two years to make this a reality. As we approach handover, the time is right to find a new chair to take it to the next level of its development.
We chose this picture to accompany our advert, because this venture is not about just an old building but about people, fun, and the continued ability of our families and neighbours to do what they love – keep swimming, stay active and learn about water safety at Moseley Road Baths.
MRB CIO – registered charity no 1176432
Moseley Road Baths celebrated its 110th birthday this year and received £36,495 in gifts to keep the swimming pool open!
Moseley Road Baths had been identified for closure by Birmingham City Council, but a loud and vocal community campaign – with the support of national and international heritage organisations – led to a reprieve in the summer of 2017. Since this decision, the Moseley Road Baths Community Interest Company (MRB CIC) has been developing a workable model for swimming and hopes to be about to take over operational responsibility for water activity from April 2018. The money from Awards for All and the amazing support from the Crowdfunder will play a large part in this.
There has been celebrity as well as community support throughout this campaign, which was launched by comedy character Barbara Nice. Joe Lycett, Adil Ray (Citizen Khan) and Annette Badland all contributed to and publicly supported the crowdfunder. Annette even appeared at the Baths for photographs and an appearance on Midlands Today! Benjamin Zephaniah tweeted his memories of the building and his support for our campaign.
One of the MRB CIC Directors, Kat Pearson, led the crowdfunding and said;
“We are overwhelmed by the final Crowdfunder total and at the level of support we’ve had throughout 2017. This isn’t just about the money we’ve raised, it is a demonstration of the strength of feeling throughout Birmingham and further afield that this pool is an asset which needs to be kept open. We are also incredibly fortunate to have received the Awards for All grant which will enable us to start training lifeguards and other volunteers as soon as possible.”
Details of the Crowdfunder:
- 345 people donated a total of £26,495- including £8,750 from Birmingham City Council’s Community Innovation Fund.
- Not including this match funding this is an average pledge of approximately £51.
- The most popular donation amount was £20 (this wasn’t a pledge amount with a reward attached so is an excellent testament to the support for keeping the baths open!)
- 39 people claimed a print as a reward and will receive either a photograph or watercolour of the Baths donated by local photographer Viv Harrison, and artist Jane Tavener (see attached).
- 65 people will receive our specially commissioned pin badge designed by local designer Kerry Leslie.
Birmingham City Council continues to work with the group to support their plans to operate the baths as a community run pool, and also with other heritage partners such as Historic England, National Trust and World Monuments Fund to plan for the longer term renovation of this Grade II* listed building.
Here are some of the Birmingham swimming memories you’ve shared with us. What has been amazing is how many generations have swum and still swim at Moseley Road Baths and the impact that some of our teachers (especially Mrs Yates!) had.
“Moseley Baths is where me and my sister and my mother all learnt to swim. We would go over to Moseley from Solihull (long before Tudor Grange Baths were built) once a week and change in the changing huts around the pool and have our lessons with Mr Eggeson and Mrs Yates. Both quite fierce and the pool seemed enormous and the sides incredibly high once you were in. We were only 6 / 7 years old and I am now going to be 60 – so a long long time ago. The swimming teachers had long poles to reach out into the middle of the pool to grab you or assist you if you sank or panicked! My mother (now 85) had never learned to swim as a child and so had lessons there too. She was terrified but Mrs Yates got her swimming and she enjoyed it from then on. It would be a great shame to lose such a historic building and such useful and quirky facilities. I am sure they can attract visitors for lots of different functions for it to be kept and used for future generations.” – Karen
“I learned to swim in Moseley Road baths in about 1963. I was a comparatively late learner – I must have been about 12 at the time. My school swimming teacher had been towing me across the pool in Stourbridge for a couple of years without my learning to swim a single stroke. Finally my mother decided to take things into her own hands and hauled me off to Moseley Road for a summer holiday swimming course. I remember that the instructor, Mr Eggington, had a different teaching technique. Gone was the looped tow-rope around my chest. Instead I was given a float. I may also have had arm bands, but I don’t remember. With a float I had to work for myself to get across the pool. The important thing is that it worked, and by the time I went back to school after the summer holiday I could swim.” –Jonathan
“Grew up swimming here and love to return because they are uniquely beautiful.” – Sarah
“In the early 60s, I remember using the pool and the bathtubs; queuing to use the tubs was quite an experience.” – Lloyd
“I learned to swim here in the early 1960s. My teacher was Mrs Yates. I will never forget my first width and the film of water that I swam beneath as Mrs Yates shouted encouragement from the side, nor the huge hook that she used to fish us out with when we were in the deep end, nor the wonderful smell of the entrance hall, nor the hula hoops that I was given as a treat after a lesson. Recently I returned for a swim. This time I noticed the beautiful tiling up the stairs, the incredible booth at the entrance and the wonderful architecture both inside and out. This building and its use must be preserved. Both are too important to be lost.” – Lewis
“I learnt how to swim at Moseley! I was a late learner due to a bad experience at another swimming baths. I started at Moseley with my new school in year 6. It was a fantastic experience and was able to gain my 10 meter badge which a huge achievement for me. I was extremely shy and anxious and I felt incredibly proud. A wonderful baths.” – Kate
“I’m 63 now and live in Cornwall, but I still clearly remember my first swim at Moseley Rd baths – I was about 5 years old and went there in the school holidays with my big brother and swimming ring. It was the beginning of my love of swimming. I was so proud and excited when I swam my first length and gained my Free Pass! From then on I was an almost daily visitor to the baths – and often to the library next door too. I had an unhappy childhood but in that sea of unhappiness was what I considered an island of joy – that island was made up of the baths, the library and Moseley Rd Methodist Church which was opposite the baths. Each of these offered me a wonderful escape from my unhappy home life…I am hoping that the baths will still be open by next May so that I can come and swim in that place where I swam almost daily.” – Elizabeth
“My dad taught me to swim at Tiverton Road baths. I doubt they now exist, but I am still enjoying swimming at the age of 72! Keep up the good work at Moseley Road! X” – Linda
“I have always loved Moseley Road Baths. We had our school swimming Gala there every year. I loved to swim, but also the baths were a total sensory treat. The smell, a mixture of heat, chlorine and brass polish. I can hear the echoing sound of it now and see the brilliant Victorian balconies, the cubicles around the sides with the big heated pipes under the bench seats and the wooden slatted duck boards. All so cozy and amazingly clean… In the evenings, if I was going out straight from work, I would use the Public Baths. Sounds a bit yucky and very Municipal. Not so, again a real treat. The same burnished pipes and the bath in its own cubicle run in by a member of staff, like Royalty. So clean, so warm and safe with wonderful (to me at least) friction towels, warm and spotless. Last, but not least , the staff. Friendly, sensible, hard working and proud of what they did. Don’t forget the series ‘ Gangsters ‘ based in Brum they often used the baths as a location, a meeting place for the Bad guys. I feel so sad when I drive past now and am made up to think that it could be restored. Brilliant!” – Shelagh
“I learned to swim at Moseley Road Baths, and at 67 years of age I still have my certificate for swimming “one width”.” – David
“I started to swim at Moseley Road Swimming Baths in the 60s. I actually had lessons when I was around 9 years old in 1963. I progressed and joined swimming classes with a formidable lady known as Mrs Yates (or Yeats). She was an excellent swimming teacher/coach who knew how to get the best out of the children in her classes. The pool was surrounded by cubicles around the edge of the pool. As one class ended the next had to be changed and ready to start. Late comers got a brief but effective ‘get a move on’. Joining her classes was difficult as you had to prove that you were worthy and that you had potential. If you were and you were prepared to work hard she would take you on.” – John
“Hi, I have very fond memories of Moseley Baths in the 1970s and early 80s. We all learnt to swim there and I remember being incredibly impressed with the grandeur of the building and feeling very proud of the Birmingham crest on the front with all the images of the different trades. I remember my Mum’s friends Aunty Pam and Aunty Pauline taking us swimming and teaching us to swim with our heads held high so we wouldn’t “mess up our hair.” Aunty Pam, in particular, always had her hair set every week so anyone who accidentally splashed her hair was in trouble! Happy times.” – Debbie
“I learned to swim 65 years ago taught by Mr Eggison in the second class pool. It must have stuck as I still do swimming training with the Worcester Triathlon Club. Later as a pupil at Moseley Grammar school I went regularly to training sessions, again in the Second Class Pool on Friday after school. The school had its annual swimming gala in the main pool.
Later as a trainee teacher I accompanied crocodiles of children from Percy Shurmer Primary School, walking up to the baths to swim and learn to swim.” – Charlie
EXCELLENT NEWS! Crowdfunder informed us earlier today that a last minute backer has come forward to offer some match funding to our campaign. We are in the process of finding out more and will of course share with you in due course!
This means the Crowdfunder page will be open for donations until 6th December to allow everything to be put in place. So, for the 313 of you have already donated – THANK YOU. At the time of writing we are a stone’s throw away from the £17,000 mark, which is frankly a little mindblowing. If you have yet to donate, or if you know people who value the building then there is still time to make a contribution. It has the double whammy of raising important funds and demonstrating just how much support there is to keep this important and valued building open for all to enjoy its waters.
We are completely overwhelmed by the support of each and every one of you who has generously contributed to the Moseley Road Baths Crowdfunder! We hit our target of £13,552 with five days to go before our fundraiser comes to an end.
— FriendsofMRB (@MoseleyRdBaths) November 17, 2017
However, not ones to rest on our laurels, we are pushing to see if we can bump it up to £17,500 by 3:44pm on Wednesday 22nd November. Can we stretch the target to help us meet more of the running costs for the first year? There’s the costs of general maintenance helping keeping everything in working order that needs to be met; we would also like to raise more funds to cover those ‘rainy days’ – those unexpected bills that just might happen.
It’s a tough ask, but we know the passion of our supporters – and we also know that there are still so many people that we haven’t yet managed to reach. Can you help spread the word? Remember, we have until Wednesday afternoon to get all of the funds in – so if you have collected money offline you will need to add that too!