Founded in April 2000 the Gay Swim Group, Moseley Shoals, has gone from strength to strength and is now one of the biggest gay sports clubs in the UK. As well a providing a space to ‘splash and chat’, the exclusively LGB club is open to swimmers of all abilities and offers the opportunity for swim coaching and competition standard swimming.
Affiliated to the Gay Outdoor Club and supported by Birmingham Pride they ensure that there are plenty of opportunities to socialise as well as swim, with the chance to head to the pub after sessions, as well as the occasional BBQ, picnic and even holiday.
The group began when staff at Moseley Road Baths encouraged the group to hire the pool for swim sessions. Staff also encouraged two of the group to take the lifeguard course and qualify. They are celebrating their tenth anniversary in Hamburg this year (where a previous member now lives and has joined their local LGB Swim Group – who are hosting a swim tournament). In the past ten years they have attracted members from all over the Midlands, and the world.
Recently the group have linked up with the SHOUT festival which has helped with some Sport England money to introduce coaching on the first Wednesday of the month and water polo on the other Wednesdays. This has been made possible with the support of the Birmingham LGBT Community Trust. Please contact the Baths in advance on 0121 464 0150 to check that these sessions are taking place.
They currently hold three swim sessions a week at Moseley Road Baths. These are:
Mondays and Wednesdays: 8:00-9:00pm
Sessions cost £4.00, and swimmers of all abilities are welcome, although non-swimmers should check that there is a coach available before their visit.
For more information see the Moseley Shoals website at www.moseleyshoals.org.uk
If your swimming group meets, or used to meet at Moseley Road Baths please get in touch, we want to hear from you!
Every so often a newsletter pops through my door from the lovely people at Manchester’s gorgeous Victoria Baths. The building, winner of the BBC’s 2003 ‘Restoration’ programme is a real jewel in the crown of British municipal architecture, and it’s always fantastic and inspiring to receive updates on their work.
In the last few years the Baths have been transformed from a derelict building to a busy heritage visitor attraction. Last year members of Friends of Moseley Road Baths were lucky enough to spend the day touring the building and witness the restoration ourselves. The visit was made particularly exciting as the facade of the whole building had recently been completely restored to its former glory, complete with lovely wrought iron fencing, cleaned up terracotta and beautifully restored stained glass windows. The care and attention given to each little detail is staggering. It’s well worth having a look at their website to find out how such an immense amount of work has been successfully achieved.
Even if you can’t make the journey up to Manchester yourselves for one of the many open days or arts events that are now taking place there, the chances are that you will have already seen the building without being aware of it. Amongst other hit TV shows, various parts of the building were used to film the 70s spoof cop show ‘Life on Mars’ and more recently it has formed the backdrop to ‘Casualty 1909’.
Manchester’s Victoria Baths really shows how relevant and exciting our community buildings can be. Great efforts have been made to get the community through the doors, to collect oral histories and to maintain the integrity of the building. However, that’s not to say that it’s been an easy ride – all of the people who have worked so hard to get to this stage are to be commended. Well done, and all the best for the next stages of restoration!
Last Sunday around 200 local residents and pool users turned out at Coseley near Wolverhampton in the wind and rain, determined to stop the councils plans to demolish their pool.
The building is already shut up and only the presence of a protected species of bat! is stopping the bulldozers moving in. Local MP’s and Councillors spoke at the meeting, and I confirmed the support of Friends of Moseley Road Baths for their campaign. A protest is planned at their next full council meeting.
See Birmingham Mail article: http://www.birminghammail.net/news/birmingham-news/2009/11/23/protesters-demonstrate-against-plan-to-bulldoze-coseley-baths-97319-25231181/
See also Save Coseley Baths on Facebook
Community Pools First!
There will be a protest outside Coseley Baths on Sunday 22nd November at 11am. The pool is due to be demolished – another community pool gone. The address for the Baths is Peartree Lane Coseley – postcode is WV14 8HA, there are 3 Peartree lanes in the Black Country so make sure you go to the right one! It is near Coseley Station.
For more information please have a look at the following film about the Coseley Baths campaign; the music was composed for the campaign. You can also join their Facebook Group page here.