Over the years loads of people have been inspired enough by the architecture of Moseley Road Baths to use it as the backdrop to televised drama. We are aware of a lovely film about an elderly couple reliving their courtship called ‘The Pool’, a BBC adaptation of DH Lawrence’s ‘The Rainbow’ from the 1980s and an episode of Dalziel and Pascoe, that sees Norman Wisdom collapse in the Slipper Baths.
This clip from 1976 is from ‘Gangsters’ which is ‘set in the multi-cultural criminal community of Birmingham’. Ah, even our criminal underworld is multi-cultural. I can say categorically that the staff at Moseley Road Baths would never have allowed someone with such a dodgy walk to go onto the poolside, never mind allow them into the cubicles with a sword… Watch from 4:33.
and then look out for the very powerful broom from 1:30.
Moseley Road Baths has always been a real inspiration to people doing creative, exciting things. A couple of weeks ago editorialgirl took a tour of the building and took this wonderful selection of photos, which complement her previous collection from 2009’s Flickrmeet for local photographers which we featured on here at the time.
We’re wanting to hear from others who have been involved in arts events at the Baths:
Have you ever organised an art event at Moseley Road Baths? Have you ever taken part in one, or just attended? If so, then The Friends of Moseley Road Baths would love to hear from you. As part of our Pool of Memories History Project we’re researching all aspects of the building’s 105-year history. So if it was an art show, a video shoot, fashion show, play, exhibition, TV appearance, or anything else then we’d love to hear from you. Maybe you were at Immerse, Swimming Without Water, saw Stan’s Cafe’s show, or maybe you have a copy of the Gangsters episode which included the baths, or the Dalzeil and Pascoe show that featured Norman Wisdom! If you think you might be able to help, memories or memorabilia (posters, tickets etc), then do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
Thanks so much to everyone who came to the launch of Margaret Braithwaite’s exhibition of oil paintings of Moseley Road Baths. It was clear from the event how passionate people are about the building and what fond memories they have of swimming there. The exhibition is on at the beautiful Birmingham and Midland Institute on Margaret Street for the next couple of weeks.
Jen and I went onto Carl Chinn’s show on Radio WM yesterday to discuss the exhibition and some of the work we’re currently doing through the Pool of Memories project. You can listen again on the BBC iPlayer until the 13th February at http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/p00dtv0m/, we are on from 47:20 for about 10 minutes.
We’re very pleased to announce that a very talented group of artists have successfully been granted Arts Council funding for an art project, called ‘Swimming Without Water’ at Moseley Road Baths, in our very own Gala Pool!
The group are anxious to make use of the space, raising awareness of that part of the building and showcasing their own work against the backdrop of the gorgeous Edwardian Pool. Artists Flora Gare, Debbie Akam and Tim Skinner will be working in the Baths and within the local community to create their work. More information on the project will soon appear on their website – http://swimmingwithoutwater.org/
We’ll be keeping you updated on the project. Exciting times!