We have learnt from Pool staff that the scaffolding company are beginning to put scaffolding in the basement under Pool 2 this week. This work is estimated to take 5 weeks so it is anticipated that the building will reopen to the public for swimming at the end of January.
We’ve received this update from Cllr Mullaney about work to Moseley Road Baths. It seems that despite the work to get the building back up and running that determined thieves have been working equally hard to steal lead and copper from the roof. This is not only a case of stealing a bit of metal, it’s stealing our heritage and could potentially rob the entire community of the facility. Please do look at the photos we’ve linked to, it’s truly galling.
Needless to say, if you hear or see anything then please shout up… anyhow, onto the update, copied from Cllr Mullaney’s blog.
There is good news and bad news with regards the re-opening of Moseley Road baths in mid to late January 2012.
For some background, my last blog update was on 1st November and can be seen at http://martinmullaney.blogspot.com/2011/11/update-on-moseley-road-baths-1-st.html
The good news is that we are still on target to re-open the swimming baths in mid to late January 2012. The company removing the asbestos in the basement, finished on Friday 18th November. There will now be two days of inspection and air testing for asbestos and if this is successful, work will begin on installing the permanent scaffolding in the basement – this will take 6 weeks to complete.
The bad news is that the roof of the baths is being visited by metal thieves on a nightly basis. I attach photos (links here, here, here and here) showing the damage they are causing, but as you can see they are doing the following:
a) Stealing the lead flashing, which in turn will introduce large leaks into the roof infrastructure, causing more rot
b) Displacing roof slates or putting their foot through roof sections, as they remove the lead flashing, which in turn is creating more roof leaks.
c) Trying to remove the cooper lightning conductor at the base of the boiler house chimney. If they succeed is doing this, this could be catastrophic, since the chimney would explode if hit by a lighting bolt.
Stopping the metal thieves is proving difficult, since they come with ladders and are prepared to clamber over the roofs, putting their own lives at risk, to get to the metal they want.
We have met with English Heritage who have given us permission to replace all lead flashing with a substitute material called ‘turncoat’ stainless steel. This material looks like lead after weathering, but has the advantage of being very difficult to remove. Lead is soft and rips – perfect for the metal thief. Stainless steel is stiff, can be nailed in place and has to cut by hacksaw.
With the £80,000 for ‘sticking plaster’ works we has successful received from corporate finance, we will be replacing all lead flashing.
With regards the Heritage Lottery bid, we are aiming to put the bid in, in April 2012. However, I’m in discussions with Corporate Finance to understand what level of match funding the Council are willing to offer – this is a pre-requirement for any HLF submission.
Pupils at Park Hill School have been working hard over the past few weeks with Rachel Gillies – Community Film Maker to create two short oral history films about Moseley Road Baths. The project has involved the group researching the history of the building, learning how to use film equipment and how to conduct oral history interviews. The group then divided into two film crews to film and interview two members of the public who had very fond memories of the Baths, particularly swimming there with their children.
The project started off with a fun look at the building using the Virtual Tour website, which allowed the group to look at parts of the building usually closed off to the public. Through the site we were able to watch films of the laundry room, wander onto the roof and explore the Slipper Baths! The pupils had loads of questions not just about the building, but about the wider social history of Balsall Heath, making lots of connections between what was happening locally and what they know about 20th Century British History.
After learning how to use film and audio equipment, the two film crews did an excellent job of interviewing Marion and Fran, who both recall swimming regularly at the building. Fran told us about swimming regularly when she was pregnant and how much she enjoys swimming with her children now they are older. Marion praised the pool’s excellent swimming lessons – both school lessons and the ‘Strokes’ programme. She told the group how important it was to learn to swim and how staff at the Baths have helped her learn to swim as an adult.
The films were screened at our recent Pool of Memories Art Exhibition. However, on Tuesday pupils did a proper Premiere of the films in front of almost 120 classmates from Year 4 and Year 5. The group presented the films and explained what they had learnt over the course of the project, before going on to answer questions from the floor. They will now be given their own copies of the DVD and certificates to reward them for their hard work! The films will be added to our archive and will be appearing on the Pool of Memories website shortly! Thanks to all pupils and to staff at Park Hill School for being so accommodating!
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!
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!
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!
Update from Cllr Martin Mullaney – it seems that the Baths may be due to reopen in January after all, despite a letter from Cllr Mullaney dated 18th October where the date for reopening was put at the end of February 2012! Images of the work being done on the Baths plus notes can be viewed here, here and here.
Update on Moseley Road baths –1st November 2011
I attended a meeting this morning with the contractors who are presently working on re-opening Moseley Road baths. The good news is that we are still on target to re-open the swimming baths in mid to late January 2012.
In addition I successfully managed to persuade the Finance department to fund an addition £195,000 of work on the baths – more details on this in a bit
My last blog update was on 29th September and can be seen at http://martinmullaney.blogspot.com/2011/09/update-on-moseley-road-baths-29-th.html
The contractors moved onto site on 17th October and are on target to remove all the asbestos from the basement, from 25th November.
From 25th November, work will begin on installing the permanent structural scaffolding in the basement which will replace heavily corroded temporary scaffolding which is holding up large sections of the floor plate of the building. This work will take six weeks to complete. Taking into account the Christmas break, we anticipate work finishing mid-January and the baths re-opening.
The fire exit door from pool 2, which caused the closure of the pool last Christmas is now fully repaired.
The £195,000 additional funding for the baths, is broken down as follows:
£65,000 to install the permanent scaffolding in the basement from 25th November onwards
£50,000 to prepare a Heritage Lottery bid for just over £5million for phase one of the works to restore these baths. Our objective for phase 1 is to stabilise the condition of the building, so that it is no longer deteriating. This would include remove the dry rot from the first floor and fixing any leaks in the roof.
£80,000 for ‘sticking plaster’ works to get the swimming baths through the next two years, in preparation for any restoration monies. We are arranging a meeting with English Heritage and our Conservation Officers in two weeks time to walk around the building and roof. What we want to do is plug up any roof leaks on pool 2, remove any vegetation growing out of brick work and install temporary plastic rainwater pipes where the original cast iron ones have vanished. Plus lead has been recently stolen from the roof, which will also need replacing.
We have received an update on the work currently being done at Moseley Road Baths from Cllr Martin Mullaney. His letter addressed to our group puts the new date for completing work to remove asbestos in the basement, environmentally clean the area and erect new scaffolding at the end of February 2012.
Work to remove the asbestos started on 17th October – we reported that asbestos had been found on 25th August.
There is, however, some possible good news as Birmingham City Council is planning to make a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a first phase of work to improve the building. This is likely to be structural work to maintain the building.
The Friends of Moseley Road Baths and local swimmers highlighted back at the start of the summer holidays on a ‘We Want to Swim’ demo that the extended closure of the building (it originally closed for ‘5 weeks’ in December 2010 and has to date been closed over 10 months) meant that local children were missing the opportunity to go swimming, or even learn to swim in the first place. With neighbouring Sparkhill Baths permanently closed and other pools in the South of the city either busy or too far away, it’s really crucial that the building reopens as soon as is feasible.
We urge our supporters to keep in touch with local councillors and council officers to keep the pressure on – particularly with a local by-election coming up on 10th November and important local elections next May.
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!Today 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!
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!
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.
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.
Here is Cllr Mullaney’s latest update on work to the Baths, dated 29th September.
I attended a meeting this afternoon with the contractors who will shortly start working on re-opening Moseley Road baths. The good news is that we are still on target to re-open the swimming baths in mid-January 2012.
My last blog update was on 25th August and can be seen at http://martinmullaney.blogspot.com/2011/08/update-on-moseley-road-baths-25th.html
The contractors will move onto site on 17th October and spend six weeks removing all asbestos from the basement. End date is 25th November.
From 25th November, work will begin on installing the permanent structural scaffolding in the basement which will replace heavily corroded temporary scaffolding which is holding up large sections of the floor plate of the building. This work will take six weeks to complete. Taking into account the Christmas break, we anticipate work finishes mid-January and the baths re-opening.
On top of this work, I have successfully bid for money from the Council’s corporate centre to do the following:
£50,000 to prepare a Heritage Lottery bid for just over £5million for phase one of the works to restore these baths.
£80,000 for ‘sticking plaster’ works to get the swimming baths through the next two years, in preparation for any restoration monies. The ‘sticking plaster’ works have still to be finalised, but we hope these will include minor roof repair works, installation of missing rainwater guttering and a boiler service.