We went along to the opening day at Stirchley Baths on 3rd September 2011 – the last day that the building opened to the public before its conversion to a community centre later this year. The event saw queues out the door and round the building – about 600 people donned hard hats and looked round the building over the course of the day. Many people also had memories about swimming at Moseley Road Baths!
The baths have sadly been closed for swimming for 23 years; yet another pool that has fallen into a perilous state of disrepair and been ignored for decades. We felt a huge sadness going round what was once a vibrant and well used community facility. Let’s hope that we never see Moseley Road Baths in such a desperate state. I hope that these photos act as a catalyst to those within the Council who can decide Moseley Road Baths’ fate that we should never allow such a thing to happen here in Balsall Heath.
As Stirchley Baths prepares to open its doors one last time before the building’s conversion into a community centre, local historian and member of Friends of Moseley Road Baths Steve Beauchampé looks back at the Baths’ history.
Saturday, September 3rd affords what is expected to be the last opportunity for the public to see inside the 100-year old Bournville Lane Baths. Located on the corner of Bournville Lane and Hazelwood Road in Stirchley, work is expected to commence early in 2012 to convert the building into a community centre as part of a financial deal linked to the development of a new Tesco store in Stirchley. The Baths, which closed on March 1st 1988 and which have lain derelict for several years, slowly ravaged by the weather and wildlife, will be open between 11:00am-3:00pm.
Designed by architect John P. Osborne, Stirchley Baths (as they were originally called) cost approximately £10,000 and were built by E. Crowder of Farm Street, Birmingham on land gifted to the Kings Norton and Northfield Urban District Council by Cadbury Brothers Ltd. At 4pm on July 19th 1910 William Cadbury laid the Foundation Stone and the following July George Cadbury Junior formally opened the building, which is now listed Grade II.
Along with Aston and Handsworth, on November 9th 1911 Kings Norton was annexed as part of the Birmingham Extension Order. From this date the facility was known as Bournville Lane Baths. There was a single swimming pool (75ft x 30ft) with spectator gallery, demountable dressing cubicles, 20 private washing (or ‘slipper’) baths for men and women and a small steam (or Vapour) bath, capable of holding six people. There was also a small laundry.
With its distinctive curved single-storey frontage, Bournville Lane Baths was the first of the city’s baths to be connected to the mains water supply and were fitted with a modern circulation and filtration system supplied by Riley’s of Irlam. Located just a few hundred yards from the impressive – and also long decommissioned – Girls’ Baths at Cadburys’, the facility was developed in conjunction with the adjacent public library, while a Friend’s Meeting Hall sits directly behind.
As part of Saturday’s open day members of the public will be invited to become a ‘Friend of Stirchley Baths’, a new group dedicated to ensuring, ‘that the building serves the people of Stirchley for the next 100 years’.
This just in from a member of the group – more details to follow as we get them!
‘Found out that there will be a last chance to see around inside Stirchley Baths (closed 25 years ago) on Saturday 3rd September between 11 and 3. Council have sold site and other land around to Tesco. There will be a community centre inside the shell of the building (a bit like the Nechells model I suppose) but this is a chance to look at the old cubicles and tiling inside before they destroy it.
It doesn’t say you need to book but they are expecting a great deal of interest….’
More details on the Bournville News site – apparently last time over 80 people attended and had to queue round the block! Get there early!