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Save Moseley Road Baths

Kath | 25.04.2007 19:29 | Social Struggles | Birmingham

Moseley Road baths in Balsall Heath will be 100 years old on October 30th this year. They were given to the residents of Balsall Heath along with a library in return for the people’s agreement to become part of the City of Birmingham. They are a fine example of how important public baths were at that time, indeed for many they were more than just a place to swim, they had baths to wash in. The Baths housed a first class and a second class men’s pool and lots of cast iron slipper baths for people to bathe in, women in those days did not swim!

However the Baths now needs friends and as many friends as it can get. Swimming baths all over the country are under threat and Birmingham City Council are no different in the quest to save money at the expense of our public services, they have already closed down numerous swimming baths.

This is why a number of concerned local residents decided to have a go at setting up a Friends of Moseley Road Baths. FOMRB kicked off with a public meeting in November 2006 and has grown from strength to strength. Activities have include establishing a presence on myspace, a bit of media work, organised public tours of the baths and had a lot more meetings. The campaign aims are to:

• Reopen and maintain both pools at Moseley Road baths as we believe that two pools are essential to meet the needs of the local and wider community.

• Keep the swimming baths as a publicly owned facility for the people of Birmingham

• Preserve historic and architectural aspects of the building whilst finding use for currently unused areas of the building

We want to get our message to the council and local decision makers. We would like to get an oral history project off the ground involving some of the thousands, if not more, people who over the years have learnt to swim, taken exercise, gone to a new year’s ball or just had a bath in that building. We hope to be able to join with the council and others in formulating plans for the future expansion of leisure facilities on the site, the first aim of which will be to reopen pool 1 for public swimming and hire. This would enable far more schools to use the baths as well as more opportunities for women only sessions and private hire by clubs and societies. Oh and of course it would be nice if the City could announce some plans as to how it is going to publicise the centenary of the Baths later in the year.

As part of the raising awareness of the plight of the baths and to raise some funds to help us in our campaign we are holding an Afternoon Concert and Dance on Saturday 28th April at the Medicine Bar 3pm till 8pm. Featuring PRAM, POPPY AND THE JEZEBELS, PAPERWORK INDUSTRY, and SILVER DOLLAR. Entrance is £5 and a save the baths party finishes off the evening at the Carpenters Arms in Digbeth 8pm – late featuring Silver Dollar.

Join Friends of Moseley Road Baths,
61 Eastwood Rd, B12 9NA. Email
Tel: 07806 557509

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