Securing a future for Moseley Road Baths
We have joined a coalition which is exploring a sustainable future for Moseley Road Baths, one of Birmingham's most important heritage buildings and the only Grade II* baths that predate 1914 still in use.
As well as being the oldest of five Grade II* listed baths in the country still in use for public swimming, Moseley Road Baths contains some unique, original fixtures and fittings including a set of 46 private washing rooms (the slipper baths), original oak ticket offices and attendants' kiosks and a three sided spectator gallery with unique balconettes in the Gala or First Class pool.
Moseley Road Baths was, for many years, under threat of closure. Faced with the potential loss of a cherished community facility, local people campaigned to keep their pool open. So significant are the Baths that the Friends of Moseley Road Baths secured the interest of World Monuments Fund, who added the building to a biennial selection of at-risk cultural heritage sites that combine great historical significance with contemporary social impact. The Baths are also on Historic England’s national Heritage At Risk Register.
In 2017 a group of organisations came together to form a ‘coalition of the willing’ to work alongside Birmingham City Council (who owns the building) to reinvigorate the Baths with swimming at its heart. The Moseley Road Baths Coalition is made up of Birmingham City Council, the Moseley Road Baths CIO, the Friends of Moseley Road Baths, Historic England, National Trust and the World Monuments Fund. We are working together to keep swimming going and introduce a range of new leisure, wellbeing and cultural uses into the Edwardian masterpiece. So far the ‘coalition’ has contributed over £2.5m of expertise and funding.
Historic England kicked off the first phase of capital work with a major grant to restore the Gala Pool roof with match funding from Birmingham City Council; the World Monuments Fund is supporting works to the façade of the building; the National Trust has developed a sustainable, long-term plan for the Baths; and most importantly, Moseley Road Baths CIO is running a swimming offer in ‘pool two’ aimed at meeting the needs of the local community – all with significant support from a committed group of local volunteers.
Collectively, we have made important steps towards safeguarding the future of Moseley Road Baths, but there is still much work to do. A multi-million-pound capital repair programme is needed to repair and bring the whole building back to life. The work of the coalition and community continues. Watch this space…