Securing a future for Moseley Road Baths
Moseley Road Baths is one of Birmingham's most important heritage buildings and the only Grade II* baths predating 1914 that are still in use. Find out how the National Trust’s Innovation and Partnership Team (IPT) joined a coalition to look into a sustainable future for the site after it was threatened with closure, and what the plan has achieved.
A unique venue at risk
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 pool.
For many years the Baths were under threat of closure. Faced with the potential loss of a cherished community facility, local people campaigned to keep their pool open.
So significant is the site that the ‘Friends of Moseley Road Baths’ secured the interest of the World Monuments Fund, who added the building to a biennial selection of at-risk cultural heritage sites combining great historical significance with contemporary social impact.
A coalition assembles to help save the site
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, the World Monuments Fund, and the National Trust.
We have been working together to keep swimming going at the Baths and introduce a range of new leisure, wellbeing and cultural uses for the Edwardian venue. So far the coalition has contributed over £2.5m of expertise and funding.
The coalition’s work at the Baths
Historic England kicked off the first phase of capital work with a major grant to restore the Gala Pool roof with matched funding from Birmingham City Council; the World Monuments Fund supported works to the façade of the building; the National Trust developed a long-term sustainable plan for the site; and finally Moseley Road Baths CIO focused on the swimming needs of the local community, all with significant support from a committed group of local volunteers.
Looking ahead - work still to do
Collectively, we have made important first 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 restore the whole building and bring it fully back to life.
The work of the coalition and community continues.
The Innovation and Partnership Team (IPT) offers a full range of consultancy services as well as scoping and development of bespoke projects. Find out more about who we are and what we do.
Discover some of the consultancy projects the Innovation and Partnership Team (IPT) has worked on over the last 10 years, including a Derbyshire castle and a Manchester park.