The spectacular Moseley Road Baths, in Balsall Heath, is a building of national importance. It is the oldest of only three Grade II* Listed swimming pools currently operating inBritain (there are only seven national examples!). Built in 1907 it contains rare and unique features including:
· The only complete set of pre-war private ‘slipper’ baths
· Possibly the only surviving steam-heated drying racks in a British swimming baths
· Upper storey balconettes in its three-sided spectator gallery.
In October 2004 the entire building was temporarily closed for £1m emergency repair works. Pool 2 re-opened in October 2005, however Pool 1 remains closed. The baths were closed again for 15 months from December 2010 for more urgent repairs but Pool 2 is now open again for bathing. The building is currently on English Heritage’s ‘Buildings at Risk’ register.
There is considerable public support to keep the baths open and operating. Friends of the Baths have been campaigning for a number of years and have had a successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid to capture the social history of the baths. Birmingham City Council had set aside a few million to be used as match funding for a major £8m Heritage Lottery Fund bid to tackle the external repairs and improvements to Pool 2.
Working alongside the Constituency team, Acivico and conservation architects Rodney Melville’s and Sons, Birmingham Conservation Trust were commissioned to work on the long term plans and activities for the first stage Heritage Lottery Bid, due for submission in 2012. Unfortunately, the council decided not to submit the bid as proposed. For more about the continuing campaign to save this building for swimming visit http://www.friendsofmrb.co.uk/
For more images, a virtual tour of the Baths and details of the Friends of Moseley Baths’s current oral history project visit http://www.friendsofmrb.co.uk