Going Swimmingly

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A message about the Stirchley Baths restoration from Senior Site Manager Steve Marsh:

‘There’s been lots happening since [the recent restoration tours]. The traffic management that is in place in Bourneville Lane & Hazelwell St is to allow us to put up hoardings and scaffold the building from the footpath for brick and stone repairs. The corner of the building next to the library is now down and the giant boiler removed, the other big blue tank that was on the ground floor is also gone along with all of the old balconies from around the pool. Just out of interest the blue tank was a filtration system for the pool water and contained 23 tons of sand and gravel. As everyone can see we have scaffold the chimney and will be starting the repair’s this week, so plenty going on.’

There will be more updates in the coming months and further restoration tours will take place in due time. Watch this space!

 

Stirchley’s Fallen

The first World War began 28th July 1914 and ended 11th November 1918. More than 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians died.

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Opened by the Prince of Wales in June 1923, The Hall of Memory was built to commemorate the 12,320 Birmingham citizens who died and the 35,000 who were wounded in the First World War. Inside is the First World War and Second World War Roll of Honour.

The battle on land was played out in trench warfare and poison gas became one of the most-feared and best-remembered horrors of the war. Tanks were first used in combat by the British in 1916, with only partial success. However, their effectiveness would grow as the war progressed.

At sea Britain began a naval blockade of Germany. The strategy proved effective, cutting off vital military and civilian supplies. German U-boats attempted to cut the supply lines between North America and Britain.The nature of submarine warfare meant that attacks often came without warning, giving the crews of the merchant ships little hope of survival.

In the skies Germany employed zeppelins for reconnaissance over the North Sea and Baltic and also for bombing raids over England and the Eastern Front.

Ward at the University of Birmingham. (Photograph taken from www.birminghammail.co.uk)

Ward at the University of Birmingham. (Photograph taken from www.birminghammail.co.uk)

In 1909 it was decided buildings at the University of Birmingham were to be used as a 520- bed hospital, should war mobilisation ever be needed. The first convoy of 120 casualties arrived on September 1st 1914. In October 1915 annexes were created in nearby schools. To avoid confusion with the area of Selly Oak, Selly Park annex was renamed as the Stirchley annexe. It had 225 beds, with tented accommodation in the gardens for a further 320 each.

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As soon as troops were deployed overseas, Cadbury began producing ‘chocolate for the troops’. These gifts were distributed throughout the the war and in total 20,000 parcels were sent to the front, and to those who were wounded and recovering at home or in  hospital. Each box was packaged up with the message, ‘a present to our friends at the front, from the workpeople at Cadbury’s Bournville’. Many of these workers would have been local women, required to join the work force as men were conscripted. During this time, Cadbury had disbanded their bar on the employment of married women, meaning wives, daughters and mothers of Stirchley fighting men may have played a part.

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Conscription resulted in the calling up of nearly every physically fit man in Britain – six of ten million eligible. Of these, about 750,000 lost their lives and 1,700,000 were wounded. Of those soldiers that did return many suffered shell shock and even more kept silent about their experiences. Most deaths were to young unmarried men; however, 160,000  wives lost husbands and 300,000 children lost fathers.

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Below are the names and addresses of Stirchley men who fell in the Great War:

J IRVING
 Son of Thomas and Alice Irving, of 1620, Breedon Hill, Stirchley, Birmingham.



LEONARD GEORGE CHISWELL 
Son of Joseph and Phoebe Ellen Chiswell, of 45, Ribblesdale Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



SIDNEY GEORGE JONES
 Son of Thomas Henry and Mary Ann Jones, of Bournville, Birmingham; husband of Elsie Violet Jones, of 14, Victoria Road, Stirchley, Birmingham.

FORRESTER GREEN
 Father of Eveline Violet Green, of 1228, Pershore Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



ARTHUR THOMAS
 Son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, of 237, Cartland Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



HORACE WILLIAMS
 Son of C. and K. Williams, of 1319, Pershore Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



JOHN ROBERTS 
Husband of Martha Roberts, of 43, Victoria Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



WILLIAM WESLEY EDWARDS
 Son of Job and Florence Edwards, of 10, Ash Tree Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



BERNARD HAROLD PITCHER 
Son of Thomas and Ruth Pitcher, of 70, Charlotte Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham. His brother Carl Rudolph also fell.



THEODORE HEMMING
 Son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Hemming, of 22, Warren Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



HOWARD SILVANAS HAROLD HUGHES 
Son of Hugh Thomas and Ellen Hughes, of 2, Newland Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



CYRIL HARRY JOHNSON
 Husband of Mrs. C. M. Johnson, of 62, Beilly Rd., Fordhouse Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham.



ARTHUR JOHN DAFFIN
 Son of William and Amelia Elizabeth Daffin, of 3, Dorset Cottages, Ashtra Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



SYDNEY TWINE
 Son of Josiah and Amelia Twine, of Birmingham; husband of Laura Twine, of 1, Newlands Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



ARTHUR JAMES FRANKS
 Son of James Franks, of Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, Worcs.; husband of Lily Maud Franks, of 9, Norton Terrace, Warren Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



BRAITHET EUSTACE SIVITER 
Son of Thomas and Beatrice Siviter, of 41, Lea House Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



A ARCULUS
 Son of Thomas and Ellen Arculus; husband of Frances Eliza Arculus, of 45, Bond St., Stirchley, Birmingham.



CHARLES HENRY BANKS
 Son of Mr. and Mrs. Hry. Banks, of Pershore Rd. South, Stirchley, Birmingham; husband of Mabel E. Banks, of 8, Second Avenue, Selly Park, Birmingham.



JOHN WINZER HUTT 
Son of John Jephcott Hutt and Sarah Ann Hutt, of 42, Maryvale Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



C ELDER
 Son of Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Elder, of 21, Dog Pool Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham.



PHILIP GOODRICK GENDERS 
Son of Samuel and Annie Genders, of 239, Ford House Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham. Native of Northfield, Birmingham.


STUART McKENZIE BLOOMFIELD
 Son of Thomas and Clementina Bloomfield, of 49, Bournville Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham.



FRANK HENRY TAYLOR
 Son of Francis and Susan Emily Taylor, of 119, Pershore Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham. Born at Bromsgrove, Worcs.



WILLIAM HENRY WESTON
 Son of George Weston, of 35, Windsor Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham. Born at King’s Norton, Worcs.



HARRY BARR
 Son of Benjamin and Mary Ann Barr, of Birmingham; husband of Ethel Elizabeth Barr, of 80, Newlands Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



GEORGE DAVIS
 Son of Mrs. Maria Davis, of 21, Regent St., Stirchley, Birmingham. Native of Bearley, Stratford-on-Avon.



ALBERT HERBERT MIDDLETON 
Son of Albert and Alice Middleton, of 1555, Pershore Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



C E DERRINGTON
 Son of Mrs. Fanny Derrington, Back of 1324, Pershore Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



J C H V MALLETT
 Son of George and Louisa Mallett, of Tavistock; husband of Eliza Mallett, of 38, Oxford St., Stirchley, Birmingham.



CYRIL FINLAY KITCHEN
 Son of Edward and Rosina Kitchen, of go, Brent Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham. Born at Leafield, Witney, Oxon.



CHARLES JESSE DAVIS WELLS 
Son of the late Charles and Emma Wells; husband of Ruth Wells, of 50, Twyning Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham. Born at Cheltenham.



F CARTER
 Son of the late John and Susannaha Carter, of Hawkridge, Berkshire; husband of Elsie Carter, of 173, Cartland Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



JAMES BOLSTRIDGE
 Husband of Emily Bolstridge, of 42, Ripple Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



WILLIAM TULK 
Son of Arthur and Liza Tulk; husband of Edith Annie Dale (formerly Tulk), of 2, Ashbrook Grove, Stirchley, Birmingham. Born at Yardley.



WALTER WARD
 Son of Herbert and Martha Ward, of 25, Rowheath Rd., Cotteridge, King’s Norton, Birmingham; husband of F. E. Ward, of 2, Plymouth Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



HARRY PALMER
 Son of Charlotte Palmer, of 10, Regent St., Stirchley, Birmingham.



H STANTON
 Son of Albert and Rose Stanton, of 45, Windsor Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham. Born at Selly Park, Birmingham.



JAMES DAVIS
 Son of William and Maria Davis, of 21, Regent St., Stirchley, Birmingham.



L QUIGLEY
 Son of Thomas and Louisa Quigley, of 72, Charlotte Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



ALBERT EDWARD BUDD 
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Budd, of 116, Umberslade Rd., Selly Oak, Birmingham; husband of Gertrude A. Budd, of 50, Mary Vale Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



JOHN HAROLD DOWNING 
Son of John H. and Clara Downing, of 305, High St., Stirchley, Birmingham.



ERNEST HANDSCOMB 
Son of Ernest C. Handscomb and Nellie Handscomb, of 50, Ribblesdale Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham. Native of Birmingham.



S STEPHENS
 Husband of Catherine Stephens, of 1079, Pershore Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



WILLIAM QUIGLEY 
Son of Thomas and Louisa Quigley, of 72, Charlotte Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



FREDRICK A. BOX
 Son of Jesse and Rosina A. Box, of 59, Dogpool Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham. Native of Ladywood, Birmingham.


F PULLIN 
Son of Alfred and Harriet Pullin, of King’s Heath; husband of Gertrude Pullin, of 21, Bond St., Stirchley, Birmingham.



A SODEN
 Son of Mrs. E. Soden, of 78, Oxford St., Stirchley, Birmingham, and the late Mr. Soden.



FREDERICK WILLIAM WELLS 
Son of Mr. T. D. Wells, of 5, Norton Terrace, Warren Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



DOUGLAS NOEL EUGENE MASON 
Son of Abishai and Elizabeth Mason, of 1322, Pershore Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



JOSEPH ARTHUR RICHARDS
 Son of James and Anne Richards, of 45, Cartland Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham. Native of Shustoke. Birmingham.



CARL RUDOLPH PITCHER
 Son of Thomas and Ruth Pitcher, of 70, Charlotte Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



DANIEL WESTON BOULTON 
Husband of Mary S. Godding (formerly Boulton), of 51, Windsor Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham. Native of Lechlade, Glos.


ARTHUR WALDRON PROVERBS 
Son of Thomas and Harriet Jane Proverbs, of 28, Oxford St., Stirchley, Birmingham.



FREDERICK THOMAS HUTCHINS 
Son of Thomas Hutchins; husband of Caroline Hutchins, of 54, Twyning Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham. Born at Reigate, Surrey.



W RICH
 Son of Sydney and Annie Rich; husband of Ethel Rich, of 2, Victoria Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



W T ATKINS
 Son of William and Clara Atkins, of 8, Lea House Road, Stirchley, Birmingham.


HAROLD FREDERICK GOUGH 
Husband of Lily Gough, of 48, Newlands Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



JOSEPH BAMFORD
 Son of Mrs. Elizabeth Carrington, of 30, Bewdley Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



MARK BOLSTRIDGE 
Son of Samuel and Clara Bolstridge, of 42, Ripple Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



THOMAS HENRY BALLER
 Son of Henry Baller, of 69, Leahouse Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham; husband of Florrie Pritchard (formerly Baller), of 15, Laurel Rd., Cotteridge, King’s Norton, Birmingham.



WALTER WATSON
 Son of Elizabeth Watson, of Dog Pool Mills, Ten Acres, Birmingham, and the late William Watson; husband of May Watson, of 5, Twyning Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



WILLIAM HENRY BAGLEY HOBBS 
Son of Mrs. L. Hobbs, of 85, Dog Pool Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham.



FRANCIS HENRY HARTLES
 Son of John and Ellen Hartles, of Warrens Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham; husband of Margaret Fountain (formerly Hartles), 91, Pontefract Rd., Barnsley, Yorks.



THOMAS RICHARD JEYNES
 Son of Thomas and Elizabeth Jeynes, of 3, Ivy Rd., Stirchley; husband of Alice Jeynes, of 9, Ivy Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.

THOMAS PAYNE 
Son of the late Thomas and Jane Payne, of Woodgate, Quinton, Birmingham; husband of Lucy Florence Payne, of 30, Twyning Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



JAMES WILLIAM ROSE
 Son of William and Caroline Rose, of 1161, Pershore Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



THOMAS REYNOLDS
 Son of Mrs. Sarah Ann Reynolds, of 80, Windsor Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



ALFRED WILLIAM ERNEST SMITH 
Son of Mrs. R. E. Smith, of 242, Fordhouse Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham.



ELI NASH
 Son of Eli and Elizabeth Nash, of 55, Bournville Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham.



H P PITTAWAY 
Son of Mrs. Stoker (formerly Pittaway), of 21, Hunts Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



CYRIL SMITH
 Son of John and Rosina Smith, of 37, Twyning Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



GEORGE PERCY BOX 
Son of Jesse and Rose Box, of 54, Dogpool Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham; husband of Lily Box, of 57, Queen St., Sparkbrook, Birmingham.



HENRY ALFRED GOODMAN 
Son of Mrs. Goodman, of 9, Ivy Rd., Stirchley, Birmingham.



You can access more information here.

 

A tour of Stirchley Baths. July 2014

Local groups in Stirchley were invited to see how renovation work is progressing inside Stirchley Baths.

Although in its early stages, the work undertaken so far is:

The removal of asbestos,  making the building safe structurally, so that work can be carried out.

The removal of the roof to enable access to a crane, which arrived just before our visit, and the erection of internal scaffolding.

The Video below shows the state of the baths internally and magnitude of the work that needs to be carried out.

Video by Jess Allen

 

A Peep Behind the Scenes

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Yesterday Sirchley Neighbourhood Forum, Friends of Stirchley Park, Stirchley HappeningsBirmingham City Council and I were given a tour of Stirchley Baths.

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Site manager Steve Marsh, explained how the large pool will be preserved but covered so it can be used as a main hall for sports or social events. This is similar to when boards were put down, to provide a temporary venue for dancing in the 1950s. The pool is 3ft at the shallow end and 6ft at the deep end and there will be a peephole so that the bottom of the pool is still visible. Although at present changing cubicles from this hall have been removed, some will be restored and returned.

Some of the steel on site will need replacing and this room will eventually become a kitchen area.

Some of the steel on site will need replacing and this room will eventually become a kitchen area.

The site manage, Steve is convinced the chlorine tank was included in a refurbishment that took place in the 60s/70s.

The site manager, Steve is convinced the chlorine tank was included in a refurbishment that took place in the 60s/70s.

This room will eventually be used as a small cinema. Community film nights should be a regular event. The tiles will be restored in this room and throughout the site where possible. Tiles will be sourced in situations where they're too damaged.

This room will eventually be used as a small cinema. Community film nights should be a regular event. The tiles will be restored in this room and throughout the site where possible. Tiles will be sourced in situations where they’re too damaged.

As you can see from the pipe lines on the walls, the second room once housed slipper baths and will be converted into an office. Rented units such as these will provide the community centre with a sustainable income.

As you can see from the pipe lines on the walls, this room once housed slipper baths and will be converted into an office. Rented units such as these will provide the community centre with a sustainable income.

The foyer was where people would pay to use the pool and baths.

The foyer was where people would pay to use the pool and baths.

The timber will be rescued so that this reception area retains it's authenticity.

The timber will be rescued so that this reception area retains it’s authenticity.

The enormous boiler will be chopped into pieces to make it possible to remove it from site. The basement is filled with Roman-like channels, for water from the baths and rain water to circulate. I eventually got my bearings when I could hear the clunk of the drain cover motorists drive over outside the co-op on Hazelwell Street.

 The boilerThe Basement

Thank you to Karen Cheney for arranging the tour. There will be more opportunities for residents to take a look at the work in progress at the baths in upcoming months.

‘Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.’ – L.M. Montgomery

I volunteer for a Birmingham charity, who provide assistance for people returning home after a period in hospital. A couple of months ago, through my work with them I had the fortune to meet a a 91 year old man who for most of his life has lived in Stirchley. With the heritage interpretation aspect of Stirchley Baths in mind, I asked him if he would allow me to conduct an oral history interview. Although he wished to remain anonymous he kindly accepted.

He was born on Newlands Road in 1923 and grew up there with his parents and two older sisters. He remembers ‘You could look from my mother’s front room window, across the fields right up into Cartland Road. What came up was horse and cart mostly. Baker used to come up with horse and cart and err green grocer and coal man.’

 

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He went to school at Stirchley Elementary and remembers the boys school being on Pershore Road and the Girls at the back on Charlotte Road. He didn’t particularly enjoy school but even worse was to come with his first job at the age of fourteen. His mother saw an advertisement in a local Birmingham newspaper for a position in a insurance office, based at the Midland Bank on Bennett’s Hill:

‘I went for the interview, got the job. Ooh and I hated it to start with. It was like umm, like these plays like the old Scrooge in the ‘Christmas Carol’. It was an office with high stools and sloping desks and it was in semi-basement. So the level of the desk come with the level of the window sill, which was thick frosted glass because the bottom of that came out with the pavement and all you could see was like shadows going backwards and forwards past it. Err, I didn’t like that at all.’

 

Growing up when Stirchley was still a thriving village filled with independent shops and at the height of TASCOS he recalls:

‘Infact you didn’t need to go anywhere else. Even Christmas shopping we used to do all up there. We didn’t seem to go to town much.’

‘My mother used to love hats. She never went out without a hat on. Err there used to be a shop right at the beginning of Stirchley and the woman who owned it, who ran it, I remember her name was Dorothy Vincent. And whenever she was in the shop window or anything and me mother went passed she always used to knock the window and call her in and say “I’ve had some just what’d suit you” some hats.’

He fondly remembers local family businesses, such as Kealing’s Fruit store on the corner of Pershore Road and Hunts Road:

‘Mrs Kealing, ooh everso old. She used to stand with a hat on and a shawl and tie it like that! In all the bitter weather cos it was right on that corner and the shops open on two sides. It would be perishing cold and you’d see her standing there waiting for customers.’

 

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At the age of nineteen in 1942 he went to France to fight in WWII. He remembers vividly the rough sea as he travelled by boat across the channel. Years later he returned to Britain, married and had two daughters. He remembers traveling to work from Stirchley to the city by tram at the age of twenty four:

“We used to go on the tram to start with cos I’d run many a times, left arm on the pole while tram’s been going. And the fare then used to be err what was it, tuppence halfpenny single or fourpence return ticket on the tram.’

Although growing up his family opted to use their tin bath each Friday evening, everyone taking their turn, he has memories of others using Stirchley Baths:

‘Used to be busier Friday night when you’d have people with the towels and their bags going there for their ordinary baths like you know. When you come past there the drains were always puffing out steam as the hot water was being run out and run in for the next person.’

When asked about Stirchley cinemas and the yearly carnival he paints a vivid picture of the excitement of pre-television life:

‘Eventually the Stirchley Pavilion was built and opened. ‘Course that was very plush compared with the other place.’ ‘Saturday night you’d be queueing outside, waiting for someone to come out so they could let you in.’ ‘Proper entertainment gettaway. Fantasy land.’

‘Once a year there was was big patch of wasteland at the bottom on Hunts Road comes down to where the River Rea is. And there used to be Pat Collins fair used to come on that with swings and roundabout. That used to be a highlight for us.’

‘They used to have err like these jazz bands. Think the one there they called the Blue Velvetiers. Used to be blue and that and girl at the front throwing baton up and catching it.’

 

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I’ll leave you with a final childhood memory:

‘We used to come down Bournville Lane or go to Bournville Lane on a Friday night with a jug and there used to be like a little cooked meat shop a little way in and we used to buy faggots from there and gravy in the jug and then come down, lower down just this side of the Three Horse Shoes pub and there was people we knew there. Annie Ballad used to run a fish and chip shop. And we used to call in there and she would put a scoop of peas in and we’d go home and that was Friday night supper- faggots and peas.’

The interview recording will be given to the Heritage Officer once they are appointed, to be used as part of the interpretation for Stirchley Baths Community Hub. The recording equipment and guidance were provided by Birmingham Conservation Trust. 

If you think you could spare some time to help people returning from hospital with a bit of shopping and company please contact Home From Hospital Care.