Please come along to Stirchley Baths on Saturday 8th June to ‘weigh in’ your support for the Baths as your community building.
The ‘balloontastic’ community art event – called ‘Sink or Swim’ – is being held on the old bowling green behind Stirchley Baths and ties in with the submission of the final and full bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. It’s called ‘Sink or Swim’ to reflect this pivotal moment in the project’s history and is a Place Prospectors event. You can hear Emma and Jayne on their involvement in the Stirchley Baths project HERE
You can come along to the bowling green between 11am and 1pm to ‘weigh in your interest’ in the Baths as your community building. You’ll be helping to turn ‘sink’ into ‘swim’ using balloons, and will get to take away a custom-made weight for keeps as a memento of the day.
Stirchley Shakers, a newly-formed cheerleading group, will be there, and there will also be balloon modelling and refreshments available.
Click HERE to listen to Jayne Murray from Place Prospectors on ‘Sink or Swim’
We’ll get a decision on the Heritage Lottery Fund bid in September. There’s more on what happens when the bid is submitted HERE
Half the meeting
Yesterday there was a “stage” meeting about the final and full bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (to be submitted in June 2013). A good few people there who’ve been involved in some area of work creating or supporting the bid. As much as anything it was a chance for the Heritage Lottery Team and the bid team to catch up on progress. The picture is of one half of the meeting.
Afterwards I spent a few minutes with Peter Morgan from the West Midlands team of the Heritage Lottery Fund. He explained how these meetings help – what will happen next and what happens to the bid after the June deadline for submitting.
The “stage” meeting help clarify that the bid writing and community engagement process is on track. It helps everyone focus on creating the best quality bid.
Once submitted in June the bid will be assigned an officer who will read is and write a report
The report will be checked for quality within the system then submitted to the ctte for decision
The ctte read the report and are given a presentation by the officer. They then decide based on this information and other bids in that month. Ctte members are volunteers.
Peter Evans is the chairman of the Friends of Stirchley Park, a group of volunteers working to promote and improve Stirchley Park for the community.
The group has made a number of improvements over the last 12 months, including the planting of five new saplings, new benches and a noticeboard. Community tidy-ups have been held and a piece of graffiti art, known as The Sleeping Child, was also produced with Place Prospectors. Plans are in place to create more.
Stirchley Baths (you can see the chimney) from Stirchley Park
The Sleeping Child
Peter says the park has always been “the hidden park”. He’d been living in Stirchley for a couple of years before he glimpsed it from the Gyratory – and then assumed it was private land. Thanks to the Friends’ efforts, though, more and more people are using the green space to walk their dogs or just to relax. A group of dog walkers meet in the park every day at 5pm – but more of them in a later post!
The park sits just behind Stirchley Baths and there’s a pathway to it between the Co-op and Farm Foods buildings. The redevelopment of the Baths into a community hub will bring changes, however, with a green area immediately behind the Baths set to become a car park for visitors. There will also be a children’s play area and pathways around to the hub. Peter – although disappointed at the loss of some green space – hopes the community hub will further open up access to Stirchley Park and help to bin the ‘hidden park’ tag forever.
Click HERE to listen to the interview with Peter
You can follow Stirchley Park on Twitter HERE
Peter Evans and fellow Friends of Stirchley Park member Brian Sheridan
Here are three lovely interviews with some of the people who came out to support the community arts project at Stirchley Baths recently.
Almost 300 hands were displayed around the Baths, each with a personal message of support for the project or an idea of how the heritage of the building can be shared with local people. You can see more on the event HERE. All of the hands will be displayed in Stirchley Library soon, by the way, so you can have a look at the kind of things people were saying.
Thanks to Matthew Green for these interviews. Click the photographs to listen…
Emma and Jayne from Place Prospectors
It was great to meet Emma Larkinson and Jayne Murray from Place Prospectors to hear all about a piece of artwork they’ve been commissioned to produce as part of the project to bring Stirchley Baths back into use as a community hub.
In fact, Emma and Jayne (who organised the Stirchley Prospects and Love Stirchley More events) will be producing two pieces of artwork.
The first will be a piece of participatory art that will be started in June when the funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is submitted. It will be called (somewhat fittingly at this critical stage in the project) ‘Sink or Swim’ and will require lots of community participation, so we’ll keep you updated on the details for this so you can get involved.
The second piece of artwork will be housed inside the community hub and Emma and Jayne have a number of ideas that they’re working up. They talk about them in detail in the interview but some ideas include:
- Signs made of glitterboard (a material that moves and ripples gently, giving an appearance of water) to direct people from the rear of the Baths to the entrance at the front
- There is space in the entrance lobby for a welcome mat. In fact, an indentation in the floor shows clearly where the original would have been. Emma and Jayne are thinking of making a new welcome mat
- Remember the ceremonial key that was used to open the Baths in 1911? A new one could be made to mark the re-opening of the building as a community hub
- Emma and Jayne are looking to utilise the bore hole in the Baths. When it opened, the original plan was to well for water but, unfortunately, a source was never found
What do you think of Emma and Jayne’s ideas? You can get involved and pass on your thoughts and ideas by mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or connecting with us on Twitter and Facebook
Some of the ideas come from the history of the site long before the Baths were built. Research by Emma and Jayne has uncovered some fascinating details of what took place on the site, including:
1830: The Beer House Act led to the opening of many beer houses in an attempt to minimise the drinking of gin! The Black Horse beerhouse and stables opened on the site of Stirchkey Baths in this year
In the 1890s a wonderfully named Blood Tub Theatre was on the site, a tent theatre to present old melodramas