Birmingham Heritage Week & Heritage Open Days 2016

Save the dates!

Birmingham Heritage Week and the annual Heritage Open Days event have launched their programmes for September. This year Stirchley Baths is, of course, officially OPEN and we have a whole range of events on offer including; interactive story-telling about the history of the Baths for young children and their families with our energetic character Beryl; going down ladders, through tunnels and into the deep end of the old swimming pool with a hard hat; tours of the building, kids activity trails in the building, local history exhibitions, a talk by author and historian Steve Beauchampe about the public baths and wash-houses of Brum; and even the opportunity to share with Historic England your memories, pictures and research about the Baths and other local heritage assets, and add them into Historic England’s National List!

See our heritage event programme on the poster below. There are a few more details following.

Bookings now being taken for Beryl of the Baths. Places limited to 20 children per session. To book, please email  or call us on 0121 464 9072.

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Further details…

Beryl of the Baths

Friday 9 September: 1300-1400

Saturday 10 September: 1400-1500

Meet Beryl, she’s worked at Stirchley Swimming Baths from the very first day the doors were
opened. She is the caretaker, keeper of the key and all round guardian of the building and she wants to show you around. Come for a dip, the water’s lovely!

A highly energetic, fast paced and fun filled journey through the history of Stirchley Baths for
young children and their families.

Created for Stirchley Baths by Toni Midlane of Toni’s Tots Drama
Length 45mins. Suitable for 3yrs + and perfect for children aged between 4 and 7.

Pre-book to reserve a place. Places limited to 20 children per session. To book, please email  or call us on 0121 464 9072. If you want any further details about this session please email us with a contact number and someone will call you to talk it through.

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Splash Back in Time at Stirchley Baths

Sunday 11 September: 1100-1600

There will be lots to see and do at our Heritage Open Day for all ages. For families there will be three different kids activity trails around the building (aimed at the Under 3s, 3-7 and 7-12 year olds), and an arts and crafts corner; children will have fun exploring and making while you find out about the history of the former swimming baths and wash-house through tours, using the original architectural plans to orientate yourselves, and exhibitions.

The Change Kitchen cafe will be open serving a delicious selection of cakes and drinks.

Heritage Open Days is famed for the opportunity it gives the public to go ‘behind the scenes’ in historic buildings; but in our case, we are inviting people to go ‘under the floorboards’ on this special day! You can explore the tunnels which go into the deep end of the former swimming pool and to the well. There is a vertical ladder to climb and you will need to walk bending over to avoid head bumps. Hard hats are provided. This won’t be suitable for everyone and you can decide on the day. We will provide alternative interpretation. Strictly no under 6s and parents will need to make their own decision about older children. Sensible shoes only. If you do decide to venture below ground though, you’ll have a real atmospheric treat. It might even be rather nostalgic if you ever used to dive to retrieve a brick from the deep end of a pool!

No need to book; Just turn up on day. Last entry 3.30pm. Tunnel tours will be bookable on the day.

in the well

Illustrated Talk on the Public Swimming Baths and Wash-houses of Birmingham

Sunday 11 September: 1600-1700

We are delighted to welcome author and historian Steve Beauchampe to Stirchley Baths. In this illustrated talk Steve will examine the development of public baths in Birmingham and the surrounding area, from the Baths and Public Wash-houses Act of 1846 until the outbreak of the Great War. This was a period of significant expansion, a period when Birmingham went from being a town to gaining city status, becoming the second largest in Great Britain in the process. But it was an era of unprecedented and farsighted civic development, where the provision of essential public services would raise both the quality of life for all strata of society, and the life expectancy of many. The Victorian and Edwardian public baths epitomised this progressive spirit and included amongst their number were arguably some of the most attractive and decorative examples of such buildings in Britain: Balsall Heath, Nechells, Green Lanes and even the Girls’ Baths at Cadburys. Some remain and some are gone, but all are to be celebrated and will be in this Birmingham Heritage Week talk at the newly restored Grade II listed Stirchley Baths which opened in 1911 and again, after 25 years in a derelict state, reopened in 2016.

No need to book; join us for 4pm start.

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Your Heritage List for England – how to make your mark on the history of Stirchley Baths

Thursday 15 September: 1900-2100

The history of our land and its people is marked in the fabric of England’s buildings and places. The most significant of these are listed, so they can be understood and protected for the future. The National Heritage List for England, which started life in 1882, now has almost 400,000 entries: barrows and bunkers, palaces and pigsties, plague crosses and piers, tower blocks and tombstones, cathedrals, windmills and rollercoasters. It is a unique record of the country’s evolving history and character. You can search every entry for free online.

This year, for the first time in history, we are inviting the public to join us in keeping The List rich, relevant and up-to-date. We are opening it up and asking people and community groups across England to share their knowledge and pictures, so we can record important facts about places, and even unlock the secrets of some. Many places and buildings on the list are well-known and even world-famous. But in some cases there is much that remains unknown. That’s why we need your help – so we can share images, insights and secrets of England’s special places, and capture them for future generations.

As part of Birmingham Heritage Week, Historic England is delighted to invite you to a workshop from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday, 15th September 2016 at Stirchley Baths to demonstrate this new development.  We would love to hear your stories and memories about the Grade II listed Baths and any research you may have done on other listed heritage assets in the neighbourhood. The session will include an opportunity to add your information and/or photographs to the National Heritage List for England, and you will get the chance to tell us what you think of the project. There is no cost for the workshop and tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided free of charge.

Historic England is the public body that looks after England’s historic environment. They champion historic places, helping people to understand, value and care for them, now and for the future. 

No need to book; join us for a 7pm start.

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  1. Alan Jones says:

    As an Stirchley lad who lived in Leahouse Road where there were no bathrooms and only an outdoor toilet I remember Stirchley Baths well as each Saturday my brother and me went for our weekly bath there. Trips to the swimming pool as a pupil at Stirchley Street Secondary we all learnt to swim there. I was sorry to miss the the splash back in time trip and I wonder whether you could let me know when the next one will be.

    • Suzanne Carter says:

      Hi Alan
      Nice to hear from you. We won’t be having an event as such for a while like this, but you are more than welcome to come over to the Baths and look around; have a trip down memory lane. It is open Monday to Friday. There are guided tours of the building, run by the local history group on the first Tuesday of every month as well during Stirchley Market; just pop along one week! It would be great if you would share your memories on one of our ‘Tell Your Story’ card! Best wishes, Suzanne

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