Ron Coley used to use Stirchley Baths to have a hot bath each week – at home they only had a tin bath. Here he walks to the where the bath used to be (now the cafe) and remembers how he tried to buck the system.
Heather Clarke visited the refurbished building recently. She first worked here in 1975 and went on to teach generations of children to swim at various pools – including Tiverton Pool.
Below is a video of heather and some photos from the 1970’s and 1980’s. Do you remember Heather? Did she teach you to swim?
25 November 6.30-8pm
We welcome everyone in the community to come along and have a look around your new community building, hear about the heritage programme and sign up for some of the exciting activities that will run from the centre. All welcome, no booking required.
Want to get involved? We are looking for volunteers to support the heritage programme. If you are interested please contact Kate Andrews – Stirchleybaths@gmail.com
As part of the Stirchley Baths project I have been gathering items for the new time capsule. This has taken me on a journey from a drop-in session at Stirchley Library; to St Andrews church; Stirchley Baths construction team; Loaf Community Bakery and the Late Summer Bash. The new time capsule with be ‘buried’ beneath the pool and visible through a perspex window.
Among the donations are a Stirchley Park t-shirt, school cardigan, Bournville Station train ticket, library card, beer mat, building plans and recipe for the Stirchley loaf! These are some of the people I have met along the way:
During the last five weeks I have been working with members of the community to assemble a Stirchley history group. The creation of the group, which is supported by the Heritage Lottery fund is for the benefit and lasting legacy of the Stirchley Baths project. After a call out on social media and presenting at Stirchley Neighbourhood Forum, a group of us met at P Cafe.
The initial task is for the group to produce an illustrated leaflet about the historic importance of the Baths. The leaflet will include a general introduction to Stirchley history, the history of the Baths, opening times, contact information, facilities and room hire info. This content will also be used on Stirchley Baths website.
During the first meeting the Baths leaflet was explained to the group. Some members were happy to carry out research relating to information for the leaflet, while others simply wanted to talk about Stirchley history. The one thing everybody had in common was a passion for local history, community and telling the story of Stirchley.
Our second meeting took place in Stirchley Library just over a week ago. The library was chosen because it houses the local history section and copies of the original 1910 architect plans for the Baths (it also has two of the friendliest and helpful Librarians around- Denise and David).
During this second meeting members talked about the era they had been researching. Although not all the information will go into the leaflet it was important to lay sturdy foundations. Some members are looking into early Stirchley, including the middle ages; other are investigating a pre-Cadbury Stirchley, which relied upon industry, such as the mills along the Rea. The offering of the land, opening and running of the Baths is another era covered by a member; as is a history of public baths in general. Another member has accrued thousands of old Stirchley photographs which we are going to sort through as possible images for the leaflet. And one member is in the process of writing a brief biography of his father, Den Jones, who played with his orchestra at the Baths in the forties/fifties. As a group we decided to do a call out on social media and at a stall at September’s Late Summer Bash for people who worked or learnt to swim at the Baths. We’re hoping to bring together people who gained their swimming badges.
There were a few surprises during the meeting including Alison’s discovery of a public baths photograph. We’re not sure if it is Stirchley Baths, but we’re hoping somebody will recognise those in the photo.
The other surprise was Nigel’s reveal of the original ceremonial plaque. The plaque had been removed from the exterior of the building some 25 years previously by a concerned resident, when the building was unused and in disrepair. It was handed to Nigel a few years ago when the Baths campaign began. The plaque will return to the Baths once the restoration is complete.
The next meeting of the History Group will take place at Stirchley Library between 5 and 6.45pm on Thursday 6th of August. If you would like to join, please pop by. Not everybody in the group has chosen to carry out research, but everyone is supportive of the Baths project and enthusiastic about Stirchley history.
Future Stirchley History Group projects may include developing history tours of the Baths and a heritage trail of Stirchley.
If you are interested in contributing but are unable to attend contact me (Louise) at email@example.com