Category: History Group

Who taught you to swim? Heather Clarke and Stirchley Baths 1975 – 1976

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?

Heather in 1981, photo taken by Paul Jones
Heather in 1981, photo taken by Paul Jones

 

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Winni Shaw inside the ticket booth – photo taken in March 1988 by Paul Jones
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A photo of the ticket booth – taken in Match 1988. Not sure who the person in the booth is. It isn’t Kathy Fracoviac, who Heather mentions in her video.
A black and white photo of a group of people seated in rows.
This is what Heather said of this picture. “l recognise them all but not everyone’s name, At the top man wearing glasses was George Rawlings ( Supervisor) l think next to him was Alan Wallings other two not sure, Below wearing the glasses lifegaurd Pat Byfield, and Joan Butters ( Area Supervisor )
not sure of others names
Bottom row David Teale (Area Supervisor ) myself and Paul Jones7
The event for this photograph was our lnterdivisional Swimming Gala between all of the Baths in Birmingham There were 3 Divisions all competeing against each other”

 

 

Community Preview Evening

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25 November 6.30-8pm
Stirchley Baths

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

 

Your 2015 Stirchley Time Capsule

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:

Brian of the Friends of Stirchley Park donated a t-shirt at the drop-in session.
Brian of the Friends of Stirchley Park donated a t-shirt at the drop-in session.
Sunander suggested a passport to Leisure card and train tickets- who knows if in 100 years Bournville Station will be around!
Sunander suggested a passport to Leisure card and train tickets- who knows if in 100 years Bournville Station will be around!
Stirchley Primary School caretaker popped in to donate a cardigan.
Stirchley Primary School caretaker popped in to donate a cardigan.
St Andrews congregation with the contents of the old time capsule.
St Andrews congregation with the contents of the old time capsule and making suggestions for the new one.
St Andrews looking at old photographs.
St Andrews looking at old photographs.
Jon, Martyn and Tony are building your community centre.
Jon, Martyn and Tony are building your community centre.
The Loaf bakers.
The Loaf bakers donated the famous Stirchley Loaf recipe.
The suggestions board at the Late Summer Bash.
The suggestions board at the Late Summer Bash.
Writing a suggestion.
Ron from the Neighbourhood Forum Writing a suggestion.
Stirchley Community Group donated a whole folder for the time capsule.
Stirchley Community Group donated a whole folder for the time capsule.

Stirchley History Group

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 first meeting of Stirchley History Group.
The first meeting of Stirchley History Group.

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).

The second meeting, hosted at Stirchley Library.
The second meeting, hosted at Stirchley Library.

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.

Do you recognise anybody in this photograph?
Do you recognise anybody in this photograph?

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.

Stirchley Baths Foundation Stone, 1910.
Stirchley Baths ceremonial plaque, 1910.

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 louisedeakin.communityheritage@gmail.com