Author: louisedeakin

I'm a local resident. Passionate about museums, heritage and community projects. Follow me on twitter

Raising the Roof!

Update of this months progress for the Community:

View of Cadbury's from Stirchley Baths roof.
View of Cadbury’s from Stirchley Baths roof.

With the combination of an extremely wet October and the discovery of a few further structural set backs; October has been a challenging month for Balfour Beatty project team. However with the building now stripped back to its raw structure and a new programme been put in place; real progress is starting to be shown.

This month:

View of Birmingham from the chimney.
View of Birmingham from the chimney.

– All internal areas now propped ready for existing structural steels to be replaced with new.

You may have been wondering where the Cupola has disappeared to.
You may have been wondering where the Cupola has disappeared to.

– The Chimney has been completely re-pointed, had a brand new lightning protection system installed and is now awaiting a concrete cap.



– The iconic Cupola and flag pole has now been dismantled, lifted off via the crane and taken away for refurbishment
– The brickwork either side of the cupola has now had structural ties installed and been re-built back up to coping stone level.
View of the new pool roof.
View of the new pool roof.

– All timber roof purlins and rafters have now been replaced with new.

New rooms formed inside.
New rooms formed inside.

Next month we will be:
– Breaking out the existing floor slab and creating new internal foundations ready for blockwork walls to be erected.
– Felt, batten and re-tile the main pool roof with existing Blue Welsh Slates and Green Westmorland Slates.
– Install all new structural steels to basement and ground floor.
– Start stripping and relaying the flat roof area.
– Install new truss roof along curved frontage.
– Wash down chimney brickwork, install cap and drop chimney scaffold.

Building for Future Generations

Jack Carey; co-site manager.

Here’s an update from Jack Carey; newly appointed co-site manager on the build:

“September has been a month of change on Balfour Beattys refurbishment of Stirchley Baths; after 47 years of service to the construction industry, Site Manager Steve Marsh finally has decided to step down and take his retirement. Steve set up and started this project back in February 2014 and has managed it up until now; I’d like to wish Steve all the best in his retirement and thank him for his efforts and invaluable service to our company. Moving forward I’d like to introduce you to our new site team; Site Manager Tony Fisher and myself, Site Manager Jack Carey. Having both come from Carpentry backgrounds we are both extremely excited to be working on a building with such heritage, character and will relish this opportunity. It is our goal to bring this building back to life and make it what it once was; the heart of the Stirchley community.”

Construction activities taking place this month has mainly been structural; due to the building being unused and un-maintained for so long water had penetrated in many places causing brickwork to move materials to decay. At present we are:

        – Demolishing internal walls to create new more open areas
        – Installing new structural steels in the basement
        – Installing new doorways, openings and lintels internally
        – Chasing out all external brick joints ready for re-pointing
        – Re-building and refurbishing the parapet wall and decorative stone frontage
        – Installing a new timber roof over the main pool

It is imperative that we get these structural works right to ensure that the building will last for future generations to enjoy.”


Erased from History?

The lost sign: Harold Lea Shoe Repais'
The lost sign: ‘Harold Lea Shoe Repairs’

On Bournville Lane, opposite Lea House Road is a house that once held the shoe repair business of Harold Lea. Sadly this old shop sign has recently been sanded and painted over. From sharing this photograph on twitter I was able to learn from Mr. Lea’s grandaughter that he had two further shops. Another shoe repair business at 29 Maryvale Road and a drapers in the building that is now St Mary’s hospice shop on Raddlebarn Road.

Harold Lea's shop at 29 Maryvale Road.
Harold Lea’s shop at 29 Maryvale Road.

His business was listed in the 1939 telephone directory. And he operated out of his premises on Maryvale Road between 1930 and 1971.

1939 Telephone Directory entry.
1939 Telephone Directory entry.

Do you remember Harold Lea’s shops? Do you have memories to share?


You’re all invited to Stirchley Late Summer Bash!

One of the rides at last year's Stirchley Fun Day.
One of the rides at last year’s Stirchley Fun Day.

Tomorrow will be the 6th year of Stirchley Fun Day. It’s beginnings stem from the then elected councillors (Timothy Huxtable, Rob Sealy, and Nigel Dawkins ) suggesting that should the Neighbourhood Forum apply for funding they would support the application. The funding was granted and the council helped a great deal in the early days, not only funding for the event but also sorting things like event licencing, permission to use the park and public liability insurance.



The first year was quite slow, probably because the only advertisement was posters in and around Stirchley. The next year was busier, flyers were printed and volunteers distributed them. That’s when things really began to take off. Last year a local sign maker was asked to make banners for the event, which he did for free, as he was happy to support local not for profit community events, even though his business is located in Cotteridge.

Last year the event was funded by The National Lottery Fund to the tune of just over £6,000, but this source of funding is a one off event. This year it has proved very difficult to obtain funds. This year’s funding is £1850.00, however, this hasn’t deterred the Neighbourhood Forum. To manage the shortfall in funding, the decision was made to change the name and the venue, the thinking was that if residents came along to Hazelwell Park expecting the same as last year that they would be slightly disappointed. This years event will take place on Saturday 6th September in Stirchley Park. For those who aren’t familiar, Stirchley Park is located at the rear of the Co-op and can be accessed from an entrance near Farm Foods and Bond Street. The park’s importance to the community will grow over he next few years, as it is directly behind Stirchley Baths.

The Bourne Brook which passes through Stirchley Park
The Bourne Brook which passes through Stirchley Park.
One of the new benches as part of the recent improvements to Stirchley Park.
One of the new benches as part of the recent improvements to Stirchley Park.

Nearly everyone who had stalls for the event in the past have rebooked for this year and the children’s rides will still be free.

Previous stall holders.
Previous stall holders.

There will also be the return of the famous Stirchley raffle!


Neighbourhood Forum Chairman Peter Walker says:

‘I am still amazed at the generosity of local Traders and at how the word has spread further. We now have prizes from the hippodrome, Cadbury world, businesses in Cotteridge and even from the National Trust. I think over 70 prizes so far, have to thank Rowena Evans especially, without whom we would have no funding to start with plus she has done all the stall bookings for me, my wife Margaret, who has to organise and put up with me, and also the raffle. Brenda who also collects prizes and Di from Stirchley News Facebook & Twitter, who has received prizes from further afield (like the golf for two on the Lickey Hills).’


We hope Stirchley residents will enjoy the event this year and for many years to come!


Going Swimmingly



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!