Category: Stories of the baths

Ken Seeney: Memories of Stirchley Baths

Ken Seeney

We met so many people at the Splash Back In Time event at Stirchley Community Centre yesterday and we have so many stories to share.

Thanks to everyone who came along to talk about Stirchley Baths and their experiences of using it – for swimming, having a bath, dancing, having a massage and more.

We’ll share all of the interviews on the site over the next week or so, starting with Ken Seeney (pictured above) who used to go dancing at Stirchley Baths with his girlfriend. He also caught the bus from his workplace in his lunchtimes to have a dip and cool off!

Was the Palais Glide a popular dance at Stirchley Baths?

Palais GlideYou may remember last week I blogged about the ideas generating sessions we have been doing with young Stirchley-ites around the history and heritage-related activities that might be possible at the Baths.

One of the ideas they came up with is for an intergenerational dance-themed project where older Stirchley residents could teach them dances of the 1940s, as illustrated in the wonderful pictures we have of Den Jones at Stirchley Baths, and the teenagers pass on these skills to school children – sounds like the making of a great community showcase event somewhere down the line! The members of the Tea Dance at Stirchley Community Centre I spoke with today are certainly up for the challenge!

I was a bit cheeky earlier and asked if I could film a dance that would have probably graced the floorboards of the covered pool back in the 1940s. John was more than happy to volunteer the services of the Tea Dance members who gave us a wonderful demonstration of the Palais Glide. Watch them in action:

(Apologies for another low budget movie)! We had a great afternoon at Stirchley Community Centre, where we were running our second Splash Back in Time reminiscence event.

Coming up in the next week or so you’ll hear a few stories of people dancing at the Baths. Massive thank you to John and the members of the Tea Dance for being such good sports today!

More photos of Stirchley Baths – thanks to Brenda Thomas

You can see the stained glass diamond windows
You can see the stained glass diamond windows

Thanks to Brenda Thomas for these great pictures of Stirchley Baths. Brenda is in charge of the photographic archive of Stirchley Community Group and is uncovering some wonderful snapshots of the building’s history. We hope to share more with you soon.

If any of these pictures trigger stories or memories, please get in touch! Email – use our Facebook page here or tell us about them on Twitter using @stirchleybaths or #stirchleybaths

The deep end and the palm tree mural
The deep end and the palm tree mural

boiler Co. Stirchley Baths groupDen Jones Band Co. Stirchley Community Group

During the winter months in the 1940s, the swimming pool at Stirchley Baths was boarded over to create a dance floor and bands used to play. More photographs HERE.

Do you know what this building was used for? Brenda believes it was to store the wooden dance floor boards
Do you know what this building was used for? Brenda believes it was to store the wooden dance floor boards


Stirchley Baths memories at Splash Back In Time

Pictures by Jane Baker

People came along to share their memories of Stirchley Baths at the first Splash Back In Time event on Monday at the library. And to find out more about the Heritage Lottery Fund second-round bid and the plans to transform the building into a community hub.

We’ve already posted an interview with Ron Coley from the first Splash Back In Time event HERE where Ron shares his memories of using the public bathing facilities with his dad every Saturday in the 1960s.

We’ll post more interviews soon.

The second and final Splash Back In Time event is at Stirchley Community Centre on Tuesday 19th March between 12.30pm and 4pm. We’d love to see you there!

Please share the event with friends and family, especially those who aren’t online but who have memories and stories of Stirchley Baths they’d like to share. If they can’t make the event they can jot their memories down and drop them in to the district office, library or community centre.