Stirchley Baths has led something of a double life. Since 2016 it has operated as a lively community hub, but the building is full of reminders of its former years as a public swimming baths and wash house. Our heritage tours take you back to 1911 and earlier when the Baths were built to serve a fast-growing local community. There’s also an opportunity to go into the former pool and the tunnels – the only time when this is possible.
We have 4 tours planned for 2019. Places are strictly limited so please book in advance! You can reserve a place at Stirchley Baths reception or online at stirchley-baths-heritage-tour.eventbrite.co.uk.
You Could Be Dancing!
The Dancing Mat, a commissioned artwork for the Stirchley Baths Heritage Programme, is nearing its launch with an event ‘Stirchley Dances’, on Saturday 25th June 1 – 4pm. This is a free event open to all, celebrating the heritage and current day dancing in Stirchley. John and Eileen Horlick from the Stirchley Tea Dance Group who worked with me to record steps from dances that would have been danced at Stirchley Baths in the 1940’s will officially open the dancing mat at 1pm in the foyer. After this there will be dancing in the main hall by the Tea Dance Group, Swing Express and Barn Dance Fitness, the latter two who hold weekly classes at Stirchley Baths. You can either come along and enjoy watching the dancing or join in. It doesn’t matter whether you are a complete novice, enthusiast or highly experienced – this is a celebration of all things in Stirchley.
This Saturday 21st May Stirchley Baths presents a very special performance, for one time only, of Advance with Feathers. The live performance is the conclusion to a year long collaboration with artist Justin Wiggan who has created new work around the redevelopment of Stirchley Baths and the themes of hope, transition and future. At the performance you will also receive a limited edition 7″ vinyl recording of the new sound piece created.
Saturday’s performance will be a moving sonic experience for the audience who will be part of an installation of film, building materials and balloons while award winning opera singer Suzanna Purkis fills the main hall with voice from on high in her lifeguard chair.
Justin and the ‘Centre for Curious Sonic Investigation’ worked to produce the project with Kate Andrews, and several volunteers. Participants patients from Stirchley’s St. Andrews hospital, children from Cotteridge Primary School and the local community to collect words and sounds that participants associated with hope, transition and future.
Advance with Feathers has been funded by Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund.
Book tickets here via Eventbrite, limited tickets will be available on the night but cannot be guaranteed.
I had a wonderful time today at Stirchley Baths, not just the spiralised courgette in my salad at the cafe, but seeing the baths coming together as a functioning building and seeing ideas and proposals from the development phase becoming a part of the building. All this while working on the ‘welcome mat’ project. The welcome mat stems from earlier work in Stirchley by Place Prospectors whose work during Stirchley Prospects found material relating to the use of Stirchley Baths as a ballroom in the post war years; the pool being covered over for ‘super non-stop dancing’ and that dancing happened to Den Jones and his Dance Orchestra.
The Stirchley Tea Dance group who used to be based in the old Stirchley community centre have agreed to work with me on the process of making the mat, I’m going to record their steps as they dance the dances that would have happened during this time, which is fondly remembered and a source of local pride.
Saturday 30 April – 2pm, 5pm and 8pm
Sunday 1 May – 12noon and 2pm
Drama and Theatre Arts University of Birmingham presents an original, devised production for a small audience that brings alive the history and people of Stirchley Baths and responds to this newly refurbished building.
Tickets are free, however booking is essential due to limited capacity. Please book via: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/deep-end-tickets-23912768735