Jenny Barnwell was taken to Stirchley Baths as a five-year-old by her parents as soon as they arrived back in Britain from a holiday in Spain.
Jenny had been paddling in the Costa del Sol sea when she was sucked into the ocean by a wave. Luckily, she was “spat back out again” but the terrifying experience made her parents enrol her for swimming lessons.
Jenny wrote this on her hand to support the Stirchley Baths community hub project: “I learned to swim here in 1960 after a close shave – I nearly drowned in the sea at Costa del Sol.”
Fiona Cullinan shared her memories of learning to swim at Stirchley Baths in the mid-70s at the recent Stirchley Community Market.
Fiona remembers people queuing round the block in the long hot summer of 1976 and the pressure from her friends to lose the armbands before swimming lessons began in earnest at school!
Fiona lived in London for 20 years but has returned to Stirchley and is more keen than ever to see the building restored and brought back into use.
Fiona talks about her swim passes in the interview and she’s very kindly sent us some photos of them. Thanks Fiona!
You can see more of Fiona’s Stirchley Baths photographs HERE by the way, including lots from the open day at the building in 2011
Do you have some memorabilia from Stirchley Baths that you can share with us? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with us on Twitter or Facebook. We’d love to hear from you!
Sandra Braker started going swimming at Stirchley Baths as a four-year-old. She soon became a member of Stirchley Swimming Club and took part in galas across the West Midlands.
Sandra talks to Jane Baker about her memories of this time and how she hopes the community hub can provide a real use for the building again.
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Brenda Hawksford used to bathe at Stirchley Baths.
“We were grateful for it,” she says. “There was no hot water in our house and it was a lot easier using the baths at Stirchley than getting the tin one out at home and heating the water up for that. Much easier.”
Jean Wyatt went dancing at Stirchley Baths in the 1950s when the swimming pool was covered with boards – a great example of the building’s multiple uses in its history.
“You couldn’t believe you were dancing on top of all that water,” she says.