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Raising the roof at Moseley Road Baths

Gala Pool roof
Gala Pool roof at Moseley Road Baths
Published: Wednesday, 12th February 2020

Thanks to partnership working between community groups, national and international organisations and Birmingham City Council, the Gala Pool roof at Moseley Road Baths has been repaired.

Historic England has so far grant aided £707,000, one of its largest grants to a project in the Midlands, to ensure the roof is safe and secure, preventing any further weather-related damage to the pool area, which closed in 2003. After a year of specialist repair work, the stunning Edwardian architecture takes centre stage again and the Gala Pool is now able to play an important role as an arts and culture venue while its long-term future is decided.

With the roof repairs complete work can take place on restoring other elements of the Gala Pool’s deteriorated infrastructure, including the balcony area. This will sit alongside on-going repairs and maintenance of the rest of this magnificent building. Moseley Road Baths are the oldest of only five Grade II* listed swimming baths operating in Britain and an iconic element of this part of Birmingham. They are the only baths in the country built before 1914 to have continuously hosted swimming since they opened. The smaller pool, now operated by the community formed group the Moseley Road Baths CIO, is open for public swimming.

It has taken a coalition of the CIO, Friends of Moseley Road Baths, Historic England, National Trust, World Monuments Fund and the building’s owner Birmingham City Council, which has contributed £100,000 to a programme of repairs, to ensure the whole of the building was saved from closure. The baths were first opened in 1907 and have been on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register since 2005. The baths are so significant because of the architectural quality and remarkably complete interior. Rare fixtures and fittings are still intact, including an almost complete set of 46 private washing rooms known as the ‘slipper baths’ – the only complete set in the country. The oak ticket offices and attendants’ kiosks, and possibly the only surviving steam-heated drying racks in a British swimming pool, also remain in place, making this space a real time capsule.

Birmingham City Council cabinet member for health and social care, Cllr Paulette Hamilton said: “I’m so excited to see the restoration of the Gala Pool roof and the future benefit it will bring to the community in Balsall Heath. With the Commonwealth Games on the horizon, this is a fantastic time for this iconic building to be repaired so that people of all ages can get involved in swimming and other community activities where they can learn and improve their skills in a stunning setting. This is a landmark moment and one which, I hope, provides a roadmap for future projects across Birmingham.”

Full details can be found here: https://historicengland.org.uk/whats-new/news/raising-roof-on-edwardian-heritage-gem/