IHBC’s ‘Heritage from the pool side’: GII Edwardian swimming baths restored by HESPR company Donald Insall Associates

Donald Insall Associates (DIA) has completed restoration work of Moseley Road Baths, Birmingham’s Grade II (GII) Edwardian swimming baths being converted for use as an arts and culture venue, and Leisure Opportunities highlights the outcome, with the help of Historic England.

Leisure Opportunities writes:

Moseley Road Baths are said to be the only baths in the UK built before 1914 to have continuously hosted swimming since they opened, which was in 1907.

They are architecturally significant due to the quality and completeness of their interior, which features 46 private washing rooms known as the ‘slipper baths’ – the only complete set in the country – oak ticket offices and attendants’ kiosks and possibly the only surviving steam-heated drying racks at a British swimming pool.

Although swimming has continued in the facility’s smaller No.2 Pool, it’s main Gala Pool has been closed to the public since 2003 in need of essential repairs to its roof.

The specialist project, funded by a £707,000 grant from Historic England, took a year and saw preservation work carried out on the pool’s ornate iron framework and its roof made secure, in turn preventing any further weather-related damage to the pool area.

With the pool made safe, it will be used to host events and fundraising activities, although work will continue on other parts of the Gala Pool, such as its balcony area, as well as on other parts of the building as a whole.

Louise Brennan, regional director at Historic England, said: “Moseley Road Baths has been a key Heritage at Risk project for us for some time now and we’re so keen to see this special building’s future secured.

“We have provided many years of technical advice and expertise, project support and several grants. The completion of the roof repairs is a major step towards returning this extraordinary site to its former glory.”

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