Moseley Road Baths, Birmingham’s historic Grade II* swimming baths building in Balsall Heath is to be the subject of a one-day art exhibition in late October to celebrate its 104th birthday.
The event, to be staged in the former Moseley School of Art building (located across the road from the baths), is a chance for painters, illustrators, photographers, video artists, poets and writers to display work which is either about, or inspired by, Moseley Road Baths or swimming in Birmingham.
Organised by the Friends of Moseley Road Baths as part of their Heritage Lottery funded Pool of Memories project, the exhibition takes place on Saturday, October 29th (noon-4pm) and artists wishing to submit items are asked to do so by October 7th.
Pool of Memories project co-ordinator Jen Austin explained the thinking behind the event: “With its superb architecture, wealth of historical detail and colourful history Moseley Road Baths has long been a source of interest and inspiration to members of the local artistic community. It is not uncommon for both the Friends of Moseley Road Baths, and the city council, which owns the building, to be approached by individuals and organisations interested in using the baths in an art project. We normally stage our Memories and Memorabilia Day and guided tours at the end of October but with the building currently closed for repairs we are unable to do so this year. Instead we decided to change the focus of our event and highlight the artistic possibilities offered by historic pools in general and Moseley Road Baths in particular.”
In recent years the baths building has received visits from creative photographers and video artists. Two art installations, Swimming Without Water and Wet Sounds, have also been staged and the Friends of Moseley Road Baths hope that the prospect of October’s exhibition will encourage everyone, from members of the region’s creative communities to locals wishing to celebrate their long standing association with the baths, to produce work.
Anyone wishing to submit work should e-mail [email protected]
Moseley Road Baths is the oldest of only three Grade II* Listed indoor swimming pools currently operating in Britain. Opened on October 30th 1907, it contains several rare or unique features, including:
- The only complete set of pre-war private washing (or ‘slipper’) bath cubicles in Britain, 46 in all.
- A three-sided spectator gallery and unique balconettes in the Gala Pool as well as original poolside arched glazed brick dressing boxes (another rare feature, shared only with Woodcock Street baths in Gosta Green).
- Possibly the only surviving steam-heated drying racks, located in the first floor laundry room.