Roof repairs shore up grade II* Moseley Road pool
Historic England has revealed the results of a £700,000 project to safeguard the future of a grade II*-listed Edwardian swimming baths in Birmingham that has spent more than a decade on the Heritage At Risk register.
It said this month marked the first time in 17 years that it been possible to see the Gala Pool at Moseley Road Baths without scaffolding to support its roof or debris in the pool area.
The heritage body said the main pool area at the building, which was designed by William Hale & Son and opened to the public in 1907, would now be used for art exhibitions while long-term plans for its future were developed.
A smaller pool in the complex – described by Historic England as one of the country’s most complete examples of an Edwardian bath house – is still in use and operated by the Moseley Road Baths Community Interest Organisation.
Historic England said Moseley Road was the oldest of five grade II* baths in the country that are still in use, and the only pre-1914 baths to have continuously hosted swimming since they opened.
Midlands director Louise Brennan said Moseley Road Baths were a real time capsule because of their architectural quality and remarkably complete interior, with rare fixtures and fittings still intact.
Those features include an almost complete set of 46 private washing rooms known as the “slipper baths”; oak ticket offices and attendants’ kiosks; and what could be the only surviving steam-heated drying racks still in place at a British swimming pool.
“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,” Brennan said.
“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.”
Historic England said it had taken a coalition of the CIO, Friends of Moseley Road Baths, National Trust, Historic England, the World Monuments Fund and building owner Birmingham city council to ensure the whole of the building was saved from closure.
Donald Insall Associates was project architect; structural engineer was Mann Williams; and the contractor was Croft Conservation.