Archives for posts with tag: Balsall Heath

The photography of Janet Mendelsohn
Presented in association with Flatpack Film Festival
10 March – 28 April 2018

In the late 1960s American filmmaker and photographer Janet Mendelsohn spent several months documenting the everyday life of Balsall Heath, as part of her studies at the University of Birmingham. These images are a vivid record of the community at a time of rapid change, and many of the streets depicted were demolished soon afterwards. The exhibition visually explores a social housing crisis, poverty, migration and the experience of childhood in the area.

Building on a brief pop-up exhibition in summer 2015, Ort Gallery now present a selection of these amazing images in the neighbourhood where they were taken. The exhibition will be supported by a resource room exploring some of the stories behind the pictures, and a programme of events and screenings culminating in the 12th Flatpack Film Festival.

To accompany the exhibition we will run a series of events such as group discussions, film screenings, a ghost walk and more! Find all info here and join the Facebook event to be kept up to date!

This exhibition is made possible with strategic investment by the Arts Council England and support from Arts & Science Festival. Special thanks to the Cadbury Research Library.

Ort Gallery
500-504 Moseley Road
Balsall Heath
B12 9AH

Open Tuesday to Saturday 12-5pm






Local author Christine Parkinson, who will be speaking about the United Nations’ role in addressing climate change, is a biologist who worked in medical research before coming to this city where she has co-founded regeneration projects, the most well-known being the Jericho Employment Project based in Balsall Heath.

Her latest book: “Three Generations Left? Human Activity and the Destruction of the Planet”, outlines how so-called progress has combined with a host of other factors, including free trade, a market economy, population increase and the development of a super-rich minority owning most of the wealth of the planet, to bring about global warming and climate change which could lead to a loss of many species and mass human extinction before the end of this century.

Her target audience is aged 15-18 and any adult new to the subject.

It is quite constructive, despite its title and her positive recommendations for change were recently posted on an economic and political website and the West Midlands New Economics Blog.

A former deputy head’s response was: “I sat and read for the whole afternoon. All the time saying how much I agree with this and how it should be reading matter for every sixth former in the land!”

A UNA reviewer called her book a wake-up call, continuing: “A succession of well-researched and wide-ranging facts substantiate its warning. She addresses readers who are likely to remain sceptical of her predictions, piling fact upon fact, ending with the entreaty, “Look at the evidence”, and adding:

“However sceptical the reader may be, a close consideration of the evidence set out by Dr Parkinson must surely cause such a reader to reconsider his or her opinion”.

“Three generations Left” can be ordered direct from the publishers, using this link. Any profits from the sale of this book will be used to fund the work of Dr Parkinson’s son Ben, amongst slum children in Uganda.  Last year was a difficult one for this project (Chrysalis Youth Empowerment Network), due to the devaluation of the pound post-Brexit.





fmr baths header

Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath will be opening up many of its normally closed areas for public view this coming Saturday, March 5th from 1:30pm-4pm at the first of this year’s public events organised by the Friends of Moseley Road Baths. Earlier in the day (from 11am-1pm) the Baths will be a focus for an IGers Birmingham Instagram Balsall Heath photo walk organised in conjunction with Ikon Gallery.

Moseley Road Baths Open Afternoon gives the public a chance to learn about the history of this threatened Grade II* listed building, with access to areas such as the gala pool, private washing bath departments, laundry room and cold-water storage tank, as well as the boiler and filtration rooms.

fmr baths noticeEntrance to Moseley Road Baths Open Day is free and pre- booking is not required. Pool of Memories, the Friends’ book on the history of the baths, will be on sale for £10 along with other items of memorabilia. Also in attendances will be members of Balsall Heath Local History Society, whose stall will include details of their 2016 activities.

The New York-based World Monuments Fund has included Moseley Road Baths as one of only two buildings in the UK selected for inclusion on the 2016 World Monuments Watch list. The list is published every two years in order to focus attention on sites of architectural significance around the world that are under threat.

Please note that Pool 2 will be open for public swimming throughout this weekend’s event and those who have never previously swum at Moseley Road Baths are especially welcome to come along and enjoy a dip in this historic Edwardian pool that Birmingham City Council currently plans closing in Spring 2017.

Moseley Road Baths is a local and national asset under threat of closure.

ob 2 lgc

The Boundary Commission recently published recommendations for new ward boundaries which ignored the proposals put forward by the Moseley community.

Today, the Brummie highlights proposals to merge the Jewellery Quarter and Winson Green districts into a single city council ward. The Jewellery Quarter Neighbourhood Forum is calling for its own council ward and councillor. Hall Green, Erdington, Acocks Green and Longbridge have also objected to the proposals of the Local Government Boundary Commission

isobel2 knowlesAt a Stirchley Forum meeting on Monday, the chair of the Moseley Forum, Isobel Knowles (right), invited all to a meeting about the Local Government Boundary Commission proposals for a new Moseley Ward.

It will be held on Saturday in the Main Hall at Queensbridge School, Moseley B13 8QB, 10:30am-12pm.

As the illogical division of areas like Moseley, Northfield and Selly Oak was described, one comment was that the civil servants had been handed a map and a ruler and told to get on with it. One bizarre result is in Northfield, where a boundary is running through the middle of one building.

Moseley will be divided, with Moseley Village, Park, Hospital and Farmers’ Market placed in a new Balsall Heath and Cannon Hill ward and the conservation areas split in half.

mose;ey boundary proposals map

The Commission’s stated aim is “to ensure that the pattern of wards reflects the interests and identities of local communities”. In this instance, the aim has been misdirected and proposals made which – in the opinion of residents in at least eight city wards – will damage the interests and identity of these communities.


For more information, or to respond, go to the Boundary Commission by 8th February, 2016 via or to The Review Officer (Birmingham), Local Government Boundary Commission for England, 14th Floor, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP

moseley road baths

Steve Beauchampé recently made an eloquent and convincing response to Richard Lutz’ approval of the closure of Moseley Road Baths in the Birmingham Press. It raises several questions:

Why is the council prepared to borrow £36m – plus interest charges – to pay developers to build six pools – two in the constituencies of the Council leader and his deputy – but grudges £3m over three years (which would release a  £5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund) to restore the listed Moseley Road Baths, a beautiful building of national importance and a community asset?

Neil Elkes reports that the Council deputy leader Ian Ward does not agree with these figures; he said it would take the entire cost of the six new pools to fully restore the Moseley Road facility, but – according to Steve Beauchampé – Moseley Road Baths’ listed status entitles it to receive grants from national sources to fund its full restoration.

Aren’t the people of Balsall Heath entitled to retain this public amenity, used by over a dozen local schools, to which most people can walk, cycle or travel by bus?

Does the council care for its most vulnerable? As Beauchampé points out, “Such people are the least likely to travel to another pool as the cost of public transport (already £4 per adult for a return bus journey and soon to rise again), bad weather or the unwillingness of parents to allow their children to travel unsupervised, results in people ceasing to swim altogether”.


By chance a ‘Pool Watch’ website was seen online; it is sponsored by the Amateur Swimming Association and indicates that this problem is affecting many communities. The active and enterprising Friends of Moseley Road Baths will probably have been in touch with this potentially helpful resource.


The Friends of Moseley Road Baths have announced that copies of their book about the history of Moseley Road Baths are now for sale at their new website.

Moseley Road Baths history cover

‘Pool of Memories – A History of Moseley Road Baths’ tells the 105-year old story of Birmingham’s Grade II* Moseley Road Swimming Baths in Balsall Heath. Author Steve Beauchampé has brought together over three years of research and interviews to produce a comprehensive account of the building’s history.

The 152-page book features memories drawn from an archive of almost 100 current and former Baths users, collected of over the past three years by members of the Friends of Moseley Road Baths. Combined with this, the book contains research tracing the building’s development and history dating back to the 1890s.

Also featuring a wealth of never-before-published photographs, Pool of Memories – A History of Moseley Road Baths tells how the baths were built, explains its many rare or unique architectural features and the importance of the three ‘slipper’ bath departments. The building’s contribution to the war effort, tales of its life as ‘Moseley Road Super Ballroom’ and its rôle in school and club swimming are also covered. A venue for art events, film and TV programmes, the Baths have also been used for synchronised swimming, baptisms and even underwater hockey!

Jennifer Austin, Chair of the Friends’ Group said, “For more than a century, Moseley Road Baths has been a hub of the community, providing swimming and bathing facilities for generations of local people. The Pool of Memories book helps preserve the stories of those who have swum, socialised, washed or worked there, providing a valuable archive of this nationally important building and its rôle in Birmingham’s history.

A copy may be bought by using PayPal at or contact Jennifer Austin on 07521 734 022 if you wish to use another method of payment or would like multiple copies for a group. The book costs £12 if collected from the Baths, £15 including postage and packaging.