Monday, April 08, 2013

Stirchley Baths

As soon as we knew we'd be living in Birmingham's Stirchley neighborhood (not to be confused with the Shropshire town by that name) I started following a bunch of Stirchley Twitter accounts to see what was going on around there - the accounts of the bakery and tiny local store we'd walked past, the pub, things they followed, etc. This was how I found out that the abandoned baths building we'd noticed on our visit is slated for restoration - hopefully. I couldn't help but think of how much I liked Heidelberg's new Altes Hallenbad development!

About a week ago we wandered past Stirchley's local library, next door to the baths, while it was actually open and we went in to check it out.  We applied for library cards and when we came back to make use of them, a librarian there asked us to come back on April 6 to participate in a community art project supporting Stirchley's bid for Heritage Lottery money to renovate the baths building.  I made a crack to D about putting handprints up on a wall since that's what immediately came to mind with the words "community art project".

Turns out...that's almost exactly what it really was!  We came back for the event and traced our hands on paper, wrote on them our responses to a prompt about how we'd like to see the history of the baths preserved, and hung them on a clothesline on the front of the baths building.  I hope they get the would take a lot of bake sales to raise enough since the building has been left to ruin for over 20 years.  (And hey, it's hard to bake much at once in these tiny British ovens! ;) )

Despite my crack about handprints I do really like looking at messages people write and leave (like at shrines, in churches, in graffiti....) and the hands were really interesting, even from my current position as still pretty much a clueless outsider.  I made an album of some of my favorites!
Stirchley Baths Apr 2013


  1. The hairy palm with "I strongly concur" is a bit disconcerting, innit?

  2. Good for you to participate in a community-building event.

    I saw the pictures of the renovated Heidelberg baths. I wonder if they were a historical legacy from the Romans who had their influence in the area. The renovated baths were beautiful. Thank you for the photos.

    Best of luck to you, your new home, and to more vibrancy...anywhere and everywhere.

    1. We had a public pool in my hometown growing up, but it was outdoors and never referred to as a bath. I do think there is some Roman influence there.
      Thanks for your well-wishes :)

  3. I just KNOW there's hair on the other said. I know these things...I'm just sayin!


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