On Sunday 10 September, Stirchley Baths, a community hub on Bournville Lane, Stirchley, will be showcasing its heritage as an Edwardian swimming baths and public washhouse.
Visitors are invited to pick up a diving brick in the deep end, add their stitches to a community tapestry and put their knowledge to the test during this year’s Heritage Open Days and Birmingham Heritage Week.
Back by popular demand are the ‘hard-hat’ tunnel tours where visitors can explore the tunnel system underneath the building and venture into the pool and original bore hole, now boarded over. Brand new this year is the opportunity to pick up a needle and some thread and contribute to a permanent artwork which will recreate the 1980’s tropical poolside mural in stitch and knit, working with tapestry needle-point artist Tina Francis. There’s also a chance to take part in a Birmingham heritage quiz night, – with ten rounds of questions, homemade pizza and drinks.
Suzanne Carter, Stirchley Baths’ Community Heritage Coordinator said: “On Sunday evening, as Heritage Open Days’ doors are closing to visitors we decided to keep ours open and invite heritage enthusiasts from across Birmingham back to our place to keep celebrating the city’s amazing history – its buildings, inventions, historical events and even bands that have been born in Brum. It’ll be a bit of competitive fun and we would love to see teams of friends and family showing what they know about the city’s heritage whilst relaxing in one of its beautiful historic buildings.
“This is a free event and people are welcome to bring their own alcoholic drinks and ChangeKitchen CIC can deliver freshly-made pizza to your table. We’re open during the day too, so come early to soak up some local history for the Stirchley Baths’ and Stirchley History rounds!”
Karen Cheney, Head of Selly Oak District at Birmingham City Council, who oversees the Stirchley Baths’ heritage programme which is now in its final six months, added: “We are open from 11am and really excited to show off the building above and below ground. Our very popular tunnel tours can be booked on the day and there will be family trails and activities, animated films and displays to help visitors understand the building and its fascinating history.
“Our Big Stirchley Baths Stitch Project is really capturing people’s imagination and so far we’ve had over 100 local people aged between 4 and 93 take part. We’d love our heritage weekend visitors to contribute to our art work which is turning out, quite literally, to be a piece of history in the making.”
On Friday 8 September there will also be a special family event with Beryl of the Baths. Beryl will take you through a 45 min, fast-paced and hugely entertaining time-travelling experience through the Bath’s history. Beryl of the Baths is a specially commissioned storytelling session devised by Toni’s Drama Tots.
All details about Stirchley Bath’s Birmingham Heritage Week and Heritage Open Day events can be found by visiting stirchleybaths.org/events