Right next door to the Balsall Heath Library is the Moseley Road Swimming Baths building.
This much-loved and well-used site has been in disrepair for a while with a group dedicated to its preservation.
The latest move in support has been an arts project described in this BBC report:
More than 100 swimmers have posed as a “terracotta army” for an arts project at a historic pool.
Moseley Road Baths in Birmingham is one of the oldest swimming baths in Britain, but is scheduled to close as part of council cuts.
A photographic project to commemorate the Grade II* listed building culminated with 110 swimmers standing in the now unused Gala pool.
Attilio Fiumarella said it had been easy to persuade people to pose-up.
The Birmingham-based photographer said: “It was the first thing I imagined when I first entered this wonderful building.”
He said it marked the end of a five-month project that had revealed some “amazing stories” and people’s “emotional connection with the building”.
Kate Wilcox was one of those to get involved on Sunday.
“It was fantastic. It took a long time to set up, but people were so patient and encouraging,” she said.
“People were so up for being involved in this because of their affection for this pool. It’s great to be part of it.
“I’ve been using the baths for 20 months now and when I discovered they were planning to close it I was appalled because it’s a heritage building.
“The new library and the symphony hall are wonderful, but we should treasure our heritage. Moseley Road Baths should be a national treasure.”
Birmingham City Council previously said the closure of nine leisure centres, including Moseley Road, would help to save £6.8m from its leisure budget.
The local authority said it was too expensive to refurbish old sites, but that they would be replaced by new facilities.
Images from the shoot will be exhibited by photographer Attilio Fiumarella whose work has been commissioned by Some Cities.
Here’s his description of the project’s motivation which brings together heritage, sport and a a creative intervention:
“The Swimmers” is an ongoing project commissioned by Some City through a bursary.
One of the first public facilities built in Balsall Heath was the Moseley Road Baths. Constructed in two stages, being the first the construction of the Free Library, the baths were designed by William Hale and Son, and opened their doors on October 30, 1907. There were restrictions to access, as it was common at the time, and three different entrances attest to that: one for first class men, another for second class men, and a third one for women. Its unique architecture and gathering purpose made it the icon of the neighbourhood.
After several years of decline, one of the two swimming pools has been refurbished, restoring its old lustre. Sadly, the Gala pool is still left to degradation. The Birmingham City Council intends to close the Baths permanently in 2015, following the opening of a new sports facility.
This body of work aims to outline the loss of this valuable heritage and also to strengthen the relationship between the pool and its people.
“The swimmers” were immortalized in an atmosphere inspired by the butterfly and its cocoon. This temporary skin provides the butterfly with enough energy for a new life. In the same way, in this imaginary world, the users are gripping the swimming pool’s essence, keeping the heritage alive.