Phoenix from the flames: derelict building to visual highlight

A grant to refurbish a historic building which will rejuvenate the area creating cultural, sporting and recreational opportunities for local people has been received by Birmingham City Council.

The grant of almost £1.2m has been given by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to transform the Grade II listed former Stirchley Baths building into a new Urban Village Hall.
The Urban Village Hall will include activities and community functions. The new-look building will also incorporate a gallery area, meeting rooms, a cafe and classrooms.

Selly Oak District Chair, Cllr Karen McCarthy, said: “I know that Stirchley’s community organisations will be delighted with this news   The bid had strong support from local people and groups, who will be celebrating now that we are one step closer to a multi-purpose venue suitable for all people of all generations.”

The transformed building will become a popular community hub.  From a derelict building comes a visual highlight and a great space which will make a huge contribution to the regeneration of the area and to local people. ”

The project will preserve key historic features, including the original kiosk within the entrance area, the iconic chimney flue, balconies and tiling. There are also plans to reinstate some key lost features, for example the distinctive cupola and clock that faced onto Hazelwell Street.

Reyahn King, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the West Midlands, said: “A prominent local landmark that has fallen into disrepair will be transformed by this project creating a multipurpose centre to serve the local community’s present and future needs while preserving original features of the historic baths.”

Peter Walker, Chair of Stirchley Neighbourhood Forum, said: “It now seems very real that the idea of a building in the heart of Stirchley that will promote community spirit and support cultural and creative activities is becoming a possibility.

“This project has always been a collaborative affair where local people have always had a voice and have always been listened to.  I’m pleased to be part of something that will benefit local people and keeps a beautiful local building in use.”

Ends.

For more media information contact Karen Blanchette on 0121 303 6969.

Note to editors
•    The Stirchley Public Baths building was designed by architect John Osborne and built a local builder Mr E Crowder for the total sum of £10,000. The baths opened in 1910.

•    Stirchley was originally a village which developed into a residential suburb during the late Victorian and Edwardian period and the baths provided a valuable community facility for a rapidly expanding local population many of whom were working for Cadbury’s at their factory in nearby Bournville.

•    The land was made available by Cadbury’s to the King Norton and Northfield Urban District Council and the building was financed by the Local Government Board.

•    The baths remained in use until 1988 but falling attendance compounded by severe structural problems with the building led to their closure in that year. The building has been closed ever since.

•    The City Council worked closely with Birmingham Museums Trust in developing the project to optimise the heritage potential of the site.

•    About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 35,000 projects, allocating more than £5.5billion across the UK. Website: www.hlf.org.uk

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