Historic baths secures major lottery grant

By on 17/12/2012 in News

A £4 million project to transform the Grade II listed former Stirchley Baths building into a new 'urban village hall' could be set for a £1.2 million boost.

Birmingham City Council has received initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Stirchley Community Hub project and which means they will now apply for a full grant before March 2013.

The project will restore and refurbish the historic building, which has been closed to the public since 1988, transforming the former bath space into a multipurpose hall for sport, recreational 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, is confident the transformed building will become a popular community hub.

Cllr McCarthy said: “This project will transform a sadly derelict building into a visual highlight that will make a huge contribution to the regeneration of the area.

“Stirchley already has a number of local organisations who are actively involved in promoting community spirit and supporting cultural and creative activities. Now the restoration and refurbishment of the baths building will provide a wonderful venue to expand these kinds of activities, including a gallery space for arts and crafts, heritage and history initiatives film nights and learning and outreach work.”

A key element of the project is to get local people involved in the heritage of the building and the surrounding area through a range of programmes and activities, including events and exhibitions, volunteering opportunities, digital social media, formal and informal learning activities.

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: “We're extremely pleased to give initial support to the project, which aims to transform Stirchley Baths into a fantastic for the local community and visitors alike. We shall watch the developing plans with interest.”

Ends

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.

•    *A first-round pass means the project meets HLF criteria for funding and HLF believes the project has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money. The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for a firm award.

•    On occasion, an applicant with a first-round pass will also be awarded development funding towards the development of their scheme.

•    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 33,000 projects, allocating £5billion across the UK. Website: www.hlf.org.uk

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