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Walter the Whale

August 15, 2023

Walter the Whale (Redux)
By Dave Swingle & General Public
Curated by Tim Mills

There’s something fishy occurring at the Moseley Road Baths; come visit us, have a look around and you will see an inflatable whale named Walter.

Walter has a long association with Balsall Heath. Originally, he was an enormous sculpture at Malvern Street Adventure Playground. Initiated by play worker Dave Swingle in 1979, the Walter the Whale sculpture was an environmental project aimed at recycling metal bed springs & chain link fencing to forma structure which was then covered in concrete. The project was sponsored by local building companies. Playground children were involved in a two-week project which led on to the building of the structure.

Artists General Public, led by Elizabeth Rowe and Chris Poolman, discovered Walter the Whale as part of their Let Us Play project. Dave Swingle kept photographic and written material that offered new
perspectives on the history of play within the city, including archive material relating to Balsall Heath’s Malvern Street playground – and Walter the Whale.

Artist and Curator Tim Mills worked with General Public to create an inflatable Walter, referencing the apparatus of a swimming pool and a playful nod to the importance of water in our lives. Everyone has a relationship to water as a necessary requirement to life. It’s value as a means of washing and recreation are directly linked to the history of Moseley Road Baths. Running alongside the Living Room Project, Walter will be on display daily from 10.00am  in
our iconic Gala Pool.

Images courtesy of Tim Mills and General Public.

#bhamcitycouncil #historicengland #Historicenglandm #NationalLotteryHeritageFund #HeritageFund #NationalTrust #ntmidlands #WorldMonuments #walterthewhale

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