Capital works FAQs
Frequently asked questions around our landmark restoration project. If you have a specific question that’s not covered here, please contact Hilan Gully, Senior Project Coordinator at email@example.com
Moseley Road Baths will be fully closed from 2 October 2023, with this phase of building work due to be completed in Spring 2025.
Building work will start shortly after the Baths close on 2 October 2023. Initially there will be a period of up to 8 weeks to empty the building of its contents, put up scaffold, and prepare for work to start. Timelines are subject to planning permission
Not for a while! The Baths will be closed for swimming and all other forms of public access from 2 October 2023 until at least Spring 2025.
We’ve managed to remain open for swimming during previous building works on site. This time round, the work will be particularly intrusive and taking place in multiple parts of the building at the same time. As anyone who has had building work done at home will know, it’s hard living in a building site. We have therefore decided to close the building fully whilst this phase of work takes place.
While Moseley Road Baths is closed for building works, there are a number of local leisure facilities within a few miles which are available for swimming. These include:
Contractors will be required to keep building work noise to a minimum in accordance with the nature of the works, including working during standard work hours.
For West Midlands travel updates – please visit https://www.tfwm.org.uk/plan-your-journey/ways-to-travel/buses-in-the-west-midlands/
During this phase of works, there will be some building work to both Pool 2 and the Gala Pool, which will consist of laying pipe work for the new air source heat pump which will replace our old steam boilers.
The main works to restore swimming to the Gala Pool and converting Pool 2 into an event space will take place after Spring 2025, when the final phase of building works are likely to be delivered. Please sign up to our mailing list for regular news updates here.
Over the summer we’ve been testing a range of activities in different spaces around the building, thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
This has included Balsall Heath’s pop up ‘Living Room’, our fully-booked programme of hot baths in a re-plumbed Slipper Bath, working with local young people to explore how we can curate and share our heritage, and the Balsall Heath Imaginarium in the Library. All of these pilots are part of testing with our local audiences how fully restored spaces might be used in the future, how we might share the stories of the building and draw inspiration from what we learn.
These pilots will inform the second stage of our major capital application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund in support of the final stage of capital work, and will help inform our future plans for years to come.
Our dryside programme onsite will also wind up in time for closure on 2 October.
From 2 October 2023, the building will be closed to the public. There will be opportunities for hard hat tours with our on site construction partner at certain times of the year during building works. More information will be made available nearer the time on our website and in our newsletter.
Much like at Moseley Road Baths, building works to the Library will be intrusive as we install, among other things, a new mezzanine level which will help to create more space in the library for reading, learning, and community use. As such the Library will close on Saturday 30 September 2023 and will reopen in Spring 2025.
We have started a formal consultation process with our staff, which is ongoing.
We will be pausing the majority of our volunteering when the building closes – our team will be in contact with all of our volunteers over the summer. We are enormously grateful to all of our staff and volunteers for their vital contribution in ensuring the Baths remain open up until 2 October 2023 for swimming and other activities.
We are very grateful to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund (£15.5m) and Birmingham City Council (£3m), whose support has enabled this next phase of work to fully restore and and protect Moseley Road Baths and Balsall Heath Library, now and for future generations.
We’re getting there! Thanks to community campaigning over more than a decade – initiated by the Friends of Moseley Road baths – combined with the collective action of our ‘coalition’ (Moseley Road Baths CIO, Birmingham City Council, the Friends of Moseley Road Baths, Historic England, World Monuments Fund, led by the National Trust), a significant amount of progress has been made. We are in the process of securing funding for the final stage of work, which will see the building fully restored, including the return of swimming to the Gala Pool.
If you would like to donate in support of the project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
YES! As part of the building works, our unreliable steam boilers will be replaced with an air source heat pump that will heat both the swimming pool and the building. Air source heat pumps are a form of green renewable energy that have been proven to work well in a number of other historic pool sites. Along with the introduction of the air source heat pump, we will also improve building insulation to retain heat where needed.
Due to the complexity of works and current funding constraints, we have broken the project into two distinct phases of building construction work.
Phase One (now until Spring 2025)
- Major roof repairs
- Remodelling of the library; introducing a mezzanine floor which will double the space for library users
- Install of new renewable air source heat pump that will replace the steam boilers that heat the pools and both the baths and library buildings
- Introduction of a Café in the second class slipper baths which will be remodelled
- Reinforcement works to the basement
- Install of level access ramps to the front of both buildings
Phase Two (dates tbc)
- Restore swimming to the Gala Pool
- Convert Pool 2 to a permanent dedicated event space with a catering finishing kitchen
- Introduce a Wellbeing Hub in the Women’s Slipper Baths
- Introduce a Gym in the Laundry Room which will be opened to the public for the first time (outside of tours)
- Creation of a community garden landscape at the rear of the baths
Please note these Phase Two works are subject to us securing further funding which we are currently working hard to achieve.
Yes – it’s really important that we create a fully accessible building, both physically, and in terms of the activities that we are able to offer in the future. The restored Baths will include:
- New permanent level access ramps to the front of the Baths and Library
- Introduction of three lifts; two in the baths and one to the new mezzanine level in the library to enable full access to all levels of the buildings
- Resurfacing/level access at the rear of the baths
- Introduction of increased accessible toilet provision, along with two dedicated Changing Places facilities
- Dedicated pool pod equipment to allow for safe access into the water for swimmers
Yes – very much so. The project includes measures to improve the energy usage and environmental credentials of the baths and library where we can appropriately accommodate this in a Grade II* Listed building. Some of the key interventions we are planning to make include:
- Replacing the gas powered steam boilers with an air source heat pump that will reliably heat the building and the pools
- Introduction of a mechanically ventilated heat recovery system that recirculates air through the building, retaining heat where appropriate
- Secondary glazing on some windows where appropriate
- Improving insulation to roofs and renewal of roof finishes to reduce heat loss
- Using low energy lighting throughout the buildings
The total project (phases 1 and 2 combined) is expected to cost £32.7million. This includes full restoration of Moseley Road Baths, and improvements to Balsall Heath Library.
This figure reflects the complex nature of the works, the amount of historic building fabric that needs to be carefully conserved or restored, and a desire to make all parts of the building fit for modern usage, in order to create a sustainable operation into the future.
Funding for the project has so far been received from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, Birmingham City Council, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, the World Monuments Fund and the National Trust.
Together, the Baths and Library are a vital part of Balsall Heath life, serving a brilliant local community, and bringing people together in safe, welcoming spaces that offer activities that benefit health and wellbeing. Their Grade II* listing means that they are among the most important historic buildings in Birmingham, with international significance. We want them to be spaces that local people and the whole city can be proud of.
The design team, responsible for drawing up building plans, is led by Donald Insall architects. The project team also includes Mace Ltd (Project Management services); Max Fordham (Mechanical and Electrical Engineers); Artelia (Quantity Surveyor); Mann Williams (Structural Engineers).