Artists Juneau Projects have worked with hundreds of local people to create a beautiful hand-painted animation that celebrates Moseley Road Baths and the community that surrounds it. People of all backgrounds and ages attended workshops and made individual frames for the animation by painting over live-action footage of local swimmers. Each frame reflects the memories, personality and style of its local creator. Combined, they create an ever-changing collage of colours, light and water; which also reflects the vibrancy and eclectic nature of Balsall Heath.
This fantastic animation is part of an immersive art installation in the Gala Pool. Viewers are invited to relax on specially created wave furniture and soak up the atmosphere of this unique heritage space, while watching the light from the projected film and newly uncovered windows refracted through multi-coloured translucent decorations.
Specular Reflecular is part of Trust New Art, the National Trust’s programme of contemporary arts and is funded by Arts Council England.
Open 5 – 28 March 2020
Admission is FREE
Gala Pool, Moseley Road Baths, 497 Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, B12 9BX
Wednesdays Midday – 6pm
Thursdays Midday – 6pm
Fridays Midday – 6pm
Saturdays 10am – 4pm
Sundays 10am – 2pm
Please note: there is no step-free access to Moseley Road Baths and the Gala Pool has not yet been adapted for wheelchair users. If you have impaired mobility and wish to visit the exhibition space, please be prepared to navigate steps without a handrail on entrance to the baths.
Talks & Tours
To coincide with the fabulous Specular Reflecular art exhibition, Moseley Road Baths CIO and National Trust are hosting a series of talks exploring the past, present and future of Moseley Road Baths. All talks are free and take place in the Gala Pool, please book in advance.
12 March 7pm – The Future of Moseley Road Baths
Join architect and urban designer Joe Holyoak and Libby Watts of Donald Insall Architects for a talk exploring the recent renovation of the Gala Pool roof; about how the area around Moseley Road Baths became the centre of Balsall Heath, what the Balsall Heath Neighbourhood Plan proposes for Moseley Road, and the changes to Moseley Road that are proposed by the Combined Authority’s Transport for West Midlands.
19 March 7pm – Heritage Talk
Join historian and author Steve Beauchampe for a talk exploring the architectural and social history of Moseley Road Baths, Birmingham’s Edwardian water palace and the oldest operational Grade II* swimming baths in Britain.
26 March 7pm – Artists Talk Specular Reflecular
Juneau Projects will talk about how ‘Specular Reflecular’ was made. The piece involved working with 100s of people in the local community who painted an individual frame of the animation. The artists will also discuss some recent projects where they have worked with different groups to create outcomes such as public artworks, publications and music.
8/15/22 March 11am and 12pm
Join The Friends of Moseley Road Baths for a heritage tour around the gorgeous public and hidden spaces at Moseley Road Baths, and hear the 113-year old story of Birmingham’s Grade II* grandiose Gothic Renaissance swimming baths in Balsall Heath.
Taking in the façade and entrances, reception, slipper baths, pool two, laundry room and tank, machine room and filters, you will learn about the history of this unique heritage swimming pool – finishing in the newly renovated and stunning Gala Pool where you can view art installation Specular Reflecular by Juneau Projects.
Moseley Road Baths & the Gala Pool
Moseley Road Baths is a much loved, internationally important historic masterpiece. Since opening in 1907, the Baths have been at the heart of Balsall Heath life – generations of local people have learned to swim here. The Baths are of international heritage significance. One of the oldest of only six Grade II* listed Baths in the country, the building contains some unique fixtures and fittings, including the only complete set of 46 private wash rooms (slipper baths) and steam drying racks in the country. The First Class or ‘Gala’ Pool has many of its original features including private poolside changing cubicles, spectator gallery and elaborate ironwork. In 2003, the Gala Pool was closed for swimming due to safety concerns and the space fell into disrepair.
Thanks to investment from Historic England and Birmingham City Council the restoration of the Gala Pool roof is now complete, allowing public access into the pool hall once again. Further major repair work is needed to the balconies and the Moseley Road Baths coalition will begin to test and develop an – initially – small range of activities in the Gala Pool space.
a future for the Baths
Moseley Road Baths was for many years under threat of closure. Faced with the potential loss of a cherished community facility, local people campaigned to keep their pool open.
In 2016 a group of organisations came together to form a ‘coalition of the willing’, led by the National Trust, to work alongside Birmingham City Council (who own the building) to reimagine a new future of the Baths with swimming at its heart. Working together, all organisations have contributed over £2m of time, expertise and funding: Historic England kicked off the first phase of work with a major grant to restore the Gala Pool roof, with match funding from Birmingham City Council; the World Monuments Fund is supporting works to the façade of the building; the National Trust is leading the master-planning process; and most importantly of all, Moseley Road Baths CIO is running a swimming offer in Pool 2 aimed at meeting the needs of the local community – all with significant support from a committed group of local volunteers.
Keeping swimming going is just one part of the challenge: a multi-million-pound capital repair programme is needed to repair the building and safeguard its future. Watch this space…
Trust New Art
Since 2009, Trust New Art has been connecting people to National Trust places through contemporary arts. So far we’ve worked with over 300 artists to create new work inspired by our places.
The Story So Far…
We will publish regular updates about Specular Reflecular here, with contributions from artists, participants and people involved in the project. In the meantime you can read the latest news from Moseley Road Baths CIO.
Moseley Road Baths CIO are working with Trust New Art to bring Specular Reflecular to the Gala Pool this March. This immersive art installation by Juneau Projects will celebrate the newly restored Gala Pool with an animation created with local people. We’ve...
Specular Reflecular by Juneau Projects is coming to the Gala Pool this March (see here for more info), celebrating the newly-restored Gala Pool space with an animation created with local people. To mark the occasion, Moseley Road Baths CIO are exploring what the baths...
Moseley Road Baths CIO is seeking to recruit enthusiastic individuals to support the delivery of the ambitious Specular Reflecular Art Project, an exhibition by artists Juneau Projects. This Trust New Art project celebrates the re-opening to the public of the historic...
Thank you to the organisations who have hosted workshops and made this project possible; Moseley Road Baths including the swimming groups, staff and volunteers, Trustees, Friends and the CIO; the Chat and Splash group; Balsall Heath Library; the mac; Clifton Primary School and Parents Group; Percy Shurmer Academy; Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College; the GAP; Balsall Heath Children Action Team Support; Bahu Trust; and Artefact. Special thanks to Moseley Shoals.
And to all of our partners
About the Artists
Juneau Projects are Philip Duckworth and Ben Sadler, an artist duo based in Birmingham. Formed in 2001, they have a proven track record of delivering small, medium and large scale public art projects and commissions both nationally and internationally. Their practice has participation at its core. They have experience of working in Balsall Heath. Their recent work incorporates an interest in heritage and how this can be shared in new ways with a contemporary audience.