Birmingham – Sparkhill Baths

The following is taken directly from The City of Birmingham Baths Department 1851 – 1951. The work was written and compiled by J. Moth M.N.A.B.S Birmingham 1951 and is presented here.

Sparkhill BathsIn February, 1927, a Memorial was presented to the City Council pressing for the erection of baths in the Sparkhill district. A scheme had already been considered and approved by the Council in 1923 for a bath to be built in this area, as an Unemployed Relief Work, but this had been postponed due to the fact that all skilled labour was at the time required for house building.

With a view to providing an establishment of the most up-to-date design on a site acquired in the busy Stratford Road, the Baths Committee visited other towns to examine the latest types of baths built, and furthermore, travelled to the Continent, where, particularly in Germany, much useful information was obtained.

Sparkhill Baths Learners and Large SwimSparkhill Baths, opened on 29th July, 1931, is an establishment of which the Department is rightly proud. The building is of brick, relieved with reconstructed stone, and has a frontage to the main road of 126ft. The main swimming pool is 100ft. by 35ft., and has a depth of 9ft. at one end and 3ft. 6in, at the other. An interesting feature is the learners’ pool situated near the Entrance Hall, specially suited for the use of children, which is 32ft. by 21ft. 4in. and has a depth ranging from 2ft. 1in, at the shallow end to 3ft. 6in. at the deep end.

There are 160 dressing boxes, 80 on each side of the building; these do not front on to the main swimming pool, but are ranged along corridors running parallel with the bath, and bathers enter from their respective sides under archways situated opposite the centre.

In addition to the main swimming and learners’ pools, there are excellent suites of washing baths for men and women, and a cafe where light refreshments may be obtained.

The premises have recently been modernised by the introduction of up-to-date lighting, and the application of acoustic treatment in the bath Halls.


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One Response to “Birmingham – Sparkhill Baths”

  1. Raymond Gooden says:

    Sparkhill Baths was a wonderful place where I spent many, many hours of my childhood in the 50s and 60s. I learned to swim at Sparkhill Swimming Club (thanks,Stan, for your patience and help), and Birmingham City Council issued a “free pass” to children who could swim 1 length of the pool (100 ft), so as a child of a working-class family the pool was haven for me, and I spent many hours there every week. The decor of the pool impressive. The changing rooms were self-locking cubicles arranged in rows – boys one side of the pool, girls on the other. When you went in, you selected any vacant cubicle, and after changing you pulled the door closed and left your clothes inside while you swam. When you came out of the pool you had to call for the attendant to open your cubicle door with his key, and to attract his attention you would bang noisily on the grille in the door and shout “Attendant!”. There always seemed to be an icy wind blowing down the aisles between the cubicles, and often my teeth would be chattering as I got back into my cubicle, having spent too long in the pool and what seemed like an eternity waiting for the attendant. The staff were fantastic, how they tolerated me I don’t know. Wonderful facility, great staff, a major part of my childhood that I will always remember. Thanks, Sparkhill Baths, you were a godsend.

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