When asking around for examples of outstanding community hubs in Birmingham, one place was recommended to me more than any other – Stirchley Baths. Built as Bourneville Lane Swimming Baths in 1910 on land donated by the Cadbury brothers, the building was regularly used by workers at the chocolate factory which stands less than a mile away. Generations learnt to swim there as the community grew from a small village to a lively suburb of Birmingham until cuts let to its permanent closure in 1988. By 2012, the only water inside the pool was from puddles of rain that leaked in through a roof that had long been stripped of its tiles by thieves. Standing on a major artery into the city centre the listed building had become an eyesore, and it was looking like a matter of time before it would be demolished. Managed serendipity ‘I’m a believer in … (To read the full article, subscribe below)

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