Tag Archives: B30

Time travelling to Stirchley Swimming Baths

I’m interested in all kinds of travel, even the trips you take inside your head. So when the opportunity to visit a local landmark – Stirchley swimming baths where I learnt to swim as a child in 1977 – came up, I was first in line.

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Or rather 20th in line. It seems I wasn’t the only one on a nostalgia trip. Here’s the queue for the Stirchley Baths Open Day. The baths were built in 1910, closed in the 1980s and are about to be converted into a community centre thanks to Tesco’s 30 pieces of silver.

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My B30: Stirchley Community Market

Following on from my joy at my postcode getting a blog called Fuck Yeah Stirchley – thanks to a mention on The Archers – comes the joy of Stirchley Community Market – which earlier this month had its own feature in The Guardian, and fresh from which I am in the door.

Somehow the Stirchley of my childhood – home of skinheads, teds, Bottle Bill, flashers along the River Rea, and getting duffed up in the park – has turned into a name to drop and a place to feature. Even Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture Martin Mullaney was at this little postcode car park market, tucking into a jambalaya and talking about Brum’s potential to become a gastro city.

Why? Why is Stirchley suddenly so, what’s the phrase?, on the radar?

I’m not sure. Maybe someone knows someone at the Guardian – certainly, it’s interesting that the Guardian feature notes the presence of a scriptwriter from The Archers, so there’s a serendipitous link there.

Perhaps it’s the hint of trendier Moseley and Kings Heath vibe, that one of the stall-holders put down to people buying in Stirchley but missing the B13/14 vibe. The Guardian says Stirchley’s “movers and shakers” (lol) are graduates of local universities “who have settled in the area and seem determined to improve it”.

What else can explain bare-footed tuba players and organic veg stalls being held in the car park of Stirchley United Working Men’s Club, of which my dad was a member, where we shared a father-daughter Sunday pint and where his funeral wake was eventually held.

It’s probably no wonder I feel slightly strange and bemused about the national press attention and slightly weird market demographics. But I’m not unhappy. Just a little weirded out.

This feeling is compounded by being served a beautifully handmade Lemon and Earl Grey cup cake by a former prison offender who makes cakes as part of his rehabilitation.

It would seem that Another Stirchley truly is possible!

So here, in lofi mobile camera glory, is the newer, hipper, hippier and right-on Stirchley.

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• The next Stirchley Community Market will be held on 28 September.