As the writer saw in the first hour over a hundred local people flocking into Stirchley’s restored Edwardian Baths, their new community hub, with more coming through the door as she left, she remembered one resident’s words in Stirchley online:
Stirchley is a unique community. It must be one of the only remaining Edwardian designed High Streets left in Birmingham still mostly populated by independent traders of all descriptions.
Around this high street are hundreds of affordable owner occupied households of all age groups and ethnicities.
Its residents generally display the old Brummie attributes of being amiable, tolerant and willing to work with each other.
It has parkland aplenty, great public transport routes and is as much alive at night as it is in the daytime.
Stirchley Baths is a Grade II listed building, built in 1910 and closed to the public since 1988. Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet approved plans to transform the building into a community hub in 2012. It has ‘re-emerged’ with a community hall, meeting rooms, cinema space and training rooms. Its café will be run by Change Kitchen, well-known in the city centre, an imaginative choice.
Stirchley groups who intend to use the hub include established leisure, karate, arts and crafts groups, heritage initiatives, film nights and the monthly Stirchley community market. Three enquiries have been received from couples hoping to have their wedding receptions there.
The question stands: how and why has the community spirit evident in Stirchley and neighbouring Bournville developed?
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