“Sheffield cannot afford to lose anymore of its historical heritage”: Community group continue to campaign to save Birley Spa Bath House

Written by Sophie Watson

The Friends of Birley Spa House are campaigning to save Sheffield’s only Victorian plunge pool.

Birley Spa Bath House, on Birley Spa Lane, Hackenthorpe has fallen into disrepair and is under threat of being sold by Sheffield City Council.

The Community led group are determined to restore the historical building and re-open it for public use.

Fiona Milne, a member of Friends of Birley House Spa Group, said: “Birley Spa is a unique building. Saving it should be of national interest and at least be of city wide interest.

“This place is part of the social history of Sheffield. There are so many layers to Birley Spa. There is the history, the nature, the education and the mental health and wellbeing aspects. Why are we having to argue to save this place?”

Birley Spa Bath House

Last week, the petition set up by the community group to save Birley Spa Bath House passed 1,000 signatures.

The petition currently stands at 1,120 signatures.

In the petition statement, the campaign group said: “It has an incredible history and we, the Friends of Birley Spa, recognise it as a hidden gem that should be restored and adored for future generations. Most of all it is a Community Asset that should remain at the heart of the Community.  It is surrounded by an area of immense natural beauty and biodiversity.

“With continued love, hard work and the right investment it could be a wonderful community hub, providing access to local heritage and nature for people of all ages from Sheffield and beyond.

“In troubled times we see it as key to providing physical, emotional and mental well being. Birley Spa Bath House is currently owned by Sheffield City Council. We passionately believe SCC must guarantee Birley Spa House remains a public, Community asset.”

The group was established in 2018 and have since been committed to the restoration and re-opening of the building.

If the building is to re-open, the community group want the building to be used as a café and or a space for the public to learn about the history of the baths.

Over the last three years, the group has successfully ran Halloween and Christmas fundraisers and offered tours of Birley Spa Heritage open days to the public. The Friends want to continue to run these fundraising events this year.

Lorna Croker and family at the Birley Spa Christmas 2021 fundraiser.

Sheffield Wire contacted Sheffield City Council for a response. At the time of writing no comment has been made.

Victoria Wise and Dale Ashforth, Directors of the Friends of Birley Spa Group, said: “It would be devastating for our community and for our city, if the bathhouse was sold or even knocked down.

“It’s an important insight into our history and a building that can be used by our community and those further afield. Sheffield cannot afford to loose anymore of its historical heritage.”

Lorna Croker, a member of the community group, said: “Birley Spa House is a little piece of history for everyone to enjoy. It’s a lovely place and the work the volunteers do is amazing.”

Julie Windle, another Friends of Birley Spa member, said: “It’s part of our history around this area. Our children both grew up walking and enjoying the woodland around the Bath House. Now, we walk down with our grandchildren.”

Inside Birley Spa Bath House

To sign the petition, click here.

Written by Sophie Watson

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