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Birmingham Athletic Institute

SandyBrook

knowlegable brummie
Following on from the photo of the BAI building I'm hoping someone will have memories or pictures from the mountaineering courses from the 1960s.

Ive found a brief mention that after a few years these spun off into the formation of the Mercian Mountaineering Club but can't find anything else..

I did a course round about 1964 or 5 and can remember that we did an evening once per week with either instruction on map reading etc and more practical things like practicing rope work by climbing up and down the open 3 floor stairwell using the little bits of tread outside the balustrades.

There were also weekend trips to Wales with a pick up from the Hall of Memory on a Friday evening and return on the Sunday. I recall that the first trip I went on the driver turned up with a brand new coach and was not happy to have a load of slightly scruffy climbers with rucksacks on board his pride and joy.

That first trip I had never been to Wales before and the magic of arriving in the pitch dark to see so many stars was added the next morning by coming out of the youth hostel to a brilliant blue sky and seeing peaks soaring up all around.

I think it was this trip that saw us part way up a scramble ( I.e. You needed to use hands as well as feet) called Bristly Ridge on Remembrance Sunday and we all stopped for the silence at 11 am. As a teenager it was something I'd never really thought about before but have always done since.

Hope this will stir someone else's memories.

Best Regards

Sandy
 

devonjim

master brummie
I remember a climbing club in the 1960's that met in the "Old Contemptibles" in Edmund Street and at the George in Alstonefield. May have been called Birmingham Cave and Crag Club but not sure.
 

SandyBrook

knowlegable brummie
I remember a climbing club in the 1960's that met in the "Old Contemptibles" in Edmund Street and at the George in Alstonefield. May have been called Birmingham Cave and Crag Club but not sure.

Hi Devon Jim, I guess you're another exiled brummie, After many years in Shropshire I'm now up in Ayrshire.

Thanks for your note about the Cave and Crag, I'd forgotten about them and that I once knew someone who was a member. I've just had a look and the club is still going and has a website so some more reading to do.
Thanks again

Sandy
 

G G Jean

Brummy Wench.
Hi Sandy when I was going to Ogwen Cottage from my school [for free] I took part in the club at the BAI . I also was in the dance classes and did a bit of ballet but the exercises were the opposite to when you went horse riding.
 

SandyBrook

knowlegable brummie
Hi Sandy when I was going to Ogwen Cottage from my school [for free] I took part in the club at the BAI . I also was in the dance classes and did a bit of ballet but the exercises were the opposite to when you went horse riding.

Hello G G Jean, Thanks for adding a bit more to the story, I'd forgotten about Ogwen Cottage, was it owned by Birmingham Education at that time as I seem to remember one of the boys from the next year to me at school going there.

He used to come cycling with my mates and was one of the reasons I got interested in mountaineering.

What year did you go to the BAI? I've been trying to work out when I was there but a guess at 1963 or 4 is as close as I can get.

I think I used to met my then girlfriend after work and eat in a Lyons near the Town Hall before going there.

Ive been reading some of the Mercian Mountaineering Club online magazines and was glad to see that their sense of humour hasn't changed over the years

best regards

Sandy
 

farmerdave

master brummie
Hi Sandy. I still have a pamphlet for the Birmingham Athletic Institute for the season 1964-5. The specialist staff for mountaineering were Mr A. H. Boyson and Mr. M. D. Rhodes. Looks as if you probably met on a Thursday evening at John Bright Street. The top-left picture of the front cover of the pamphlet shows mountaineering training taking place. I went there for a couple of years (1964-6) but to practice fencing. Best wishes. Dave.

P1020496 (2).jpg
 

SandyBrook

knowlegable brummie
Hi Sandy. I still have a pamphlet for the Birmingham Athletic Institute for the season 1964-5. The specialist staff for mountaineering were Mr A. H. Boyson and Mr. M. D. Rhodes. Looks as if you probably met on a Thursday evening at John Bright Street. The top-left picture of the front cover of the pamphlet shows mountaineering training taking place. I went there for a couple of years (1964-6) but to practice fencing. Best wishes. Dave.

Hello Dave, thanks for digging that out so quickly with the names, I can remember both the tutors, M D Rhodes must be the one we knew as David but I can't recall what M H Boyson was known as.

I think I used to see people fencing there and did have a thought about giving it a try but other things got in the way. 1964/5 is a possibility for when I was there as I moved to Telford in 1966

Best Regards

Sandy
 

Maria Magenta

master brummie
I went there for dance classes in the 1980s. I didn't know that they did things like climbing and fencing, but perhaps by then it had changed? The building wa sort of behind New Street Station, but it moved in 1985.

maria
 

SandyBrook

knowlegable brummie
I went there for dance classes in the 1980s. I didn't know that they did things like climbing and fencing, but perhaps by then it had changed? The building wa sort of behind New Street Station, but it moved in 1985.

maria

Hello Maria, thanks for the note about the book, I'll try and get hold of a copy.

My memory agrees with your description of 'sort of' behind New Street Station, I must dig out a map and have a look.

I'm beginning to realise what a valuable asset has been lost to future generations as so many of us seem to have been introduced to so many different activities at the BAI.

Best regards

Sandy
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Below is a c1950 map showing its position

map_c_1950_showing_birm_Athletic_Institute.jpg
 

SandyBrook

knowlegable brummie
Below is a c1950 map showing its position

map_c_1950_showing_birm_Athletic_Institute.jpg

Many thanks for the map - my memory of going past what I always thought of as "the far end " of New St Station (Navigation Street really) from where I worked near Snow Hill was about right then.

I wish I'd got some of my own pictures to share but it was in the days when not only did a roll of film last for ages but we did our own processing in "the cupboard under the stairs" so results were a bit iffy to say the least.

Oh well, perhaps best to look back through those rose tinted spectacles.

Best Regards

Sandy
 

G G Jean

Brummy Wench.
Thank you Jim for the lovely book. I have sat outside in the sun today reading it almost from the start to the finish.
 

DRHarris

New Member
Hi Everyone,

I have recently found this article which my dad Mr Eric Harris is named in and was wondering if any of you knew if there was anywhere where i could find out more about it as well as more about Birmingham Athletic Institute of around the same time.

Many Thanks
DavidIMG_7895[1].JPG
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
If you put birmingham athletic institute in the search box a few mentions come up
 

Maria Magenta

master brummie
I did Irish dancing there. In the late 50’s we would also learn dances from lots of European countries at school . Polkas and Mazurska, Scottish dance, Maypole dancing, Viennese Waltz, English Country dancing etc

We also did those dances at school! I really enjoyed them.
In the 80s I did contemporary dance and dance/drama at the BAI with two excellent teachers. When we did the performances, there was one class that did French folk dances.
 
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