Another of those historical mystery stories has come to our attention this week. Evidently there is a rumour that the British Olympic team trained at Moseley Rd. Baths for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. (Those Olympics are mainly remembered for the amazing feats of Jesse Owens, the American athlete who broke five world records and equalled a sixth.) Our swimming team did not distinguish itself by winning any medals, so maybe they didn’t get enough training in at Moseley Rd. or elsewhere. Anyway, our correspondents wonder if there could be any truth in the rumour, so we have set the Balsall Heath Local History Society the challenge of looking into this. So far no joy on swimming BUT they did find this in the newspaper archives of the Birmingham Post:
‘The Friends Institute, Moseley Rd., which opened in 1897, was also the home of the Dolobran Athletic Club and was the venue for the first international athletics match between England, Ireland and Scotland in 1900. The Dolobran Athletic club started in Sparkhill in 1884, but by the end of the century it had grown to have almost 700 members. Its president was Barrow Cadbury, Richard Cadbury’s son, and he moved the club to the Friends’ Institute.
It is also thought that the gymnasium was used as a training venue by the British Olympic Teams in 1936.’ We have asked the researchers to stay with this and report again when they have tracked more down.


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