Back to Backs

In the Studio…. The Back to Backs. I was in a mind experiment mood today. Teasing out memoires of how well I recalled the Back to Back houses that were so common in Birmingham. No reference photo to draw by, it’s all in the mind….

Back to Back Housing in Birmingham

A single door off a street or courtyard into a kitchen – dining – room – pantry – scullery – lounge. Belfast sink with just a cold water tap and a luxurious draining board. Fireplace, range with door off to a winding 180-degree staircase to first floor bedroom. Door off to a winding 180-degree staircase to second floor bedroom.

In the courtyard was a row of loos, 6 or 7. Cisterns (thunder box) with chains and wooden seats on the loo. The posh people had Izal toilet roil, the less posh had newspaper on a nail.

The brewhouse… communal washing boiler, wringer and bike shed.

Birmingham had vast quantities of back to back houses, they were a product of the industrial growth. Other cities developed their own mass social housing solutions, but that’s another story.  

About Morturn

Historian – Photographer – Filmmaker Retired construction professional with a passion for public, social and industrial history. I believe in equality, dignity and integrity for all. Don’t like people who try to belittle the ambitions of others. I am of the opinion that my now life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.
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