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Back to Back houses today

GER22VAN

master brummie
I seem to remember some years ago seeing a back to back very simular to what I remember just off Havelock Road or Phillimore Road in Saltley.
 
J

Janet Holmes

Guest
Ours was a 2 up 2 down and was no 4 of 8 which were built behind the street houses (in our case No 34). We had a tiny patch of garden at the front, the front room had a big black cast iron fire grate with doors, and the kettle was always on. We had a sink in the kitchen and the cupboard was used as a coalhouse, also a fire grate which I dont remember ever being used. The front bedroom was used by my parents and the back bedroom was for me and my brothers and sister. Amazing that we all squeezed in!. They were demolished around 1968.
 

Phil

Gone, but not forgotten.
Hi Janet

So you had a front door and a back door, so not really a back to back more of a back house or a court house if the access was down an entry it would have been known as a tunnel house. A lot of these type houses that were known as tunnel houses were opened up in later years by the simple means of demolishing one of the houses that were fronting the street.

Phil
 

phillip bates

knowlegable brummie
hi phil

so what are the chances of a tunnel house being one of the back to back houses that had been modernised, or are they a completely different design ?
I have read the book by Carl Chinn, houses for people, and a very good book it is , that's where i read about healing and towing the back to backs, surely there are people about who carried out the work on them, and could tell us what was meant by this.
I also read about the nettlefold houses, where houses were demolished to create an open court to allow light and air in.
My grandfather lived in one of these in Friston street so if anyone has any photos or can remember them please post, i would be grateful
 

Phil

Gone, but not forgotten.
Phillip,

I'm no expert in repairs to the housing stock at that time but I think Healing & Towing entailed doing some structural repairs to houses that were compulsory purchased by the Council so that they would remain standing at least until it was time to demolish them. Such as the first two photo examples. The third photo shows an example of a court that had been opened up by means of demolishing a house on the street frontage.This sort of thing was done at a much earlier date in the hopes it would let a little light and air in to these courts.

About your question concerning tunnel houses, all I can say it is possible anything is possible. The back to back I lived in at Francis St was street fronting but the house that was against the back of ours and five more in the court were all back to back and were only reachable by an entry that went under my shared bedroom.

Phil
 

Attachments

phillip bates

knowlegable brummie
Thanks Jennyann

I've also seen some photo's of the nettlefold courts of Friston street on the oldladywood site, it is these terraces that I'm looking for .
I know it's pretty remote chance that I'll find anymore photo's of them but this is a good site to ask as it seems there are quite a few people responding to this thread on back to backs.
Anyway it's an interesting subject, it makes a change people talking about working peoples houses rather than the usual high quality architecture that takes up space in books etc.

Phill
 

wessex

master brummie
Not all back to backs were bad.Possibly the style used in parts of Brum were,but stone built ones in Bradford where I lived were great,mine had 3 bedrooms.
If you want to see the style then key in 'hollings street bradford' to google maps.
 

phillip bates

knowlegable brummie
Hi wessex

I've looked at your back to backs in Bradford and they look like they are of the terrace type of house that replaced back to backs, they appear to have a small rear garden which backs on to another back garden this is not really possible with a back to back house.
I know there were back to backs in the northern cities in the mill towns, but i assumed they would have been similar to Birmingham's back to backs especially in in Manchester , Liverpool and Nottingham, etc.
I expect that they have all gone the same way as Brum's but maybe someone out there knows of some survivors.

phill
 

wessex

master brummie
Hi wessex

I've looked at your back to backs in Bradford and they look like they are of the terrace type of house that replaced back to backs, they appear to have a small rear garden which backs on to another back garden this is not really possible with a back to back house.
I know there were back to backs in the northern cities in the mill towns, but i assumed they would have been similar to Birmingham's back to backs especially in in Manchester , Liverpool and Nottingham, etc.
I expect that they have all gone the same way as Brum's but maybe someone out there knows of some survivors.

phill
No garden on mine,it is possible some had gardens of course.Mine backed onto another house.
 

Phil

Gone, but not forgotten.
A good rule of thumb used to decide if a house was a back to back was if you had a front door and a back door. Obviously if your house backed on to another you could not have a back door.

After saying that oddly enough our house had a side door in the entry. I could never work out why, because the single room downstairs was so small there was no need of two entrance doors from the street. Being so small there was always an item of furniture in front of one door so it was never used. It was probably only there to save on brickwork when the house was built.

Phil
 

pmcdermott

master brummie
I lived in a back to back house on sherlock street. we lived there for about 15 years; i loved living in that area, the people where real characters, but i was glad when we where offered a house in st andrews road with a back and front door and a kitchen that you could use without falling down the cellar steps and the possibility of drowning in your own cellar...happy days
 

Phil

Gone, but not forgotten.
pmcdermott

We used to get flooding in our cellar during the winter. If it hadn't have been for this fact we would have used it to live in. It was the biggest room in the house.

Still how many houses in those days could boast their own internal swimming pool.

Phil
 

maggs

master brummie
We used to keep a coconut mat over the cellar head to stop the rain getting in. Can't remember how well it worked, but don't remember having to swim for the coal and slack.
 

pmcdermott

master brummie
We used to keep a coconut mat over the cellar head to stop the rain getting in. Can't remember how well it worked, but don't remember having to swim for the coal and slack.
the water level rose every winter, something to do with the water table in the area rising, if we had coconut it probably would floated down sherlock street:D
 

A Sparks

master brummie
One of my senior school friends lived in a back to back in Wiiliam Street, Lozells (the Newtown side). I think the street was knocked down in the late 60's and they were rehoused in a newly built block of flats.

I can remember it quite well, there were four houses in the 'back' section which you got to up an entry between the main street terrace, each had a small front garden. The front door opened into one room which they used to eat in as there was a small kitchen area at the back. The other room was used as the lounge.
I think there were two bedrooms and a small bathroom/ toilet upstairs - presumably that may have been part of a bedroom area as I imagine the original house wouldn't have had a bathroom?
 

pmcdermott

master brummie
One of my senior school friends lived in a back to back in Wiiliam Street, Lozells (the Newtown side). I think the street was knocked down in the late 60's and they were rehoused in a newly built block of flats.

I can remember it quite well, there were four houses in the 'back' section which you got to up an entry between the main street terrace, each had a small front garden. The front door opened into one room which they used to eat in as there was a small kitchen area at the back. The other room was used as the lounge.
I think there were two bedrooms and a small bathroom/ toilet upstairs - presumably that may have been part of a bedroom area as I imagine the original house wouldn't have had a bathroom?
our back house consisted of one attic, one bedroom, one living room. and the cooker & sink, with one cold water tap was situated in a 4ft by 7ft area on top of the cellar steps; one door into a communal yard, 2 shared toilets across the yard, so you sat with one foot against the door and whistled a tune. we also had a washhouse that 4 houses shared with a big boiler in fr boiling your washing. The attic & bedroom was connected by a single flight of stairs that went straight up the back wall,
 

Phil

Gone, but not forgotten.
pmcdermott

Its sounds as if your house was the same as mine, only ours had no attic and the extra bit of room that enabled us to fit two double beds in our (the kids) bedroom came from the bedroom extending half over the entry.

If you had a large family like ours you would recognise the term topping and tailing in the beds.

Phil
 

maggs

master brummie
pmcdermott, your back to back was identical to the one I grew up in. Never knew what a garden was.:( I would have called that dead posh.
 

pmcdermott

master brummie
pmcdermott

Its sounds as if your house was the same as mine, only ours had no attic and the extra bit of room that enabled us to fit two double beds in our (the kids) bedroom came from the bedroom extending half over the entry.

If you had a large family like ours you would recognise the term topping and tailing in the beds.

Phil
there was eight of us at one time, i know all about topping & tailing, i went to bed one night and there was an almighty crash; the bed collapsed and there i was sat with my head through the slatted headboard i'm lucky i've still got my ears,:D
 
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