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Back to backs in Ladywood

brummiebri

New Member
Hi all
I was born and lived the first five years of my life in St Marks Street, Ladywood. My Nan lived in Alexander Street. Even now, 50 years later I can clearly remember the layout of the back to back houses, the yards, the alleys and the streets, but has anyone got pictures of the area from those days (1955 to around 1961). I can remember mom, 'aunty' rose and 'aunty' hilda doing the washing in the scrub house at the end of the yard on a monday morning, with the dolly, the blue cubes and the large wringer. I remember the toilets in the yard (you learnt to whistle from an early age) and the newspaper ripped into squares hanging on the back of the toilet door. As a kid dad would lift me up to see over the bridge and watch the steam trains come down the track, and standing outside the pub with a vimto (and straw) whilst the menfolk were in the pub (cant remember the name of the 'local' sadly). We played at the 'rec' which was a concrete area with a fence round it, though when the big kids come round they would chase us off and we'd be back in the street. Ah, happy days.
i remember when the slums were coming down, auntie rose and auntie hilda moved into the new tower block (Canterbury Tower) but we moved to Northfield and looked out on green fields from our flat - it was like moving to a new country for us !
But i digress. What i'd like is pictures of the area, specifically from around the 50's and early 60's although any from the area when it was still back to backs would be great. can anyone help ?
 

fellowkev

master brummie
Hello Brummiebri,
great story, and very descriptive. My grandfather and all his brothers and sisters lived at 120 St Marks street, the Fellows family. My great grandmother Sarah Fellows lived there until she died in 1948. My Great Uncle Ernie Fellows continued living in the house until just before demolition. He was a big drinker, a lot of fun (I've been told) and seemed to know everyone (a former Navy man). Do you recall the Fellows family? (They were good friends with the Dugmore family and the Morris family)
Ernie Fellows is on the far left in this wedding reception photo (probably at a local pub)

You may have heard of the Morris family--a big Ladywood family. In the photo, Doreen and Son (Clarence Morris) were married in the late 40's. Going from left to right in the picture: Ernie Fellows, and next to the bride--Clarence Morris. bride Doreen, Sarah Fellows Morris (my great aunt), and Clarence Morris.
Have a good day,
Kevin
 
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brummiebri

New Member
Hi fellowkev

sadly I was too young to remember the names of families in the street, though i do remember the family next door to us were the Duffy's, though why that sticks in my head i have no idea. The picture is great, thanks for posting it. You mention Ernie Fellows being a big drinker - chances are he knew my dad, cos he too was a big consumer of the falling down water ! thanks again for the reply.
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
hi brummiebrie
yes i can recall the duffy family when they left the street they moved up into springfield street in ladywood
which was right up the king edwards rd into the small kingedwards rd and around into springfield street;
there was quite afew of them as i recall ; and may be like you i never forgot them because at the time on the old bbc tv;
every week end there was a family programe called the grove family and it always reminded me of the father
so you may have another reason to remember them ; i wonder what as ever happened to them
have a nice day astonian
 

Weoley

knowlegable brummie
My Dad was born in the back to backs of Garbett Street in Ladywood in 1928. My Grandfather's family, name of Brown, had lived in several houses in that street since the 1880s. My Great Grandmother Mary was a Dugmore. My Grandparents, Jack and Laura Brown, moved in several doors down from his family in 1926 when they married. They lived in that same house until about 1960. My Gran said that there was a great community spirit around there, despite the poverty. My Father, Harry Brown, said that my Gran was right about the people, but he was somewhat less nostalgic about the houses. He said that they could be very unpleasant to live in, and he was glad when they were torn down. But I know he missed much of the world he grew up in.
 

brummiebri

New Member
Hi all - thanks for the great memories and reminicenses the thread has created. I do remember a great sense of community spirit even though i was only young when i lived there. Our house had two rooms downstairs (posh !) with a sort of short alley under the stairs between the rooms. One side of this alley had a sink and the other had the oven (i seem to remember). Upstairs were two bedrooms. The bath hung on the back of the stairs door and was used on Sundays for the whole family one at a time, water heated by the kettle on the stove. Ive found a picture of St Marks street in the early sixties in a book about Birmingham then and now, and theres also a great book called 'back to back' about the history of back to backs - its from this that i found out the house i lived in was a converted back to back, where originally two houses were knocked into one by creating the understairs link and knocking a door into one bedroom at the top of the stairs.
Thanks again, and keep those memories coming !
 

anitaszaban

knowlegable brummie
Hi, Hpw did the back to backs numbering system with courts work ? Im looking for 7/10 ridley street, I have seen a picture of ridley street but it just says Court one ?
thanks Anita x
 

anitaszaban

knowlegable brummie
ridley street , court one.jpg

Hi, How did the back to backs numbering system with courts work ?
Im looking for 7/10 ridley street,
I have seen a picture of ridley street but it just says Court one ?<br>thanks Anita x
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
If it is described correctly then 7/10 refers to no 7 court 10. Ridley St, which is a short street continuation of Upper Gough St. Up to sometime between 1892 and 1895 it was named Latimer St. Presumably the name was changed as there was another Latimer st not far away . As such it is shown on the map c 1889 below. Being a short street, there is not room for 10 courts, and I can find no evidence that there were ever listed other than courts 1,2 & 3 in the street. Could this therefore be a miss-transcription from the census .

map_c_1889_latimer_st__later_Ridley_St.jpg
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
Hi does anybody remember the Gough arms pub in Gough street or anybody got a picture of it also recall the hawks family
Namely Albert hawks in the thirty fortys period is parents was there until at least 1962
Very much appreciated if any info can be provided. Astonian
 

mhemery

master brummie
If it is described correctly then 7/10 refers to no 7 court 10. Ridley St, which is a short street continuation of Upper Gough St. Up to sometime between 1892 and 1895 it was named Latimer St. Presumably the name was changed as there was another Latimer st not far away . As such it is shown on the map c 1889 below. Being a short street, there is not room for 10 courts, and I can find no evidence that there were ever listed other than courts 1,2 & 3 in the street. Could this therefore be a miss-transcription from the census .

map_c_1889_latimer_st__later_Ridley_St.jpg

Could it also refer to house no 7 back of house 10, 10 being one of the houses at the side of the entry. Michael
 

anitaszaban

knowlegable brummie
Thankyou for responding, in the newspaper cutting of the death it says 7 back of 10 ridley street, on the marriage certificate it also states 7/10 ridley street.
In the coroners report it states the neighbour living at 6 back of 9. so sometimes it says back of and sometimes 7/10. the only photograph I find is of a court ?
on my nans birth certificate it says she was born ridley street too ?? im confused :ambivalence:
 

anitaszaban

knowlegable brummie
Hi im part of the pillinger family, not sure if its the one your family new of, can I have more details pls x
 

mhemery

master brummie
Thankyou for responding, in the newspaper cutting of the death it says 7 back of 10 ridley street, on the marriage certificate it also states 7/10 ridley street.
In the coroners report it states the neighbour living at 6 back of 9. so sometimes it says back of and sometimes 7/10. the only photograph I find is of a court ?
on my nans birth certificate it says she was born ridley street too ?? im confused :ambivalence:

I think the 9 and 10 refer to the houses either side of the entrance to court 1 as going by mikes map, only that court has 7 houses in it,
if you could enlarge the photo of court 1 you have to show the door no,s you could work out which way they run. 6 and 7 could be the houses in the far corner. Michael
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
The numbering of the houses in 1920 (from electoral roll) is as below, which does not quite fit , However, if court 1 was numbered from right to left on the map below, then no 7 court 1 would be behind no 10 Ridley road. This is not the usually found nomenclature, but would fit.

map_c_1889_latimer_st__later_Ridley_St_SHOWING_NUMBERING_IN_1920.jpg
 

anitaszaban

knowlegable brummie
Thankyou mikejee , Someone else has just told me that house no 1 would be on the opposite side of the court 1 then you count up,
which would mean 7 would be out of view just on the missing corner?

She said it can be worked out with the toilet blocks ?
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
By "missing corner", do you mean at the top of the map? It is not clear from the map I put on earlier (sorry) but this would have been a different court, separated by a wall. I show a map below covering a larger area. It can be seen that there is a separate entrance to this court (marked with a red arrow), and it would have been listed as a court on Washington St.

map_c_1889_area_around_latimer_2Cor_Ridley2C_st.jpg
 

anitaszaban

knowlegable brummie
ridley street , court one.jpg



where the red arrow is there are a block of 4 to the right, I was told the one closest to the toilet block ? is number 7 ? but I cant work all these numbers out lol
obviously you seem to know what your talking about . thankyou . this picture is of court one, I was trying to work out the house numbers.
 
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