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Birmingham Back-to-Backs

abigailcasson

Brummie babby
Hi all!

I am looking for information about the people who once resided in what is now the National Trust's Back-to-Back property at the corner of Inge Street and Hurst Street. The National Trust gives some information on the Mitchell's, the Oldfield's, and claims that a Jewish family, the Levy's, also lived there. I have looked through some of the census records and cannot seem to find any record of the Mitchell's living in Court 15, only at 24 Hurst Street and 53 Inge Street! As for the Levy's, the record shows that they lived at 28 Hurst Street, not in the NT property itself!

I am writing a project for a National Trust internship on "home beyond the four walls" and was hoping to find some evidence of community formed in the courtyards of the back-to-back homes. If anyone has any information regarding the NT property, or stories of community in any Birmingham back-to-back then I would be very grateful to hear it.

Thank you!
 

mw0njm.

Brummie Dude
Hi all!

I am looking for information about the people who once resided in what is now the National Trust's Back-to-Back property at the corner of Inge Street and Hurst Street. The National Trust gives some information on the Mitchell's, the Oldfield's, and claims that a Jewish family, the Levy's, also lived there. I have looked through some of the census records and cannot seem to find any record of the Mitchell's living in Court 15, only at 24 Hurst Street and 53 Inge Street! As for the Levy's, the record shows that they lived at 28 Hurst Street, not in the NT property itself!

I am writing a project for a National Trust internship on "home beyond the four walls" and was hoping to find some evidence of community formed in the courtyards of the back-to-back homes. If anyone has any information regarding the NT property, or stories of community in any Birmingham back-to-back then I would be very grateful to hear it.

Thank you!
i lived in a back to back in nechells. it had 2 small bedrooms.1 small living room,a very small kitchen. just enough room for one at the brown sink.no loo. it was down the road in a courtyard.next to a brew house were mom did the washing we had a bath on a sunday night in front of a black cast iron range. and slept in a big bed. freezing in the winter. a x army greatcoat on the bed on top of a feather eiderdown. one night the ceiling fell on us. if you wanted a wiz,it was in a po.then in the morning it was emptied into a bucket,and dumped down the loo.you could hear the rats running around the roof space
only too glad they did not land on us when the ceiling fell down. good old days you must be joking
 

abigailcasson

Brummie babby
i lived in a back to back in nechells. it had 2 small bedrooms.1 small living room,a very small kitchen. just enough room for one at the brown sink.no loo. it was down the road in a courtyard.next to a brew house were mom did the washing we had a bath on a sunday night in front of a black cast iron range. and slept in a big bed. freezing in the winter. a x army greatcoat on the bed on top of a feather eiderdown. one night the ceiling fell on us. if you wanted a wiz,it was in a po.then in the morning it was emptied into a bucket,and dumped down the loo.you could hear the rats running around the roof space
only too glad they did not land on us when the ceiling fell down. good old days you must be joking
Thanks so much for this, Pete. This gives me a real insight into what it was like - I often find that the National Trust can romanticise the past. What a terribly tough time... Thanks again.
 

mw0njm.

Brummie Dude
Thanks so much for this, Pete. This gives me a real insight into what it was like - I often find that the National Trust can romanticise the past. What a terribly tough time... Thanks again.
i was talking to a woman from the nt. at chirk castle she said did we go to the btb houses in brum,...GO i said i lived in one, she shut up like a clam.
 
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Radiorails

master brummie
That reminds me of CRB checks. I was told, last year, that mine needed renewing, although I have held one (and its predecessor) for some years. I was told it was to protect old and vulnerable folk. Really! I replied, well you are talking to one. Subject changed. :)
 

Journey66

Brummie babby
The Back to Backs in Hurst street Brum, My father made the windows for these (by hand) when they were refurbished by the British heratage. about 20 years ago. My father David Hurst is an excellent joiner although just entering his 80's now he is a staunch Brummie!
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
welcome to the forum journey66 your dad certainly made a good job of those windows...cant beat hand made craftmanship but sadly something we do not see enough of these days...enjoy the forum

lyn
 

cookie273uk

master brummie
My late Wife and I lived in a back house in the 50's in a court yard in Aston, a living room a bedroom and a leaking attic it was terrible, rotting window frames, damp with peeling wallpaper, mildew, outside toilets, 4 shared by 12 houses, freezing cold in the winter. The only good thing was the cheap rent allowing us to save a deposit for a 'real' house that much quicker, it was paradise to have a kitchen, bathroom indoor toilet 3 bedrooms and warmth. Those restored houses in Hurst Street are nothing like the real thing, they are practically rebuilt. Eric
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
hi eric i think journey66 could be referring to the properties on the front including the 3 houses you can pay to stay which of course would have to be made liveable hence a bit of renovation.. the actual back houses in the courtyard that the public can tour round i believe are more or less the same now as the day the last people moved out of them....minus the mice..rats dirty sewer water and bed bugs...i dont think any of us would like to see those back again :rolleyes: :D but you are quite right of course..life in a back to back was not easy and not very pleasant...i was born in one...

lyn
 
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cookie273uk

master brummie
Lyn, my Wife was born in a back house in Aston in 1928, but I was born in a 'proper' house in Aston (queens road in 1930) next door to Atkinsons Brewery,' things have certainly changed since then. Eric
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
hello eric hope you are keeping well...yes things have certainly moved on from shared toilets down the yard and no running hot water and in our case no kitchen...the cooker was up the corner in the tiny living room...just a small scullery at the other end...always kept clean and tidy and the thing is we all got by...we had to..thats how it was in those days..its history...take care eric

lyn
 

Nico

master brummie
As a little lad, my mum used to talk about back to back houses. I thought she just meant someone behind your garden without a jitty. Ha! I didn't realise they were literally back to back. My Nan's cousin lived in one, you came out of the back door, 2 paces and there was the outside (the only) WC. A little L shaped yard with high brick walls, and as deep as the WC in length and she had a tiny washing line there in the gloom. The shared washrooms were in a tin hut a good walk across a wide cinder path at the front between two rows of houses. She had a front garden for vegetables and flowers. At my in law's in France the houses next door are literally back to back, 'stuck' to each other, one has no front and one as no back. How lucky we are.
 

mw0njm.

Brummie Dude
Lyn, my Wife was born in a back house in Aston in 1928, but I was born in a 'proper' house in Aston (queens road in 1930) next door to Atkinsons Brewery,' things have certainly changed since then. Eric
we lived in a back to back. "it was a proper house".but was joined back to back instead of side:( by side
 

Nico

master brummie
Yes indeed. I was bitten in a guest house two years ago. Very disturbing. That wasn't a back to back it was in the country. A A big detached. How were they got rid off years ago do you know?
 

mw0njm.

Brummie Dude
Yes indeed. I was bitten in a guest house two years ago. Very disturbing. That wasn't a back to back it was in the country. A A big detached. How were they got rid off years ago do you know?
i hated them things. being bitten and scratching all day at school.them and plaster beetles loved the old plaster and lath to hide in. dad used a flit, and ddt but it was banned.1589024698880.png
Why bed bugs have made a horrifying comeback - Vox
 

Journey66

Brummie babby
hi eric i think journey66 could be referring to the properties on the front including the 3 houses you can pay to stay which of course would have to be made liveable hence a bit of renovation.. the actual back houses in the courtyard that the public can tour round i believe are more or less the same now as the day the last people moved out of them....minus the mice..rats dirty sewer water and bed bugs...i dont think any of us would like to see those back again :rolleyes: :D but you are quite right of course..life in a back to back was not easy and not very pleasant...i was born in one...

lyn
Hi Guy's

Yes the house's (back to back) with the courtyard are the house that were restored by British heratage these are the ones my father helped to rebuild. They were very specific about who worked on the & they had to be rebuilt using the same hand tool processes. I will be visiting my father soon (hopefully) & will get some more historic photos of these & brum in general to share out.

Best to you all & stay safe!
 

adap2it

master brummie
I took my wife, who is Canadian, to the back to backs on Hurst St, just to give her some idea of what life was like for me growing up in one. She was gobsmacked! Although they were not a true representation of where I lived, they did give her some idea of the size of the rooms and steepness of the stairs going up to the bedrooms, or in my case, the bedroom and the attic. I don't recall having bed bugs, but the damp and freezing cold conditions, I will never forget. The back to backs do not have this added attraction, ha!ha! Life in our house on Paddington St was a story of wanting...we saw many changes for the better while there...black lead grate to a "modern grate" and the most important of all...getting electricity! I believe it was in the late 40's. Up until then, we just had gas lighting and a gas stove. We had no scullery or kitchen, everything was in one room. We had a table in the middle and a cabinet where the food was kept. The gaslight was centered over the table and the mantle would shed over everything when it was "going home"as our mom used to say. Our dad ran wires from the radio battery, all the way up the stairs to the attic where us kids slept, to a torch bulb attached to the wall with a switch. Our house backed on to someones garden in Geach st, so was totally exposed to the elements, resulting in walls that were continually wet and dripping, despite being lined with tar paper under the wallpaper. I could go on...
Dave A
 

Nico

master brummie
Nico, my mother used a bar of wet soap to rub over the mattress to gather them up!!
rayard.
Thank you. I know they hate tea tree oil. My step daughter is convinced she had some too when living in London in a rented flat. An old house converted.
 
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