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Birmingham city tour, 1968

Ross

Brummie babby
Morning all,

I've been scanning some timetables and things from around the country and came across a Birmingham City Transport leaflet for "Sight-Seeing Tours of City 1968" which I thought you might enjoy.

So, let us head back... It's 1968, the height of the swinging sixties, and Birmingham City Transport would like you to join them as they take you on one of four sightseeing tours.
Forget rioting with the students in Paris, get hip on a brand new Fleetline and enjoy a three-bob trip around the sights of Brum!
Sit back and enjoy the ride...BCT 1968 tour - 0 (cover).jpg
 

Ross

Brummie babby
Four tours to choose from at three bob a trip, or will you go for the full set?

BCT 1968 tour - 0 (index).jpg
 
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Ross

Brummie babby
Tour one takes you to see the south-west of Birmingham, my old stamping grounds.
Be enticed by the Artificial Limb Centre and entranced by the Views of Shenley Court and Weoley Castle [council] Estates!

They haven't quite got the idea, have they?

BCT 1968 tour - 1 (SW).jpg
 

Ross

Brummie babby
Tour two takes you to the east of Brum.
Via Handsworth, which I'm pretty sure has never been east of Brum.
(Their sense of direction was clearly as poor as their idea of what was interesting).

But... Wow! You can see the "site of Salford Bridge Motorway Link, various factories and power station".
Makes it all worthwhile, eh?

BCT 1968 tour - 2 (E).jpg
 

Ross

Brummie babby
Shall we give it another go? Tour 3 takes us south, into the posher bits (maybe).

Hmm.
Camp Hill flyover; the Druids Heath Development; the Ley Hill Development.
Still, at least you pass Cadbury's and Carillion*.

* No, not the bankrupt construction company.

BCT 1968 tour - 3 (S).jpg
 

Ross

Brummie babby
One last chance, eh? Tour 4 takes us north. Sutton Park, maybe?

Umm... Not quite.
Hockley flyover. Six Ways underpass. Witton Cemetery. Castle Vale. Saltley and Nechells gas works.

Oh well.
12 bob wouldn't even have bought us a Midland Red day anywhere ticket (they were 16/- by then) and we've had a few afternoons off the streets, so mustn't grumble, eh?

BCT 1968 tour - 4 (N).jpg
 

Radiorails

master brummie
Whatever the delights, or otherwise, of some of the places on the routes of these tours, it has to be said that whoever the person behind these tours was, he was, undoubtedly, someone very proud of his city.
The tours encompass much of what Birmingham once was - the City of 1000 Trades - but many, at the time, were fast disappearing or had a short life in front of them.
Most tours today focus on a specific theme today (ghosts, canals, prominent buildings etc.), bus these tours gave the the full treatment - beauty spots and blemishes - all of which must have given added interest. Had I lived there I believe I would have been on them. ;)
 

Ross

Brummie babby
To be honest I don't see many of the city's beauty spots in any of those lists. I do see a fair amount of civic "look what we're doing" in the sheer number of council estates being visited and the inclusion of things like Yardley Swan underpass, and I think it's fair to say that these tours weren't aimed at visitors to Brum, so "sight-seeing" is a bit of a misnomer.

I'd go so far as to say these were more propaganda about how wonderful Birmingham's future was going to be (brand new council housing, factories to work in, city centre rebuilding with new Bull Ring etc.) rather than an attempt to show off the city's delights.

And three bob each trip? A round trip on the Outer Circle would have been just as interesting, would have seen more of the character of the city and and would have been unlikely to have cost more than 2/6 even as late as '68!

In fairness I wasn't born until 1970, so perhaps I'm missing something fundamental.
 

Radiorails

master brummie
To be honest I don't see many of the city's beauty spots in any of those lists. I do see a fair amount of civic "look what we're doing" in the sheer number of council estates being visited and the inclusion of things like Yardley Swan underpass, and I think it's fair to say that these tours weren't aimed at visitors to Brum, so "sight-seeing" is a bit of a misnomer.

I'd go so far as to say these were more propaganda about how wonderful Birmingham's future was going to be (brand new council housing, factories to work in, city centre rebuilding with new Bull Ring etc.) rather than an attempt to show off the city's delights.

And three bob each trip? A round trip on the Outer Circle would have been just as interesting, would have seen more of the character of the city and and would have been unlikely to have cost more than 2/6 even as late as '68!

In fairness I wasn't born until 1970, so perhaps I'm missing something fundamental.
I believe you are, but your birth date excuses you. :) The very fabric of Birmingham, factories and back to backs and other sub standard dwellings were, if fact, what made Birmingham. By today's standards much of it was grim, but I would go as far as to say that there was far more neighbourliness in those streets at that time and previously than there is in the manicured gardens (or prevalent brick or tarmac parking spaces) of modern estate roads. Many people only knew about the developments of new housing estates, the demolition of factories and the recent new buildings from news or photographs in the Evening Mail or Despatch. These tours gave them chance to see it all for themselves.
The suburbs, compared to the inner city were nice places - before the blight of road signs and shop signs and hoardings and Bournville was (and still is) delightful. I believe the tours, even if containing a fair amount of propaganda, were an attempt to portray the city as it had been, was and its future - warts and all! At the time the city, its industries and central areas were changing rapidly, I believe it just one form of promoting the city. You have also to realize that many people were only just getting their first car - which often meant getting away from the city and into the countryside - some posters here have admitted that some areas of the city were quite unknown to them and I believe that would apply to very many other folk. Often a distant suburb was only known due to relations, who were visited from time to time, living there.
 
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Ross

Brummie babby
These tours gave them chance to see it all for themselves.
I agree with all you say, Alan, but with one (tiny) caveat about cars. I think that for many Brummies cars weren't a realistic option then and not really for another decade or so; we tend to forget in this age of easy credit and comparatively high pay just how difficult it could be to get the money for even a second/third/fourth-hand car before the liberalisation of the financial industry.

Many Brummies (including my family) didn't get one until well into the 1980s; getting out of the city usually involved red buses (maybe using a £5 Family Weekend ticket) or bicycles (which dates me - who would dare ride a bike, complete with toddler in a child seat, along the A441 or even the country lanes around Wythall or Bartley reser nowadays?)

I'm also well aware of the restricted knowledge of the city and its suburbs that residents had then - indeed they still do now.
How many of Northfield's residents ever go to Lea Hall, or Acocks Green or even Harborne, for example? Like all big cities Brum is really still its constituent villages merged together into what outsiders assume to be a homogeneous mass, but the locals stick in the areas they know.
Heck, even in tiny Lincoln where I am now, uphill residents almost never go further downhill than St Marks and downhill residents almost never go further uphill than the Cathedral area. People stick with their tribe.

Anyway, none of that is disagreeing with you!
 

Phil

Gone, but not forgotten.
I'm just amazed at how many of the places that are pointed out and I knew so well are no longer with us, in only 50 years. I suppose in another 50 there will be nothing of the Birmingham that I remember left, as I won't be around I don't suppose it will matter much to me.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
well phil we have been saying that for years but when you see it black and white you realise just how much we have lost..bought it home to me with a list of pubs i have that were in the 1930s and this was just in the aston and newtown area...i would like to bet that there are not that many pubs left now in the whole of birmingham:(

lyn
 
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