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needless alley

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
Needless Alley has many mentions on the Forum but only one on its own thread. So here is what Showell said in his Dictionary...

Needless Alley is said to have been originally called Needles Alley from a needle makers' shop there.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for raising it Pedro. It deserves some attention.

An evocative photo Lyn. Viv.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Seems the alley might go as far back as medieval times. From Birmingham Conservation Trust:

"This little passage way is a survivor from old Birmingham that has managed to escape the urban planners! For although the buildings around it have changed over the years, the outline of the alley itself still remains as it was. The first mention of Needless Alley was from maps dated from 1731, however, it it likely to have been there much longer, perhaps even as far back as medieval Birmingham. It has been suggested that it is a remnant of Birmingham’s agricultural past, likely to have been fordrough, which is a farm track allowing space for plough teams to turn between medieval fields.

Local historian Chris Upton researched the alley during the late Georgian period and noted that in 1829, for example, a local papers reported that the alley needed to go! The Birmingham Journal dubbed it “needless by name and needless by nature”. Indeed in the Georgian and early Victoria era’s Needless Alley was a “disorderly street”, full of “disorderly houses”. In the summer of 1829 six individuals appeared before the magistrates accused of keeping “disorderly houses”, whilst a woman that also who stood in the dock was described as “a nymph, resident in Needless Alley”.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
great info viv so pleased its still there considering its age...i am sure i had another one or two old photos and please excuse the pun but needless to say if i can find them i will post on this thread

lyn
 

rosie

brummie
I remember a needlework shop in the City, late 1960's, I'm sure it was in Needless Alley.
(My other favourite was Hardwick's in the Arcade.)
rosie.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
I think I remember that too Rosie. Small tapestries in the window spring to mind for some reason. Although I sometimes mix up in my mind Needless Alley with Cannon Street. Viv.
 

A Sparks

master brummie
I remember a needlework shop in the City, late 1960's, I'm sure it was in Needless Alley.
(My other favourite was Hardwick's in the Arcade.)
rosie.
The shop was called The Needlewoman, I remember it very well and can picture the lady who ran it. I used to buy embroidery thread from there
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
To add ‘colour’ to this alleyway, this was its condition in December 1847 - sounds disgusting. Viv.

2012C672-671E-4307-8FB2-B15041CA7702.jpeg
 

ellbrown

ell brown on Flickr
Needless Alley in 2019.

Looking up to Temple Row. Behind me was one of those security barriers.



Pedestrianised at this end. Down to New Street.



On New Street is Watches of Switzerland.




This below on a post from the Birmingham Conservation Trust.

This little passage way is a survivor from old Birmingham that has managed to escape the urban planners! For although the buildings around it have changed over the years, the outline of the alley itself still remains as it was. The first mention of Needless Alley was from maps dated from 1731, however, it it likely to have been there much longer, perhaps even as far back as medieval Birmingham. It has been suggested that it is a remnant of Birmingham’s agricultural past, likely to have been fordrough, which is a farm track allowing space for plough teams to turn between medieval fields.

Local historian Chris Upton researched the alley during the late Georgian period and noted that in 1829, for example, a local papers reported that the alley needed to go! The Birmingham Journal dubbed it “needless by name and needless by nature”. Indeed in the Georgian and early Victoria era’s Needless Alley was a “disorderly street”, full of “disorderly houses”. In the summer of 1829 six individuals appeared before the magistrates accused of keeping “disorderly houses”, whilst a woman that also who stood in the dock was described as “a nymph, resident in Needless Alley”.

Today the alley still provides the adventurous Brummie with a route down to New Street from Colmore Row. Walking down it myself to take this photo I felt like I had gone back in time for a second, it is quite a unique feature compared to the alternative bustling shop lined thoroughfares nearby.
 

oldbrit

OldBrit in Exile
There was a stamp shop around there. Had a penny black in the window one time.
 
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Dave89

master brummie
There was a stamp shop around there. Had a Halfpenny black in the window one time.
Hi Oldbrit,

It was the West End Stamp Company. The other main philately shop in Birmingham
was Margoschis in the Burlington Arcade.

Kind regards
Dave
 

oldbrit

OldBrit in Exile
Hi Oldbrit,

It was the West End Stamp Company. The other main philately shop in Birmingham
was Margoschis in the Burlington Arcade.

Kind regards
Dave
Thanks dave, Collected stamps for years did a lot of business with them Also it was a penny black, very rare in those days
 
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