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Saltley / Duddeston & Nechells Area

Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
Duddeston development in the 1960s. Interesting design in the first photo compared to many other blocks built around the same time. There seems to have been some attempt to include a few unexpected architectural details including the stairwell tucked into the building, the two-sided, corner balconies to give two very different views and overall shape/footprint. Viv.

1964
6DFEFCE3-E2EA-451B-AD11-40A0717C8EB0.jpeg


1968
19901E43-DAF1-4F80-9048-29E586D72124.jpegSource: Birmingham Mail Archives
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
They were built in the late 1950’s. I recall it may have been Harold Macmillan who officially opened them. The styles of these flats were based on our naval heritage, so when you look at them side on, they resemble the bridge of a ship, with portholes down either side and railings around the roof.

Each block had 7 staircases, 2 for communal access and five as fire escapes. When built, the site had a district heating scheme with central coalfired boilers and an unusual waste disposal system called the “Garchey system” devised by Louis Garchey, a Frenchman.

The original plans also included a communal laundrette, wood and metalwork workshops and a theatre. These never got built.

They were amazingly expensive to build and were of their time.
 
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Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
Interesting background Mort, thanks.
I see from Pete’s current view the buildings are still there and being well maintained. Looks like they house a considerable number of people. Viv.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
The Garchey system sounds similar to that in quarrey hill flats in leeds which were begun pre war. There, I think waste was presseddried and used as fuel
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
In the Duddeston Blocks the waste was spun dry and then burnt in a gas fired incinerator. It did not add any heat to the district heating system and seemed quite inefficient. It used to small awful, was quite labour intensive and all the ash had to be winched out of the basement and disposed of.

Matthew Hall Ltd modified the process by sucking the wet waste up into a road tanker that had a hydraulic ram that compressed the waste into a sold block, that was dumped at the local tip.
 

MWS

master brummie
Between 1871 and 1891 my great grandfather and 4 of his brothers all moved to the Duddeston area from Oxfordshire.

Not worked out as good as I'd hoped but this is a map of Duddeston, Nechells and Saltley showing how they and their children moved around the area (at each census) until 1921...

Duddeston Nechells & Saltley.jpg
 

brummy-lad

master brummie
Brilliant idea, can you imagine our future generation attempting something like this, it would basically be a world map.
 
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MWS

master brummie
You're right there. Can't be many people who don't have fairly close relatives living in a different country nowadays.

I was gonna make my map a little wider but I wasn't sure if the roads would be recognisable.
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Surely this is the old brewery on Cato St. . Where the hell is Weston St. I thought perhaps it was a renamed street, but doesn't seem to be one on Google maps near Cato St
 

Tinpot

master brummie
Between 1871 and 1891 my great grandfather and 4 of his brothers all moved to the Duddeston area from Oxfordshire.

Not worked out as good as I'd hoped but this is a map of Duddeston, Nechells and Saltley showing how they and their children moved around the area (at each census) until 1921...

View attachment 170004
One of the things that has surprised me as I have been seeking my Ford family roots is how much people seemed to be churning around in a small area of the city. In my case that is Small Heath. I suppose that moving was easier because most properties were rented.
 
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