Back to Backs in Birmingham

This is the winner of a Diploma

Court 15 is the last surviving example of early 19th century “back to back” houses in Birmingham, a city which once had thousands such houses. The complex comprises three pairs of back to backs with a terrace of five blind back houses at right angles, arranged around a central court. In response to strong local pressure to preserve the houses and open them to the public, the complex has been turned into an exciting new visitor attraction with strong education and community links. Three houses are also let as holiday cottages, thereby generating income for maintenance.

Birmingham Back to Backs, UK

Furnished and presented in the style of the difference decades, the houses tell the stories of families living in the 1840s, 1870s, 1930s, and 1970s, while drawing on the theme of emigration to Birmingham. The project represents genuine grassroots involvement: the former residents provided detailed information and oral histories to assist in the renovation and interpretation, and over one hundred local people have been trained as guides.

“For the restoration and interpretation of a 19th century courtyard of worker-houses that constitutes a microcosm of the history of Birmingham, and for its transformation into a multi-sensory visitor experience.”

More information