A “Virtual” Tour of The Back to Backs – part 17



A Virtual Tour of the Back to Backs – part 17

As we make our way back (literally!) to the Levys’ house we will see on our left the staircase that leads down to the first floor of no 50 Inge Street. Then we pass through a doorway that was re-created when the restoration took place for us to be able to access the “Time Capsule”.

On the left again, there is another staircase going up to the “attic”. The room up there is not now accessible as it is only about 5 feet (about 1.5 metres) high but at one time it had a small circular window in the gable end looking down Inge Street.

Then we arrive in the Levy’s top floor bedroom. Here we see three beds and these would have been occupied by the Levy sons. Their names were Joseph, Morris and Emmanuel. By the mid 1840s their ages would have ranged from 5 to 16 years old.

The Levy family had come up to Birmingham from Clerkenwell in London. At the time it is said that there was a great deal of racial and religious discrimination in London, whereas Birmingham had thrown its arms open to welcome working men and their families to help fuel the growth of the town during the industrial revolution.

Why did Lawrence choose to bring his family to this particular part of the town? Well, although Hurst Street was not a particularly “Jewish” area, the Levys may have known someone living around here. It seems Lawrence was very keen to ensure that his sons got a good education and he would have known that there was a well-respected Hebrew school in Hurst street and a Synagogue nearby.

It turned out that his aspirations for his offspring worked in their favour. Adelaide never married, but she did live to the age of 81. Emanuel, it is rumoured, went to the USA, made a lot of money there and returned to Birmingham, dying when he was 74. Both had long lives compared with many others in Victorian times. Indeed, Lawrence saw his late 70s and Pricilla may have lived into her 90s!

So, what was Lawrence doing for a living?

Panorama of the Levys’ top floor bedroom
The Levy boys’ beds
Levys’ top floor bedroom and work bench