A “Virtual” Tour of The Back to Backs – part 2



A Virtual Tour of the Back to Backs – part 2

In our introduction to our “Virtual” Tour of The Backs to Backs we looked at one of the houses, No 50 Inge Street, from outside. To the left of that house you can see two more similar houses, facing Inge Street, with the entry to the courtyard in between. These were built by the same John Wilmore about 20 years after the first house. Then if we look at the Hurst Street side you’ll see five more houses. You may say that they don’t look like houses – in fact they are shops. However, when they were built in the 1830s they were all houses.

This is the extent of the buildings that are known as the Back to Backs – the buildings that are in red brick.

But it is what lies behind these facades that makes this a truly fascinating place.

The first court of Back to Back houses in Birmingham were built on land close to Pinfold Street, in Queen Street, which was where New Street Station now stands. They were built by a John Lewis at the end of the 18th century, and it is ironic that if you walk down Pinfold Street now, you’ll see in the distance Grand Central, a shopping centre in which there is a store with the familiar name of …. John Lewis.

Sketch of how Court 15 may have looked during the mid 19th century.
Court 15 – taken in 2017