A “Virtual” Tour of The Back to Backs – part 41




A Virtual Tour of the Back to Backs – part 41

So, we are going to leave George’s house behind us and make one of the most difficult moves from one house to another on our tour. We are, once more, going to use a “secret” door and this one is in the corner of George Mitchell’s attic, but beware – please listen carefully as I will say this only once (to steal a phrase from a well-known TV sit-com). We go through this very small door (probably the smallest we’ve been though); down a step; turn left; though another door; down another step and we’ll find ourselves in the 1970s. And “MIND YOUR HEADS!”

You may notice that having been in the gloomy surroundings at the top of George Mitchells’ 1930s house and memories of a time that included the great depression and the start of World War 2 we have stepped into what seems to be a much colourful and brighter part of our history – the 1970s.

We are in the top of the premises occupied by George Saunders. This, of course is not George’s home, as using back to back houses for residential purposes was banned in Birmingham in 1966. This is the top floor of George’s shop, and it was being used for storage. You can see here some the ephemera that was associated with his business in here.

We will go on to hear plenty about George later in our tour, but what we are going to turn our attention to is the ceiling and the walls.

We may wish to imagine that in the 1950s this room was a child’s bedroom and the walls have been papered with scenes depicting a particular character. A wild west cowboy. This is Roy Rogers who was an American singer, actor, and television star. He was one of the most popular “Western” stars in the 1930s, 40s & 50s. Known as the “King of the Cowboys”, he appeared in over 100 films and numerous radio and television shows. Originally his name was Leonard Slye when he started as an actor in the 1930s, needless to say, he changed it to Roy Rogers. Whilst working on a film which starred Gene Autry in 1938, the production company fell out with Autry and Roy Rogers was catapulted to fame when he stepped into the starring role of the show. But lets’ turn our attention to the wallpaper.

George Saunders’ Top Floor in 2001
George Saunders’ top floor after restoration
George Saunders’ Top Floor Wallpaper
Gene Autry, another of Hollywood’s Singing Cowboys, surrounded by crowds of youngsters outside the Odeon in New Street in the 1950s
Roy Rogers & his horse – Trigger