Birmingham Back To Backs Tour | Visit Birmingham
Birmingham Back to Backs
If you want a completely different tourist experience that will transport you back to the nostalgic days of an industrious Edwardian and Victorian Birmingham this fairly new attraction and fantastic National Trust property is definitely worth a visit and very close to the city centre.
It's great to see these historic worker houses being restored to such realistic standard. Like many of the areas around this part of Birmingham you can really get a taste of what it was like living in the Birmingham Back to Backs through the testing times of the Industrial Revolution.
It's a humbling experience seeing the bath tubs on the walls and tables laid out for dinner. It really is a fascinating walk through time. Outside toilets and blanket divided bedrooms are all on show and poignant reminders of our own progress. You can also see some great memorabilia and interesting bits and pieces from old vacuums to black and white photograph portraits, even a set of fake eyeballs.
The facades to the Front on Hurst Street side stay in keeping with the period and theres a wonderful traditional sweet shop or candy store to our American friends. Guided tours take you on a journey through these worker cottages, thoughtful styling, furniture and the finishing touches make it incredibly realistic and the dingy colours give it an authentic retro look, theres even washed clothes hanging up to dry making it easy to imagine how it was to live there back in the day.
You can also hear recordings of local residents telling their stories of what it was like. It's a snapshot into the lives of the normal working person which makes it so fascinating and enjoyable. The National Trust did a great thing here, it's not just about stately homes. Unfortunately its a tour for the more able as there's tiny narrow steep staircases to navigate and as you would expect from houses of that era the rooms are tiny so don't wear your stilettos.
You have to book in advance so its worth checking the national trust website prior to going for any special offers. The guides are really friendly and know their stuff and you leave with some thought provoking knowledge and facts, its also a great way to experience some social history.
Like the walking tour, walking is probably the best way to get there. It's only five minutes from New Street and within easy walking distance of other bus and railway stations. It can be a bit tricky to park around the site as its mainly on road parking around, however its very hit and miss that you will get a spot.
My advice would be if you have to drive here use the Arcadian car park.
Its situated in the heart of the gay village near the Hippodrome and very close to Chinatown so theres plenty to see and do around the area.
There is a nice bar right right opposite if your killing time waiting for your tour to start.