Thursday, 16 October 2014

Busy Day.

This was to be a busy day.  We wanted to go visit the Back-to-Back Houses, I had found them on the web,  taking instructions, off we went to find them.  
Not nearly as easy as it sounds. Getting almost lost fairly quickly, then the first problem finding a local, all the people I asked were visitors to the city, then when I found a resident, no one knew but finally a little old lady with a drag along shopping basket knew generally where they were so full of trust we followed her instructions. She was correct.
Finally finally we got there in a circular route.  

Its yet another National Trust Property, "Frequent Flyers" here will know that we gave up our membership this summer and since then we have been to a string of their properties after having only been to one in about the previous 18 months.

The Back to Back's were houses built without back doors, your back wall was the neighbours front room wall too.  I am not aware that these types of houses were built in the south as we didn't have the heavy industry there and the need to house a lot of people quickly and cheaply.
They are an amazing slice of our national history, I had never seen the like before. 

This is the outside corner of the block, the end ones are converted into holiday lets by the NT

The sweet shop was there from the 1930's for years.

So this is the inside of the corner block around a yard

A couple of "Thunder Boxes" and a washing clothes area

Early range

The house is restored to 1830 when it was built. Stencilled walls.

Bedroom for their three boys in 1830's

Table done from the 1930's. Look mum, sterilised milk!!

Next to the Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery.  Oh my what a building, the museum have the back half of the Council Offices.  Another amazing slice of history. Even the floors are tremendous.   We went into the History of Birmingham exhibition first which talked about all the crafts and manufacturing that Birmingham was world famous for, and in the case of pen nibs, a world leader making almost all them, they supplied the whole world literally.  Very very interesting it was too.

This beautiful installation is made entirely of chains.

Chains were made in the Black Country

Examples of stunning buttons.

Buttons made from shell, made by ladies mostly for very low wages

Then downstairs to see my fav's The Pre-Raphilities paintings that I have waited sooooooo many years to see.  A marvellous collection they have here.  These 'modern horrors' were not immediately recognised by society however they were often collected by factory owners in the new cities of the north (New money and all that), hence such a great collection here.  David did once take me to Lady Lever Art Gallery at Port Sunlight, it was miles out of our way home from the Lake Distict but the art there was also wonderful.  He was feeling very kind and generous that day, then there were traffic jams and we got home about 2am.  He hasn't taken me back there since.
Here are one or two of them from today that I loved.

"A Day Trip to Brighton" in an open carriage.

The Last of England.look carefully to see the lady holding her child's hand under her coat as they set off for a new life.

The Long Engagement

A Christmas Carol at Bracken Dene.

"The Pretty Baa-Lambs"

"The Prescribed Royalist"

Love this, is an engaged couple, him trying to feel her face prior to marriage, a scene witnessed by the painter  in Cairo, William Holman Hunt.

Great picture but I mangled the photo, "Inside the Harem"

Council Offices to the south and the BRILLIANT gallery to the north

In the background is the Worlds biggest JL which I would have liked however not yet opened, and in the foreground is a snippet of old Birmingham been left, for now.

Dinner was in Carluccio's where the duck pate was delicious as was the Italian sausage pasta.  Pudding of course, Tiramisu, I sample this wherever I go in the interests of research. 

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