Currently the only National Trust property to visit in Birmingham is the Back to Backs on Hurst Street and Inge Street in the Chinese Quarter (near the Birmingham Hippodrome). Soon it might be possible to visit The Roundhouse near Sheepcote Street in Westside (and near the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline). I've not been in either (yet) but have exterior photos.

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Birmingham Back to Backs

The Back to Backs is located at 55 to 63 Hurst Street and 50 to 54 Inge Street in what is now Southside or the Chinese Quarter. The National Trust has run it as a museum since 2004. They are the only surviving back to backs of it's kind in Birmingham. The rest was long since demolished. Modern apartment buildings with shops now surrounds this block. I've not yet myself been inside of them, but hope to do so one day in the near future.

The Back to Backs was Grade II listed in 1988. Acording to the listing, the court of housing originally dated back to 1789, with alterations in the 19th and 20th centuries. Built of red brick with a Welsh slate roof. This block was Court 15. This is the general view from Hurst Street, with Inge Street being down the side.

Back to Backs

A look at the Back to Backs from Inge Street towards The Old Fox pub that is now part of The Arcadian complex in the Chinese Quarter. There is a Subway shop to the right in the modern apartment block. The Inge family owned the land in the late 18th century, who leased the land for the building of these blocks of houses. They owned the west side of the street. The Gooch family owned the east side of Inge Street. Over 500 families had lived in Court 15.

Back to Backs

Another view of the Inge Street side towards The Old Fox. Most residents still lived here until 1966 when they were requested to leave, as they were declared unfit for habitation. In 1995 Birmingham City Council commissioned the City of Hereford Archaeological Unit to survey and record the houses. The Birmingham Conservation Trust in collaboration with S. T. Walker & Duckham restored the buildings and it was opened to the public in 2004. Visits are pre-booked with a guided tour. So assume that you can't just show up and go in without pre-booking.

Back to Backs

A close up look at one of the houses on Inge Street, next to the modern building on the right. This was number 50. Also known as 1 Court 15.

Back to Backs

Those photos above were taken in June 2009, and I haven't really taken many new photos of the Back to Backs since then. During May 2018, the National Trust had altered the sign on the Hurst Street side for Birmingham Pride into the multicoloured gay colours. This was only temporary and when Pride was over, they eventually changed it back to the normal National Trust sign (which is in blue colours).

Back to Backs - National Trust Pride sign

The Roundhouse

For years, I've been wondering what was going to happen to The Roundhouse. I first saw it in 2009 from the Birmingham Canal Navigations when it was derelict. It is a horseshoe shaped building at the corner of Sheepcote Street and St Vincent Street in Ladywood / Westside area of Birmingham City Centre. The National Trust in collaboration with owners the Canal & River Trust are restoring it, and hope to open the venue to the public sometime in 2019.

It is a Grade II* listed building dating to about 1840 (according to the listing). It was built for the London and North Western Railway as a mineral and coal wharf.  Red brick with slate roofs. The National Trust's information says that it was built in 1874, designed by local architect WH Ward, who won a competition organised by the Birmingham Corporation (am not sure which information is correct i.e.1840 or 1874).

The Roundhouse

The Fiddle & Bone pub seen on Sheepcote Street when it was closed for years due to noise complaints from local residents. This view from February 2013. It later reopened in 2015, but it wasn't successful and was replaced by The Distillery in 2017.

The Roundhouse

The corner of the site from St Vincent Street. Sheepcote Street is to the left. The main gate at the corner was usually closed. This view from February 2013, when The Roundhouse was at the time For Sale / To Let. I think at one point part of the site was used by a nursery. A house to the west of here is Grade II listed. Built in 1885 of red brick with some blue trim and slate roofs. The Storage Cottage is also Grade II listed from 1885, red brick and slate roof. That's a little bit further up St Vincent Street.

The Roundhouse

A look through the gates at the courtyard of The Roundhouse. You can clearly see that it looks like a horse shoe! There is a ramp going down with the speed limit at 10 mph. This view also seen from February 2013. The National Trust is spending £2.5 million to restore the 19th century gem from the roof to the cobbles. They are also installing a beautiful 'oriel' window onto the canalside.

The Roundhouse

The Distillery seen at The Roundhouse from the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline during October 2017. The Sheepcote Street bridge is to the right. The pub was the first building to be restored, many years before the National Trust became involved with the building, when the Fiddle & Bone pub as it was reopened in 2015. I was hoping that a Canal Museum could open here, similar to the London Canal Museum (I went there back in August 2015). Perhaps they could have model narrowboats inside, or show how The Roundhouse worked back in it's 19th century heyday.

The Roundhouse

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.