Jump to content

Old Birmingham pictures from the 60s in colour


PauloBarnesi
 Share

Recommended Posts

47 minutes ago, PauloBarnesi said:

Not sure this has been posted anywhere:

http://epapers.bham.ac.uk/chrysalis.html

Great images of Birmingham, of a world that didn’t exist probably ten years later and of what was the world that was to come

Hey....thanks for sharing.  My first school (St Vincents) was in Duddestin (Vauxhall Grove) and I had my first Villa tat done in Bradford Street!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Urban Renewal was a tragedy for so many cities during that era. 

In Boston, they completely razed the once famous Scollay Square area and the West End for "Improvements".

They replaced the area with concrete Brutalist boxes. Terrible. 

I love these old photos though!

Scollay Square- Looked pretty cool, right? My grandmother worked as a coat check girl at one of the bars down there. When my Dad was old enough, he'd pick her up after work, cuz my grandfather would always be too drunk to drive...

 

Edited by maqroll
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Luftwaffe contributed to a lot of the demand for "improvements" to a lot of the major cities in the UK.  They dropped a couple of thousand tons of bombs on Brum and practically wiped Coventry and Hull off the map. East London got royally flattened too. Then it all needed rebuilding quickly by a government who didn't have any money.  Concrete cubes flew up.  Quite why the same happened on that side of the pond where there was zero bomb damage and a booming economy is beyond me, but a lot of that is just the fact that I really dislike brutalism. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The West End, when they razed it, was considered to be a run down immigrant enclave, and Scollay Square was one of two downtown areas known for vice. So the reasons for their destruction were very political. They also thought it was a good idea to put an eight lane freeway right through downtown, completely cutting off the North End, which is our Little Italy. The debacle that ensued over the next 40 years led to The Big Dig, what is, to this day, still the country's most expensive public works project. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, The_Rev said:

The Luftwaffe contributed to a lot of the demand for "improvements" to a lot of the major cities in the UK.  They dropped a couple of thousand tons of bombs on Brum and practically wiped Coventry and Hull off the map. 

From what I recall the Germans destroyed a part of the Medieval Coventry, but the council did their fair share in the post war period. That was modernisation. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My great auntie lived in Coventry during the blitz.   When I was a kid doing WW2 at school she would tell me stories about it (all of that generation would actually) but Coventry was completely annihilated by the Germans. The city was poorly defended which is why the raid was so incredibly successful, the luftwaffe flew over Coventry and dropped their bombs and because they weren't being engaged they had time to do a second pass and drop some more. Quite why it was so poorly defended is something of a mystery considering how much of our military equipment was being manufactured there but I guess there is not much anyone can do about it now. 

Just looking at studies on the blitz of Coventry now and it seems that people are quoting a figure of 75% of all buildings in the city were hit and 100,000 of the cities then population of 150,000 people were displaced and I don't think the city had ever completely recovered.  My Aunt told me that the city centre used to look like Stratford upon Avon, now it's a concrete jungle. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The story goes that the bombing of Coventry was revenge for the bombing of Munich. Then Dresden was the revenge for Coventry.

I'm sure it's far more involved and technical than that, but as a very brief narrative it works.

 

Just to speak up briefly for Brutalism. It's about my favourite style of architecture when it's done right and when it's in the correct setting and has the support of other infrastructure. When you just use concrete to build a shitty line of poorly maintained rectangles and call it a city centre, it's going to be shitty whatever style you build it in. Post war we needed mass produced buildings, as cheap as possible and as quick as possible. Whatever the chosen style, that was never a recipe for long term success. It was further undone when the parks and services that should have gone hand in hand with it were cut from the budgets time and time again across city after city. 

Lots of people quite liked the old Brum Central library.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, chrisp65 said:

The story goes that the bombing of Coventry was revenge for the bombing of Munich. Then Dresden was the revenge for Coventry.

I'm sure it's far more involved and technical than that, but as a very brief narrative it works.

 

Just to speak up briefly for Brutalism. It's about my favourite style of architecture when it's done right and when it's in the correct setting and has the support of other infrastructure. When you just use concrete to build a shitty line of poorly maintained rectangles and call it a city centre, it's going to be shitty whatever style you build it in. Post war we needed mass produced buildings, as cheap as possible and as quick as possible. Whatever the chosen style, that was never a recipe for long term success. It was further undone when the parks and services that should have gone hand in hand with it were cut from the budgets time and time again across city after city. 

Lots of people quite liked the old Brum Central library.

I didn't realise I was guilty of knee-jerk and clichéd attitudes towards Brutalism until I found myself surprised that Jonathan Meades was a big fan.

I concluded that I had just swallowed the propaganda which was used to deny the political failure which led to piss-poor management and the lack of maintenance of the buildings. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • VT Supporter
1 hour ago, chrisp65 said:

The story goes that the bombing of Coventry was revenge for the bombing of Munich. Then Dresden was the revenge for Coventry.

I'm sure it's far more involved and technical than that, but as a very brief narrative it works.

 

Just to speak up briefly for Brutalism. It's about my favourite style of architecture when it's done right and when it's in the correct setting and has the support of other infrastructure. When you just use concrete to build a shitty line of poorly maintained rectangles and call it a city centre, it's going to be shitty whatever style you build it in. Post war we needed mass produced buildings, as cheap as possible and as quick as possible. Whatever the chosen style, that was never a recipe for long term success. It was further undone when the parks and services that should have gone hand in hand with it were cut from the budgets time and time again across city after city. 

Lots of people quite liked the old Brum Central library.

I like this building in Leeds (Dept of Work & Pensions, locally known as the Ministry of Truth).

300px-QuarryHouseLeeds.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator
13 minutes ago, mjmooney said:

I like this building in Leeds (Dept of Work & Pensions, locally known as the Ministry of Truth).

300px-QuarryHouseLeeds.jpg

Slightly Fort Dunlopy, that Mike

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator
51 minutes ago, mjmooney said:

It is, yeah. Maybe the same architect?

EDIT: Nah, can't be - isn't FD original art deco? 

I dunno - isn't Art Deco stuff mostly white/pale coloured? (or maybe that's just me not understanding architectural styles.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, The_Rev said:

I don't think the city had ever completely recovered.  

It depends on how you measure it. Coventry became one of the most prosperous places in Britain in the 50s & 60s when the car industry was in boom. You could see that the council did actually have some far reaching good ideas; the Polytechnic and Warwick University were well funded. They had a great sports centre. And as will you know Coventry Railway station for its time was pretty impressive! Its got a dreadful ring road of course. When the car industry (and supporting industry) hit the rocks, so did Cov.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, blandy said:

I dunno - isn't Art Deco stuff mostly white/pale coloured? (or maybe that's just me not understanding architectural styles.)

We've strayed OT, yes lots of Art Deco is white or Miami pastel colours. But it doesn't have to be. The largest art deco building in the UK is red brown brick with an inflatable pig. My house is Art Deco period with some funky deco stained glass and that's also red brick. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator
39 minutes ago, chrisp65 said:

The largest art deco building in the UK is red brown brick with an inflatable pig

Always had BPS down as sort of Bauhausy (same for FD, really).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm, without going all googly I can't think of anything Bauhaus in the UK? (there's bound to be something utterly famous now isn't there)

I think Bauhaus stayed quite, German. But we really are getting in to niche naming of categories now. I can spot an art deco thing quite easily without being able to fully describe art deco. I'd struggle a bit more on Bauhaus other than thinking it looked like really early modernism. Absolute mental blank on architect's names right now. I'd be great on Mastermind. Which is embarrassing because I once did 5,000 words on Isokon, which sort of wraps them all up together. Isokon might be my all time fave building.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...
Â