Birmingham Back to Backs

Museums Central Birmingham
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A look at the buildings that once housed the city’s industrial workers. Catch one of the special winter tours, or sample the wares of the restored sweetshop

Operated by the National Trust, the Birmingham Back to Backs is the last surviving example of the kind of buildings that housed the scores of industrial workers that were once the lifeblood of the city. Stretching between Hurst Street and Inge Street, with the main tourist entrance opposite the back of The Glee Club, the back to backs have been painstakingly restored to give visitors an example of life in different decades, starting with the 1840s and working up to the 1970s.

Each house has been decorated as if the families still live there, with tables made up for dinner and washing pegged on the line, and special candlelit tours are given in the winter months featuring roaring open fires and freshly toasted bread and jam. You can only go around the houses with a tour guide, so booking is essential, and bear in mind that older visitors might find the steep staircases and tight corridors taxing. Round off the tour by stuffing yourself silly at Mr Chill’s Traditional Sweet Emporium, a similarly restored sweetshop next to the back to backs that offers humbugs, gobstoppers and many more sticky treats arranged in jars around the store. If you’re feeling mean, ask for the jar at the top.

By: David Baldwin


Venue name: Birmingham Back to Backs
Address: 55-63 Hurst Street / 50-54 Inge Street
B5 4TE
Opening hours: Pre-arranged tours only; see website for details
Transport: Rail: Birmingham New Street
Price: £8.55, £4.95 children
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  • Until Friday December 22 2017
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