For people like me, who have only known Birmingham for 20 years, this book by Roy Thornton is a revelation. It is astonishing to see such a vast collection of rich Victorian buildings, many of which survived the War, only to be swept away by a Council and developers who didn’t appreciate the qualities of the streets and buildings of the 19th Century.
Had even half these buildings survived to the present day, Birmingham would now be one of the country’s finest cities for rich and vigorous street architecture. I strongly commend this book for its wonderful photographs, but be prepared to grieve for all these lost treasures.
There are also photos of interest to people not as obsessed as I am about Victorian architecture. Villa fans will be entertained by the picture of the Arsenal match in 1952. Others will enjoy the collection of early cinemas scattered around Birmingham that have so much more individuality and character than our modern multi screens!
An excellent Christmas present; don’t forget to buy through the Trust’s website!