For five years now you’ve been helping us raise funds by shopping through the Amazon link here or at the top of the page. When you use that link we get at least a 5% donation from Amazon and it costs you no more than you’d normally pay.
We can’t see who is doing the shopping but we can see what people buy. So we know your 10 favourite Birmingham related history and heritage books – and I thought with Christmas coming we might share them here – this is the list from 10 to 6, all based on books our supporters have bought:
10: Victorian Buildings of Old Birmingham by Roy Thornton. “Birmingham’s Victorian heritage is still surprisingly well preserved, despite much demolition during the twentieth century, and major redevelopment in the last few months and years. In this book Roy Thornton looks at a selection of the city’s Victorian architecture, some of the lost buildings as well as the survivors to illustrate the range of building that took place during Birmingham’s most prosperous decades. A wide range of old and new photographs, maps, plans, drawings and paintings are also included. Public buildings, churches, houses, industrial buildings, schools and hospitals are all discussed, together with a special study of Corporation Street – arguably the city centre’s best-preserved Victorian thoroughfare.”Victorian Buildings of Birmingham” will appeal to anyone interested in the history of Britain’s second city.” Buy here and we get a donation.
9: Old House Handbook: A Practical Guide to Care and Repair by Roger Hunt and Marianne Suhr . “Here, for the first time, is a completely authoritative guide on how to look after your old house – whether it’s a timber framed medieval cottage, an eighteenth century urban terrace or an example of Victorian or Edwardian speculative development. Taking their lead from the conservation approach of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (who have approved and authorised this volume), the approach is one of respect, restraint and repair rather than ‘restoration’ which can so easily and permanently destroy the rich historical legacy of any old building.” Buy here.
8: Lost Buildings of Birmingham by Roy Thornton. Reviewer: “This book is a timely reminder of the architectural destruction that has been wrought on Birmingham, particularly since WW2 (as in most of the UK, German bombing was an excuse for mass demolitions, not the primary cause). A weak point is the limited coverage of industrial buildings, the loss of which continues apace. It would also be interesting to see a section on the destruction of more recent buildings – such as Madin’s Post and Mail building. Knocking down interesting modernist buildings has become almost as popular in Birmingham as destroying Georgian and Victorian architecture and will doubtless be regretted just as much by future generations. Overall, a fitting tribute to a city that remains hell-bent on destroying itself and its history. ” Buy here.
7: Played in Birmingham by Steve Beauchampe. “Steve Beauchampe takes the reader on a fascinating trail around the historic sites that have put ‘the city of a thousand trades’ on the international sporting map. The likes of Villa Park, The National Indoor Arena and Edgbaston Cricket Ground will be familiar to many; less so the back garden of a house in Edgbaston, ‘the Belgravia of Birmingham’, where the first ever experimental game of lawn tennis is believed to have taken place between a magistrates clerk and a Spaniard on a croquet lawn. Nearby lies the Edgbaston Archery and Lawn Tennis Society, the world’s oldest lawn tennis club, founded in 1860. Even older, in the grounds of a Sutton Coldfield golf club, lies the remains of a medieval cockpit. . On a back street in Hockley, we find the spot where the world’s first Football League was formed in 1888 by a Scottish draper and……” Buy here.
6: Birmingham, a history in Maps by Paul Leslie Line. “From the exceptional town plans and maps contained within this unique volume emerges a social picture of Birmingham; a town quickly developing in size and population in the eighteenth century; along with the changes brought about by urbanisation. Land was bought up for development; hundreds of ‘courts’ were built to home the industrial workers pouring in from the many outlying villages. The many gardens, orchards and wide expanses of open space detailed on Wesley’s 1731 plan of Birmingham were soon to be transformed into a sprawling mass of habitation. By 1765 Matthew Boulton, a leading entrepreneur and pioneer of the Industrial Revolution, had built his famous Soho Manufactory on Handsworth Heath. Shortly afterwards, the town plans of Birmingham in the first quarter of the 1800s chart the arrival of the railway; a plan from 1832 is the last glimpse of the city before the arrival of the Grand Junction Railway and other main line stations. Accompanied with informative text and pictures of the cityscape, the many detailed plans contained in this historic atlas of Birmingham are a gateway to its past, allowing the reader and researcher to visually observe the journey of this historic town to city status in 1889 and beyond.” Buy here.
A great collection – could make great gifts. Coming next your top five favourite Birmingham history books.