Yesterday we published the first part of this list here.
These are the most popular Birmingham buildings/heritage books that you – our supporters – have bought on Amazon through our Amazon account. If you use the link at the top of this website (or here) to buy anything on Amazon we get at least 5% of what you spend. So counting down, here are the most popular history books bought this way:
5: Birmingham Back to Backs (National Trust Guidebooks). Created as part of the rescue and restoration work done by us, Birmingham Conservation trust.
4: Homes fit for Heroes: Photos By Bill Brandt. From a reviewer: “A fascinating book of Brandt photos contrasting English slums with planned municipal estates. This was the kind of assignment that he loved: the chance to put across a social point-of-view using real people and places. The sixty-three photos (beautifully printed with 200dpi) are probably the best of visits he made to Birmingham and London for the Bournville Village Trust. There seems to be a continuing mystery about these photos though because they were discovered in the Trust’s archives as a series of seventy-seven prints mounted on cardboard with the negatives (but actually missing eight of these). It would be rather unusual for a commercial photographer to hand over negatives to the client because additional income could be made by doing extra prints and the print quality could still conform to the original supplied prints. Brandt said of the commission that it was “…a job well done”.” Buy here.
3: Birmingham Public Sculpture Trails by George T. Noszlopy and Fiona Waterhouse. from a review: “A lovely book containing details of over 70 sculptures located around Birmingham city centre and organised into 4 short walking ‘trails’ which the reader can easily follow should they so wish. Beautiful photographs and clear and easy to follow descriptions. Highly recommended. ”
2: The green guide for historic buildings: how to improve the environmental performance of listed and historic buildings by Princes Regeneration Trust. “An essential and comprehensive guide for anyone seeking to refurbish, restore or reuse a listed or historic building. The Green Guide for Historic Buildings is an accessible guide with wide-ranging application for both professionals and those new to the fields of heritage and climate change. With political momentum, media interest and public awareness in tackling climate change at an all time high this is a timely and much-needed guide. This practical and in-depth look at improving the environmental performance of listed and historic buildings provides expert advice on what adaptations are likely to be most suitable and, crucially, how effective they are likely to be in saving money and carbon. Although the guide focuses on listed buildings it has direct relevance and application to many areas of conservation and in particular to unlisted historic buildings.”
Finally: – again a book produced out of our work to preserve the Back to Backs…
1:Living Back-to-Back by Chris Upton. “Back-to-backs were once the commonest form of housing in England. Built in rows or courts or blocks, the back-to-back was home to the majority of working people in our Victorian cities. There were once half a million of them – vermin-infested slums, damp, overcrowded and disease-ridden, as Giles Worsley graphically describes them – yet they have almost entirely vanished from our urban landscape. Using a mixture of documentary evidence and oral history, Chris Upton uncovers a fascinating corner of our common past and tells the story of the folk who lived in Court 15 in central Birmingham. Such people are all in our family trees, but are all unique – the glass-eye maker from Birmingham, the Jewish watch-maker from Poland, the tailor from St Kitts. What was it like to live in a house with only one bedroom and no running water? How did 11 families share two toilets? Dr Upton, well-known in the West Midlands as a broadcaster and public speaker, started work on back-to-backs as a research project ready for the restoration of Court 15. He realised that he had ‘stumbled upon a gold mine …too good a story to leave on an office shelf’. The rise and fall of the back-to-back is a sobering tale – an extraordinary microcosm of life in England from the boom years of Victorian expansion through to the Hungry Thirties, and beyond.”