New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

Friday Photo- Summer Lane

Posted June 30th, 2017 by Anne-Marie Hayes with No Comments

I took this photo on a sunny morning in February of this year, and I just thought it had so much potential to be brought back to life. But it got me thinking about what this part of the city used to look like, and who used to live here. It may be hard to imagine, but Summer Lane was once referred to as a country lane, with a ‘countryside character’ dominating this part of the city, until the mid-nineteenth century when its character started to change forever. This was of course due to the introduction of back-to-back housing, which was often ‘thrown’ up literally. Built cheaply and quickly, the housing was affordable but often not up to standard, with speculative builders wanting a quick build and to spend as little money as possible. The area was almost transformed into a working-class neighbourhood overnight, its countryside character disappearing in favour of an industrial landscape synonymous with Birmingham at this time. To local people, Summer Lane was know quite simply as ‘the lane’, and within a matter of years it epitomised working-class Birmingham. I suppose this goes with the city’s motto ‘forward’, and progress often means the character of a place changing. The building in the photo is gothic in style and is actually Grade II listed, dating from 1880, and it would have most likely had workshops in the rooms above, something that epitomised this part of Birmingham. Hopefully this building will relive its heyday once more…

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