Court 15 – the Back to Backs – has been one of our biggest projects.
It matters to tens of thousands of people living in Birmingham. Not only have we saved a unique set of buildings, the last Back in Backs in the city, but we have preserved the history of the thousands of people who loved or loathed living in homes like these.
It used to be easy to walk past this collection of shabby buildings in the city centre and miss their historical significance, but the bricks and mortar of Court 15 hold a store of powerful memories. Restoring and revitalising these buildings has been a project of national importance and one that we have undertaken with our partner the National Trust.
Working with the National Trust
The Back to Backs project started out as the vision of Birmingham Conservation Trust, but we could not have achieved our ambitious aims for the project without the help of others.
The scheme represents a major new direction for the National Trust, “Saving these remarkable houses illustrates the vital role that we can play in the regeneration of towns and cities,” says their regional director Liz Roberts.
Responding to these new challenges, these properties offer a new National Trust experience – the houses are open all year round and visitors can touch objects as they go around the rooms. Also there is the chance to explore how life has changed over 130 years, as the houses are displayed at four different dates – early C19, late C19, early C20 and late C20.
Birmingham Conservation Trust has been responsible for all the capital funding for the project and the implementation of the building repairs.
We commissioned Dr Chris Upton to carry out extensive research on the buildings and the people who lived there – leading to him publishing Living Back to Back – an eloquent, human history of these homes.
Once work was completed, the National Trust took on the buildings. They are now open the houses to the public. For information on visiting the buildings please go to the National Trust website through this link.
Visits to the Back to Backs are free for National Trust members. If you want to join please click here.