This isn’t a sponsored post.
Second-hand bookshop opening at Birmingham Back to Backs
Via National Trust
Birmingham Back to Backs is opening a new second-hand bookshop this June ahead of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and is asking for Brummies to donate their pre-loved books.
The Back to Backs, otherwise known as Court 15, is the last surviving example of back-to-back housing remaining in Birmingham and is under the care of the National Trust. As part of its work to preserve the historical homes and engage with the local community, the National Trust is opening a second-hand bookshop at the Hurst Street property – the only one in the city centre.
Funds raised through the bookshop will go directly back into caring for the Grade II listed buildings, which require regular conservation to keep them in working order.
Ashton Cartmell, Operations Manager at the Back to Backs, said:
The Back to Backs are such an important piece of Birmingham’s history because they tell the stories of the ordinary people who lived and worked in the city, as well as those who came from across the world to call Birmingham their home.
We are delighted to be opening a second-hand bookshop at Court 15 to help keep the life of these unique buildings going. All funds raised through the bookshop will go back into looking after this iconic piece of local heritage. We’re calling for our local community to donate their pre-loved books and help start a new chapter in the history of the Back to Backs.”
This style of terraced housing, which shares three of its four walls, once dominated central Birmingham in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the courts were filled with the working classes living in close-knit communities. The housing was eventually deemed unsanitary and nearly all were demolished, with Court 15 the only example to survive.
We are so lucky in Birmingham that Court 15 survived the mass demolition of back-to-back housing in the late 19th century. It is vital that we preserve the stories of all the different kinds of people who lived and worked in this community.
That’s why we’re thrilled to be starting a new chapter in the history of the Back to Backs by opening a second-hand bookshop so that we can serve the people of Birmingham today. The books in our shop should reflect the diverse local community, that’s why we’re calling for people who live nearby to donate their pre-loved books covering a range of different subjects from fiction to local history.”
Court 15 was given Grade II listed status in the 1980s and was renovated by the Birmingham Conservation Trust. In 2001 the National Trust took over the care of the heritage building to guarantee its survival ‘in perpetuity’ and it has since become one of the city’s most popular attractions for visiting tourists, welcoming around 30,000 visitors a year.
As a Grade II listed building the quirky homes require regular conservation, such as the chimney and roof works which are currently underway. Due to the need to use historically accurate materials, the work can be extremely costly. This vital remedial work on the roof is expected to cost in the region of £50,000.
If you would like to donate books or are interested in volunteering at the second-hand bookshop, please email email@example.com to arrange a collection or register your interest. The Back to Backs is currently closed for essential roof and chimney conservation work to keep the buildings watertight and will reopen in the summer.
Find out more about the Back to Backs at nationaltrust.org.uk/birmingham-back-to-backs.