Early Municipal Housing in Birmingham and the ‘prejudice against flats’, Part 1

Municipal Dreams

There is a Birmingham prejudice against flats, and it is not confined to any one class.  It springs, we believe, from something deep in the civic life.  Indeed, it is probably one expression of the independence of character which has done so much for Birmingham.

That was the Birmingham Gazette in 1930. (1)  In fact, we’ve seen similar sentiments in Bermondsey, Stevenage and beyond.   And we’ve seen flats – even some that came to be reviled by many such as Quarry Hill in Leeds and Park Hill in Sheffield – which the people that actually lived in them loved.

Sketches from the Condemned Localities 1876 ‘Sketches from the Condemned Localities’, 1876

As a 19th century industrial city, Birmingham wasn’t unusual in having slum housing.  It was distinct, however, in its number of back-to-backs – some 50,000 had been built in the inner-city in the century to 1876 at which point the Council banned further…

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