This week I had time to draw breathe and take some time out. On Tuesday we visited this fascinating National Trust 19th century courtyard of back to back houses and shops in the centre of Birmingham.
The perfect treat for somebody like me who loves nosing around houses! Sadly the sweet shop was closed when we were there, so just had to press our noses against the glass to see inside. The shop has been restored to how it was in the 1940s.
To the right of the sweet shop there is an arched entrance into the communal courtyard. In some parts of the country this tunnel-like entrance would be known as a ginnel, the guide gave us several regional examples which broke the ice between the group.
You do need to book a tour of the back to backs as there are tiny rooms and very steep stairs to navigate. Sadly I was unable to take any photographs inside the houses, but there was access to the (very basic) outside facilities!
At one stage in the 19th century as many as 100 people would have lived in these houses and shared the three outside toilets.
Across the yard from this house was the wash house, equipped with an impressive mangle and other essentials for washday.....
There was even a washing line with original 19th and early 20th century washing.
The last building in the tour is the shop that belonged to George Saunders. He was a tailor and the shop remained open until the 1970s. When it closed, he left much of his stock and belongings which are now on display.
I really enjoyed the tour and would thoroughly recommend the back to backs.