By the middle of the 19th century, the demands to house Birmingham’s rapidly expanding industry and workforce swiftly urbanised Nechells. Building in this north-east part of Birmingham was hastily constructed and became substandard. Working-class back to back courtyards with terraced houses were built dominating this area alongside factories, workshops, corner shops and pubs.
Two gasworks were constructed in Windsor Street and Nechells Place polluting the air with an offensive odour compounded by the neighbouring Saltley gasworks and a power station to the north. Today, fresh air has returned to Nechells. Duelcarriageways now run where shopping centres once thrived.
Various redevelopments have replaced the substandard housing with high-rise tower blocks and low-rise housing in landscaped settings. Many modern large and small units now house industry, business and entertainment complexes alongside the old.
Through images and text, Changing Nechells captures the considerable changes Nechells has undergone throughout three generations.
|235 x 165 mm
|15 December 2015
|180 colour photographs
Ted Rudge was born in Birmingham at the start of the Second World War and received a secondary modern education before commencing employment at fifteen years of age. Following a working life with British Telecom, retirement brought higher education opportunities with the University of Birmingham gaining a degree in Philosophy and a Master’s degree in West Midlands History. The author of three books and co-author of six more detailing the changes within Birmingham’s inner districts, Rudge is happily married for over fifty years with a son, daughter and two grandchildren.
Keith Clenton was born in Birmingham and worked for the Austin Motor Company. An avid local photographer and volunteer worker at the Birmingham Lives Archive, Clenton is the co-author of three local history publications.