Saturday, January 26, 2008

Phyllis Nicklin's 1960 color slides of Birmingham

First, you need to go to Created in Birmingham and read both the article and the many comments.

I've selected this image and tweaked it ever so slightly in Photoshop to bring out the color - the color as I remember it! Anyone with an interest in this subject should follow the links above and explore a wonderful resource.

A few comments. The Woolworths on the left was the largest store in the chain at the time. Further up the hill the fine stone portico was the entrance to the Market Hall. This building had its roof blown off in the Second World War so it was an open air fish market as I recall - and I recall live eels squirming around on ice as a boyhood memory. The Midland Red buses that plied the Stratford Road terminated in front of St. Martin's Church, which would be to the right of the photographer. You can just see a double decker in the frame. My memory says that the 150 service went to Stratford and was occasionally shared with a Stratford Blue bus (Stratford Blue's still exist). The local service to Earlswood was the 151 or 179, I think, and this ran a couple of times a day to the Reservoir Hotel, leaving the Stratford Road at the now long-gone George and Dragon public house. The old markets were behind the photographer and they were wonderful if a bit scary to a young lad up from the country (all of nine miles to the south!) The market stalls (barrows, really) were on their way out to make way for the 1960s Bull Ring Development. Some were horse drawn and I remember the horses would stand patiently with a feed bag while the hustle and bustle went on around them.