Birmingham In Colour: 1961-1968

These colour photographs were taken by Phyllis Nicklin (1913-1969), a University of Birmingham geography teacher. The photos were used in her lectures on the geography of Birmingham.

Birmingham is England’s second largest city, after London. The current population is 1.5 million, and it is at the heart of the West Midlands Urban Conurbation. It has a variety of different districts, and a wide assortment of ethnic groups making up its residents. Like most cities and large towns in this country, it attracted a lot of immigration from the West Indies, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh during the 1960s.

A typical corner shop.

An indoor market.

Slum living conditions before major redevelopment.

A bicycle shop.

A small boy in an area being cleared of old houses. The new tower block flats under construction can be seen behind him.

A typical tobacconist shop.

A 1930s cinema in the city centre.

A funfair ride at the annual Mop Fair. Those fairs date from the 16th century, originally used to find employment and offer trade services.

A wholesale groocer unloading a delivery into his shop.

The Bull Ring Market in the city centre. There is still a market there operating six days a week.

Boys playing on a demolition site.

Children heading for the local sweet shop.

The premises of a wholesale butcher.

The main fish market in the city.

A popular cafe, selling very cheap meals.

Children playing in abandoned buildings.

33 thoughts on “Birmingham In Colour: 1961-1968

      1. America has no idea what war on our soil is like (except for the Civil War), and how long the rebuilding takes. When I was a kid, I loved WWII movies (still do), yet never imagined being part of the aftermath. You had a great playground, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. (1) Messy boy:
    Little Jack Horner,
    At a shop on the corner,
    Was eating an ice cream cone;
    On his cone the boy nibbled,
    On his chin ice cream dribbled;
    Said Jack, “I’ll eat right when I’m grown!”
    (2) I thought Handsworth was a massage parlor.
    (3) The slumber party got out of control.
    (4) As a child, did Evel Knievel go airborne on a Harborne bicycle?
    (5) “There goes the neighborhood!”
    (6) Chewbacca prefers chewing tobacco.
    (7) “The Gaumont Film Company often shortened to Gaumont, is a French film studio headquartered in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.” I’ve been to Gaumont theaters in France, and spent six months living in a studio (not a film studio) in Neuilly-sur-Seine.
    (8) How do you clean up the mess if someone vomits while on a ride at the Mop Fair?
    (9) The Edmonds Bros grew up eating fruits and vegetables. That’s a fact of some import.
    (10) After Elsie, the bride, produced the bull ring at the wedding, the cowboy pastor said, “May this ring become the symbol of your endless love for Ferdinand. You may now slip the ring through his nose.”
    (11) “My hero is John Spartan, the demolition man!”
    (12) They headed for a sweet shop, but ended up working in a sweat shop.
    (13) For a moment there, I though the sign read SAIGON Stuffing.
    (14) I prefer Maine fish to Louisiana lobster.
    (15) The owner of Fred’s Cabin often goes boating. His boat is named Fred’s Cabin Cruiser.
    (16) After building a career in music, the Beatles became a band undone.

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  2. Hi Pete, I found these pictures very interesting. I visited Birmingham in 2018 as Terence had a potential job opportunity there. I thought the city was very interesting and I particularly liked the back-to-back museum.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked the photos. I’m not sure you would want to live in the West Midlands though, so perhaps it’s just as well the job didn’t happen.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  3. It must have been so depressing living among bomb sites, though I suppose it was a whole lot better once the bombs stopped falling. It should have been a great opportunity to rebuild a modern city but the money had all gone into destruction. What a curious creature the human is. Kids of course love ruins!

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    1. I loved the bomb sites in London when I was young. (The sites in these photos are not bomb sites, but slum clearance demolition) They were exciting playgrounds, with a hint of danger.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes of course. You can copy the photos too if you wish, they are sourced from the Internet, and not mine.
      (I was a Londoner before moving to Norfolk, but have visited Birmingham a few times. Good food in Chinatown, as I recall.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I always thought they could have modernised the houses. Put in proper bathrooms with indoor toilets, increased space with loft extensions, etc. The tower blocks were not the answer, and they destroyed the previous community spirit that had long-existed. Much the same thing happened in London of course.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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