The anatomy and demise of decorative brickwork on artisans’ housing in Birmingham

Byrd, Hugh (2012) The anatomy and demise of decorative brickwork on artisans’ housing in Birmingham. Journal of Architectural Conservation, 18 (2). pp. 61-76. ISSN 1355-6207

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Birmingham has possibly the best examples in the UK of decorative
artisans’ terraced housing, in particular the variety and detail of
brickwork. The latter part of the nineteenth century and first decade of
the twentieth century saw a rapid expansion of artisans’ housing in the
suburbs as the city grew in prosperity. Within this era, artisans’ housing
was transformed from insanitary squalor within the city to buildings of
beauty in the suburbs. This paper focuses on Handsworth where there is
a rich variety of ornamentation. The story starts during the early stages
of the industrial revolution and develops during the 1870s as social
awareness grew and became reflected in both public architecture and the
common artisan’s house. The streets became an exhibition of flamboyant
ornamentation with an unprecedented variety of decorative elements in
their façades, in particular brick patterns and motifs. Having survived
the bombs of the 1940s and the bulldozers of the 1960s, the decorative
brickwork now faces a major threat from paint and render.

Keywords:Decorative-brickwork, artisan-housing, Birmingham, Digitised
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K250 Conservation of Buildings
L Social studies > L391 Sociology of Science and Technology
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K450 Housing
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:7667
Deposited On:26 Feb 2013 12:10

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