Historic Digbeth

The University of Birmingham’s Chrysalis project is digitalising the vast quantity of historical photographs in possession by the institution’s various departments.

The photographic records act as reminders of what Birmingham looked like in the past, and help log the developments in the city by spotting the changes in pictures taken from the same vantage point at different points in history.

For example, these pictures taken in 1960 and 1968 respectively, show a major change in the city – the building of the iconic rotunda:

Photograph of Digbeth, Birmingham. The photograph was taken in mid 1960. Image copyright: University of Birmingham

Photograph of Digbeth, Birmingham. The photograph was taken in early 1968. Image copyright: University of Birmingham

As the birthplace of Birmingham, it’s not surprising that the project has accumulated plenty of images of Digbeth. The plaque that used to reside on Moat Row below states: “This tablet was erected in the year 1914 to indicate the site of the Moat House, the ancient seat of the Lords of Birmingham.”

Photograph of the "site of the Moat House" plaque, Manor House, Moat Row, by the entrance to the fish market. The photograph was taken in 1968. Image copyright: University of Birmingham

A selection of other images have been provided below, but to see the full archive for yourself, please click here.

Photograph of the site of manorial moat, with Moat Row to the left and Moat Lane to the right. The Drovers' Arms at the corner of Smithfield Street and Bradford Street can also be seen, as can Smithfield Market (built 1883, extended 1892 and 1903). The photograph was taken in 1968. Image copyright: University of Birmingham

Photograph of the Drovers' Arms in Bradford Street, near the meat market in Smithfield, built in 1895-7. The photograph was taken in early 1954. Image copyright: University of Birmingham

Photograph of Broadbent's corner, in Mill Lane, Digbeth. The photograph was taken in early 1954. Image copyright: University of Birmingham

Photograph of Deritend High Street in Digbeth, at the crossing with Rea Street. The site of St. John's, Deritend is the viewpoint. St. Martin's church can be seen. The photograph was taken in mid 1960. Image copyright: University of Birmingham

Photograph of the corner between Little Anne Street and Milk Street, in Central Birmingham. The photograph was taken in mid 1953. Image copyright: University of Birmingham

Photograph of the interior of B.K.L. Alloys Ltd., in Bradford Street, near the meat market. The photograph was taken in late 1968. Image copyright: University of Birmingham

Photograph of Bradford Street, Deritend. The estate was begun in 1767, while the end house; no.178 was probably built pre-1817. The photograph was taken in early 1954. Image copyright: University of Birmingham

Pamela Pinski

Digbeth and Proud

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