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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

Birmingham, the second-largest city of England, looked totally different in the 1980s. There were no Selfridges or Harvey Nichols, no Bullring as we know it today. Instead, you had to take your life into your hands as you ventured through the city’s subway shops and underground passages that are now filled in and long since vanished. The city was going through a major economic collapse due to the 1980s recession. The unemployment rates were also high outbreaks of social unrest in inner-city districts were common.

Here below are some throwback photos that show what Birmingham looked like in the 1980s. Vote your favorites and also check, what Birmingham looked like in the 1960s.

#1 Heeley Road, Selly Oak. Birmingham, August 1982

Heeley Road, Selly Oak. Birmingham, August 1982

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#2 Bull Ring and Rotunda. Birmingham, December 1976

Bull Ring and Rotunda. Birmingham, December 1976

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#3 Birmingham New Street Signal Box, December 1983

Birmingham New Street Signal Box, December 1983

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#4 The entrance to Birmingham Shopping Centre car park in Navigation Street. Birmingham, December 1984

The entrance to Birmingham Shopping Centre car park in Navigation Street. Birmingham, December 1984

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#5 Birmingham Snow Hill station undergoing demolition on 14th May 1977

Birmingham Snow Hill station undergoing demolition on 14th May 1977

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#6 Shoe shop, Corporation Street. Birmingham, November 1979

Shoe shop, Corporation Street. Birmingham, November 1979

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#7 Lower Temple Street:Stephenson Street, Birmingham, December 1982

Lower Temple Street:Stephenson Street, Birmingham, December 1982

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#8 View towards the city centre from High Street, Deritend on 8th November 1986.

View towards the city centre from High Street, Deritend on 8th November 1986.

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#9 University Station. Birmingham, July 1986

University Station. Birmingham, July 1986

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#10 Birmingham Main Line Canal, January 1984

Birmingham Main Line Canal, January 1984

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#11 Birmingham Snow Hill station undergoing demolition on 14th May 1977

Birmingham Snow Hill station undergoing demolition on 14th May 1977

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#12 Proof House Junction, July 1982

Proof House Junction, July 1982

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#13 Gough Street. Birmingham, August 1982

Gough Street. Birmingham, August 1982

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#14 Golden Hillock Road. Birmingham, August 1982

Golden Hillock Road. Birmingham, August 1982

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#15 Bordesley. Birmingham, November 1983

Bordesley. Birmingham, November 1983

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#16 Nechells Power Station. Birmingham, April 1984

Nechells Power Station. Birmingham, April 1984

Viewed from beneath the bridge carrying the Aston to Stechford line over the Midland line near Washwood Heath. The power station closed in 1982

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#17 Piccadilly Arcade. Birmingham, December 1984

Piccadilly Arcade. Birmingham, December 1984

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#18 Nechells Power Station. Birmingham, July 1984

Nechells Power Station. Birmingham, July 1984

The cooling towers and chimneys of Nechells power station viewed from Tyburn Road on 15th July 1984.

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#19 Birmingham New Street, July 1984

Birmingham New Street, July 1984

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#20 Digbeth Branch Canal. Birmingham, November 1983

Digbeth Branch Canal. Birmingham, November 1983

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#21 Grand Union canal, Bordesley. Birmingham, 5th September 1981.

Grand Union canal, Bordesley. Birmingham, 5th September 1981.

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#22 New Street Station. Birmingham, December 1982

New Street Station. Birmingham, December 1982

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#23 Birmingham Moor Street Station, March 1987

Birmingham Moor Street Station, March 1987

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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#24 A summer Sunday afternoon on the bridge that spans the eastern end of New Street station, in front of the Rotunda, St. Martin’s Circus, 12th July 1987.

A summer Sunday afternoon on the bridge that spans the eastern end of New Street station, in front of the Rotunda, St. Martin’s Circus, 12th July 1987.

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Birmingham in the 1980s: Stunning Throwback Photos Show A Different City

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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32 Comments

  1. Oh man. When I was a teenager in Birmingham in the 1980s, my school bus pass got me everywhere I wanted to go. (I went to Five Ways so had to get the 11 and then 23 to school)

    So I used to get the #9 from Quinton to town, and then go and stare in the window of Hornton Electronics which was on the corner of Lower Temple Street (where Archie’s is now) and lust after the new Hifi. (It’s in a couple of those pictures).

    I also used to wander down Newhall St to the Science Museum, which used to be down by the canal near the BT Tower before it moved to Millennium Point.

    It was a sign you were near home when you saw the ‘milk bottles’ at Nechells power station and the HP Sauce building at Spaghetti Junction. Nechells’ cooling towers were knocked down, too.

    Anyone remember the BRMB Walkathon? One lap around the 11 outer circles route was equivalent to a marathon – 26 miles. At Lordswood School, I started and finished it one year in the 80’s.

    There are so many memories in those photos of exactly how I remember Brum (I moved to Yorkshire 27 years ago).

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