Stunning vintage color photographs of Birmingham in the 1980s_Lap

Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. By the 20th century it had become the metropolitan hub of the United Kingdom’s manufacturing and automotive industries, having earned itself a reputation first as a city of canals, then of cars, and most recently as a major European convention and shopping destination. The recession of the early 1980s, however, saw Birmingham’s economy collapse. The city itself lost 200,000 jobs between 1971 and 1981, with the losses concentrated in the manufacturing sector; relative earnings in the West Midlands went from being the highest in Britain in 1970 to the lowest in 1983. By 1982 the city’s unemployment rate approached 20%.

Navigation Street, December 1983

As one of the United Kingdom’s major cities, Birmingham is considered to be the social, cultural, financial, and commercial centre of the Midlands. In the years following the Second World War, the face of Birmingham was heavily changed by a major influx of immigrants from the Commonwealth of Nations, with large communities from Southern Asia and the Caribbean settling in the city. Birmingham also saw a new wave of immigration beginning in the early eighties, this time from communities which do not have Commonwealth roots, such as Kosovo and Somalia.

Take a look through these 40 beautiful vintage pictures of Birmingham in the eighties taken by David Rostance. For more fascinating photographs, check out Rostance’s Flickr site.

Bordesley, September 1981


Grand Union canal, Bordesley, September 1981


Proof House Junction, Bordesley, July 1982


Selly Oak and the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower, Birmingham University, August 1982


Heeley Road, Selly Oak, August 1982


Golden Hillock Road, August 1982


Corporation Street, December 1982


Landor Street, December 1982


Lower Temple Street, December 1982


Lower Temple Street/Stephenson Street, December 1982


Handsworth Park, January 1983


Winson Green, January 1983


Old Turn Junction, July 1983


Farmer’s Bridge Junction, July 1983


Digbeth Branch Canal, November 1983


Washwood Heath Road, November 1983


Chamberlain Square, November 1983


Paradise Circus, November 1983


Edmund Street looking towards Chamberlain Square, December 1983


Birmingham Post Office Tower, December 1983


Benson Road, Hockley, January 1984


Winson Green, January 1984


Nechells Power Station, July 1984


Birmingham, December 1984


Junction of Stephenson Street and Navigation Street, December 1984


View from Birmingham Shopping Centre car park, December 1984


Entrance to Birmingham Shopping Centre car park in Navigation Street, December 1984


Woodbridge Road, Moseley, August 1985


Alcester Road, Moseley, August 1985


47624, Winson Green, February 1986


Small Heath Station, February 1986


Suburban Birmingham, March 1986


Stretton Road, off Rocky Lane, Aston, March 1986


Exchange Sidings, April 1986


View towards Birmingham centre from High Street, Deritend, November 1986


Birmingham Town Hall, December 1986


Paradise Place, January 1987


Birmingham Moor Street Station, March 1987


St. Martin’s Circus, July 1987