Birmingham tailor George Saunders and the back to backs George Saunders fought against prejudice and hardship to set himself up as one of Birmingham's best known tailors and the last trader to leave the city's famous back to backs.
19:13, 16 OCT 2008Updated00:45, 31 MAY 2013George Saunders fought against prejudice and hardship to set himself up as one of Birmingham's best known tailors and the last trader to leave the city's famous back to backs. Now his remarkable story has been turned into a film to help chart one of the most fascinating pieces of the city's history. The 76 year old became the subject of the feature to help complete the story of the back to backs which begins almost 200 years ago. His 1970s tailor's shop in Court 15 has been frozen in time and visitors to the National Trust's Back to Back centre in Hurst Street will be able to watch the film to see how Mr Saunders used traditional methods to create more than 15,000 suits during his career. As the National Trust launched the film this week to coincide with Black History Month, St Kitts born Mr Saunders said he was proud to have been able to help create a lasting legacy. "The film is lovely and coach outlet folsom I'm pleased that I can help to tell the story of the back to backs," he said. "I've seen a lot of changes but I know that now the buildings are in the hands of the National Trust, they will be here to stay." Great grandfather Mr Saunders said he was encouraged to follow his father into tailoring and decided to leave the Caribbean to join a friend in England in the 1950s. He struggled to find work, labouring and making biscuits in factories for years. "I applied for jobs but I was turned down because I had no English experience of being a tailor so I took a course," he said. "I knew I had a skill and I was determined to make it work in this country." Mr Saunders said he felt he was a victim of prejudice in 1960s Britain, but never more than when he coach outlet clearance went for a job interview and was told the position was filled when his would be employer saw the young black man. After finally finding work with a Birmingham firm, he saved enough money to set up on his own, operating from premises in Balsall Heath before buying his city centre premises in 1974. He said: "I knew a man who was selling four of the back to backs so I made him an offer. "It was the only back to back coach outlet store online canada left in the city centre at that time; all the others had been pulled down. "I didn't realise until a lot later how important they were in Birmingham." Not only is Mr Saunders' business credited with helping to save the listed building from redevelopment during the 1980s, but by working with the National Trust, he helped preserve a way of life for thousands of city dwellers until the middle of last century. Each of the four back to backs which he once owned has now been transformed into a living replica from different eras between the 1840 and 1970s.
The centre, complete with a Victorian sweet shop which stands at the corner of Hurst Street and Inge Street, is a reminder of the way craftsmen and their families lived in the two and three storey houses which surrounded courtyards. Many of the occupants worked from small workshops on the ground floor, making leather goods, jewellery, glassware and buttons. In the 1950s and 1960s, Birmingham's network of back to backs in inner city areas including Ladywood, Handsworth, Aston, Small Heath and Highgate began to be demolished coach outlet 80 percent off and were replaced with social housing.
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