What Is A Back-To-Back House?
What Is A Back-To-Back House?
Back-to-back houses are terraced housing found in the United Kingdom, built from the late 18th century through to the early 20th century, and formed a part of many cities and towns during the Industrial Revolution.
These dwellings were quickly thrown up to meet the housing needs of an expanding population, and they can come in various sizes, designs, and materials depending on local resources and requirements.
Despite their simple construction, back-to-backs remain very popular with families today thanks to their compact size, low maintenance costs, affordability, and character.
What Are Back-To-Back Houses Called?
Back-to-back houses, or blind-backs as they are sometimes known, refer to houses built up against factory walls or sometimes in terrace form on their own. They feature two rows of dwellings attached at the back with no intervening space and no shared garden.
The setup allows for a high population density in urban areas, making it an efficient use of land. Because adjacent homes share one wall each, insulation can be reduced to save on energy costs.
These types of buildings were common in industrial cities before World War II until slum clearance came into effect during the 1950s and 1960s. Today, back-to-back houses are still seen in certain areas worldwide due to their convenient and cost-effective design.
Why Were Back-To-Back Houses Unhealthy?
Back-to-back houses were notorious for their unhealthy living conditions, primarily due to overcrowding and inadequate natural light and ventilation.
Poor drainage and bad sanitation were also major problems in such dwellings, leading to the 1875 Public Health Act outlawing the construction of any more of these densely packed homes.
The poor living standards of back-to-back houses highlighted the need for better regulations regarding housing quality which are still relevant today.
Are There Still Back-To-Back Houses?
Yes, there are still back-to-back houses, examples of which can be found in the Birmingham Back-to-Backs (Court 15).
These houses were built during Britain’s rapid industrialization to accommodate the growing population and arranged around shared courtyards.
They are now preserved as reminders of the thousands of similar properties that once made up many British towns and cities.
How Many Rooms Did A Back-To-Back House Have?
Back-to-back houses were an infamous form of housing common in the northern United Kingdom, which typically consisted of three rooms, stacked one above the other.
Despite this relatively small number of rooms, cramped design and poor sanitation meant that these houses became notorious for their associated squalor, disease, and poverty.
When Back-To-Back Housing Was Banned UK?
In 1909, the UK government banned all construction of back-to-back housing – a traditional form of substandard housing in which two houses were built with their rear walls abutting each other.
This ban followed a series of reform efforts by various organizations to improve living conditions for those inhabiting the poorest housing that had been subject to considerable criticism from politicians and social groups alike.
The reforms included improving existing dwellings and building new properties that featured higher standards such as improved ventilation, increased light, increased fire safety, and better sanitation; innovations that made them superior in terms of design and facilities compared to traditional back-to-back houses.