Birmingham has long been famed for its Balti Triangle, Floozy in the Jacuzzi and for producing some of the most influential musicians of the last generation. But now a new website looks to celebrate the personal stories of individuals that have been almost lost, forgotten or flown under the mainstream radar, yet are key in making the city such a diverse and unique place.
Powered by 470 Media, Hidden City utilises audio slideshows, podcasts and an interactive map to delve into the untold history that underpins the fabric of Birmingham culture. Users of the site can explore the various areas of Birmingham through the real-life stories of its inhabitants and gives them the chance to upload their own.
Stories such as ‘Something for the Weekend Sir?’ which explores the 55 year reign of Di Matteo’s – an Italian barbers on Stratford Road (pictured) that has become a crux for the community and sanctuary for those seeking solace and escape from big city life; if only for a short time.
The website also highlights stories of unsung heroes that make Birmingham better for some of its most vulnerable inhabitants. ‘Justice Not Crisis’ is a pressure group based in Edgbaston that gives a voice to the homeless community who are often overlooked or, even worse, simply ignored. The story focuses on a house that was occupied by squatters as a desperate last resort to remain safe and is indicative of a housing shortage that is gripping not just Birmingham but, the nation as whole.
Hidden City is a key to the forgotten past and unnoticed present of Birmingham city culture.
Words: Lee Hall
Image: Ellie Gibbons