Chris Upton was a historian of the West Midlands for twenty years. He championed the restoration of many Midlands heritage sites, wrote copiously on the history of the region and was Reader in Public History at Newman University. His work on the history of working-class housing, which led to the restoration of the Back to Backs in Birmingham, now managed by the National Trust, ignited his interest in the treatment of the poor in the first Birmingham workhouse. Ten years of painstaking archival research has produced this astonishing recreation of the physical and mental world of the ‘lower orders’ in the eighteen- and early-nineteenth-century city. Chris Upton died in 2015 and this book has been edited by his wife, Fiona Tait, and his colleague at Newman, Dr Ian Cawood.