Mr Birtles was the father of Sheila Birtles.
Sheila was Mr and Mrs Birtles's only child. In 1962, when the middle-aged couple retired and moved to Rawtenstall, Sheila elected to remain in Weatherfield and live with her friend Doreen Lostock at the Corner Shop flat in Coronation Street rather than go with them.
After five months, the Birtles wrote to Sheila hinting that they wanted her to join them in Rawtenstall. Mr Birtles had been particularly unhappy about Sheila living away from them and the letter was brought on by the mill down the road from them opening up, meaning that Sheila would have a job waiting for her should she come and live with them.
In addition the letter, Mrs Birtles turned up at the flat unannounced to inspect the bedsit and ask her daughter in person. After an unsavoury encounter with Sheila's clownish mate Jed Stone, Mrs Birtles's fears about the company her daughter was keeping were confirmed, and she summoned her husband to make Sheila come with them to Rawtenstall. However, Mr Birtles was very reasonable, and agreed to Sheila's landlady Florrie Lindley's proposal that she write to them every so often to let them know how Sheila was doing instead. While at the flat, Mr Birtles was introduced to Leonard Swindley and Emily Nugent, and remarked to the latter that he'd heard all about her from his nephew Edwin, much to the consternation of a jealous Swindley.
In January 1963, when Sheila helped Jed out at his stall on the market, they let people think that they were going out together for a laugh. Florrie, who wasn't in on the joke, sent the Birtles a letter informing them about Sheila and Jed, leading them to pay a visit to Weatherfield to properly meet Jed. Jed was highly shocked when they accosted him at his lodgings and asked for a word with their future son-in-law. It wasn't until they'd got hold of Sheila that the misunderstanding was cleared up.
Eight months later, after contemplating suicide because of Neil Crossley Sheila, left the flat and moved to Rawtenstall, no doubt pleasing her overprotective parents.