Working together to make Birmingham a better place for everyone

Chairman’s Spring update

It’s been an incredibly busy and exciting start to 2019 in my role as Chairman, and I can honestly say I’m not sure where the last few months have gone. It’s been a privilege to meet with organisations and individuals who contribute so much to Birmingham, we are incredibly lucky to have so many people that care about the future of our city.  

In February I was honoured to unveil my first Blue Plaque to Mary Cottrell, a pioneering women who changed history. The plaque can be found on our Blue Plaque Map, which I encourage you to explore and engage with – what a way to interact with the people and places that have made Birmingham what it is today.   

It was also my pleasure to send the best wishes on behalf of the Society to celebrate #WestMidlands550, the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The campaign is based on teachings for inclusivity, equality, fairness and respect for all and you can find out more about this here.   

I look forward to the months ahead, and encourage anyone who wants to find out more about the Society to get in touch.  

2019 Renaissance Award

There is still time to get your nominations in for our 2019 Renaissance Award as the competition closes on 31 March. The award recognises the most successful conservation project completed in the city in 2018, be it the restoration of a derelict building, park or structure or the conversion of a redundant and neglected building. To nominate your favourite project that has been brought back to life, please complete and return this short nomination form by Sunday.

Florence Barrow Blue Plaque to be unveiled

Join us on Friday 26 April, 1.30 – 3pm, at the Friends Meeting House, St James Road, Edgbaston, where we will be unveiling a Centenary Blue Plaque to Florence Barrow, a founding member of the Civic Society and a recipient of the society’s Gold Medal in 1958. Florence Barrow [1876 – 1964] was a Quaker humanitarian, adult educator and housing reformer. The plaque will be installed on her former home in Frederick Road later this year. Email Penny to attend.

On This Day…#thecitybeautiful100

The City Beautiful centenary project has provided a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the lives of the recipients of the society’s Blue Plaques. Our #OTD tweets told the stories of around 70 significant people in the history of Birmingham who were, amongst others, scientists, artists, musicians, politicians, writers, clergy, philanthropists, poets, inventors and in one instance a former slave - all of whom have contributed to the character of the city and its place in the world.

Full story

Birmingham Live: 30 Under 30

Last year our Chairman Amelia was chosen as one of Birmingham Live’s inaugural ’30 Under 30’ which celebrates the city’s most inspiring and enterprising people under 30. Amelia was nominated for her mentoring work with professional services networking group BPS Birmingham and for promoting the activities of Birmingham Civic Society. Birmingham Live interviewed Amelia for this year’s campaign launch and the deadline for nominations for this year is today.

Read the interview

2019 James Watt Bicentenary

The 2019 Bicentenary commemorative programme celebrating the life and legacy of James Watt is now available. The programme is coordinated by the Lunar Society and offers a wide-ranging programme of talks, tours, events and activities in partnership with a host of other Birmingham organisations, including our BTfL team who will be planting trees to commemorate the bicentenary in Handsworth Park on Saturday 23 November.

More info

BTfL end the season with lots of happy planters and trees!

BTfL has ended the season with two lovely tree planting events for families, one at the Lickeys for ‘Friends and Family’ tree sponsors, and one at Kingfisher Country Park with the family of Leo McKevitt, Head Ranger at the park for many years, who sadly passed away in 2018. Leo’s family planted 10 large trees and a few days later lots of young people and adult volunteers, with the help of BTfL’s partners the Woodland Trust, came along to add 1500 sapling trees, to form ‘Leo’s Wood’. A wonderful lasting legacy to remember Leo by, who did so much to help to create Kingfisher Country Park for the people of the city.

Full story & gallery

Well deserved recognition for Sarah James

Every year for International Women's Day, The Planner magazine publishes a list of planning's Women of Influence, as nominated by its readers and selected by a number of distinguished planners. We are delighted that one of our members Sarah James, has been named as one of the top 50 most influential women in planning. Sarah is Membership Development Officer for Civic Voice, based at The Coffin Works. Even more important for Civic Voice is that Sarah has been identified as one of the top 10 most influential in the Third Sector.  

Full story

Everything to Everybody

The ‘Everything to Everybody’ project is developing a £1 million plan to unlock the world’s first great people’s Shakespeare Library for all. Housed in the Library of Birmingham, it contains over 100,000 treasures from a First Folio to music scores, costume designs, artworks by Picasso and texts in 93 different languages. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded the project £32,700 of development funding to help progress plans to revive this great cultural resource. They are keen to start conversations with potential project partners interested in collaborating. To get involved, book to attend one of the free information evenings at the Library of Birmingham on Thursday 11 or Friday 26 April, 6 – 8pm.

Full story & to book

Tell us what you think!

Anne-Marie Hayes is collating feedback to support the National Lottery Heritage Fund evaluation of our #thecitybeautiful100 centenary celebrations and has created two very short surveys which will help significantly with the evaluation.

If you attended a talk, tour, family activity, or event, please complete this very short survey.

And if you volunteered in some capacity on the project, please also complete this one.

Thank you!


Welcome to new personal members Rosalind Hext and Rowena Wilding. We look forward to seeing you all at our events throughout the year.

The Birmingham Civic Society

9 Margaret Street
Birmingham B3 3BS

07780 976928
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Birmingham Civic Society · 9 Margaret Street · Birmingham, West Midlands B3 3BS · United Kingdom