Working together to make Birmingham a better place for everyone

A first for the 2019 Next Generation Awards: two winners!

Earlier this month, young people, their teachers and parents, and professionals from across Birmingham came together at Highbury Hall for the final of the 2019 Birmingham Civic Society’s Next Generation Awards. Four finalist teams presented their ideas to a panel of judges representing the private, public and voluntary sectors of our city.

This year the judges were so impressed that they decided to make Hamstead Hall Academy and Oscott Manor School joint winners. The teams will share the Newman Prize and a bursary from Aston University between them, a combined prize of £1700 to get their projects off to a flying start.

Full story & gallery.

Save the date for our AGM

We are delighted to be hosting our AGM at Pinsent Masons, 55 Colmore Row on Wednesday 4th December. Join us for a mince pie or two to hear about the work of the Society over the past year.

We are currently looking to appoint a Membership and Recruitment Trustee and an Honorary Treasurer at this year’s AGM. You can find out more about the roles on our website here or by emailing Amelia Ladbrook.

New look for our Coat of Arms

We would like to thank trustee, Stephen Hartland, who, for our centenary, commissioned Quentin Peacock, an heraldic digital artist, to refresh the Society’s Coat of Arms. The one that we have used since 2007 was taken from the original Letters Patent from the College of Arms, granting the Society the right to bear Arms. Stephen has written a brief history of our Coat of Arms for the website and you can see more examples of Quentin’s work here.

Read the full story

Blue Plaque to mark the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth unveiled  

The plaque was unveiled by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street at Woodbrooke in Selly Oak this month, the same location and on the same date the revered civil rights leader visited 88 years ago as part of his UK tour to discuss Indian freedom. Arriving in Birmingham on October 18 1931, Gandhi spoke to an audience of more than 300 people in the Cadbury Room at Woodbrooke about how Indian freedom could be obtained through peaceful means. He visited Woodbrooke in part as a favour to his friend Horace Alexander, who taught international relations at the centre. After his speech to the Cadbury Room Gandhi stayed the night at Woodbrooke, sleeping on the floor of his bedroom as he had become accustomed.

Full story

Audley Primary School gets creative with trees!

Heavy clouds may have loomed over Shard End, but that didn’t stop children from year 4 of Audley Primary School marching down to Glebe Farm Recreation Ground with a spring in their step and the intent to have fun! Birmingham Trees for Life took the children to the site where last winter they had planted trees, to learn more about trees and nature with Mandy Ross, a Birmingham based Arts Practitioner, who led a workshop with the children celebrating nature in the park, which runs alongside the River Cole.

Full story

Revd Thomas Swan Blue Plaque unveiled

This month, we also unveiled a Blue Plaque to Reverend Thomas Swan, member of Birmingham Anti-Slavery Society and Minister at Cannon Street Baptist Church in the early 19th century. Issues such as the slave trade were being hotly debated in Birmingham yet the rich contribution to the anti-slavery movement made by Thomas Swan has been largely forgotten. The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Birmingham and Bill and Lorraine Graham, the current owners of Yew Tree Road, Edgbaston, jointly unveiled the plaque with pupils from St George’s CoE Primary School. We would like to thank Bill and Lorraine for their nomination and huge support in making the award possible, and the children for sharing their poems and stories about Revd Swan and his contribution to the abolition of slavery.

Full story

Hospice to remember 40 years of loved ones with ‘Light up a Life’ event  

Birmingham’s largest hospice is encouraging families to remember their loved ones this Christmas, with an evening of music and celebration. Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice – which has been caring for local people for 40 years – is inviting the community to its seasonal ‘Light up a Life’ ceremonies, to remember and celebrate the lives of those who are sadly no longer with us. With two events taking place at the Hospice on Thursday 12 December – the first at 5.30pm and the second at 7.30pm – guests will be able to enjoy Christmas carols, live musical performances and a moving display of silent fireworks.

Full story

Sir Robert Peel statue

At our July meeting, trustees agreed to work with Birmingham City Council, through our Public Art Committee, to find a better location for the memorial statue to Sir Robert Peel, which is located on the Pershore Road, outside the Police Training College. Meanwhile, the polished Peterhead granite plinth upon which his memorial stood for 108 years remains marooned in Calthorpe Park. The college is to re-locate, rendering any tenuous link to the founder of the Metropolitan Police obsolete; but how did the statue come to be on the roadside in Edgbaston, while its plinth stood without its purpose in a park, just three-quarters of a mile away?

Full story

Communities Secretary launches heritage campaign

Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has announced the launch of a heritage preservation campaign, which will empower local people to protect thousands of historic buildings and preserve them for future generations. Local Lists have been around for many years but what is new is that Local Lists are being promoted in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Historic England is encouraging all local authorities to compile one. To support this, HE will launch a national campaign on local identity getting the country talking about what defines our heritage. There’s information on the Civic Voice website for how community groups can enhance their local conservation area through a Local Heritage List campaign.

Full story


Congratulations to trustee, Tony Elvin, who was named as Solihull Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Business Person of the Year 2019 at their recent Annual Awards. Tony is General Manager of Touchwood, and Touchwood also received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Community.

HS2: Curzon Street Station design events

Next month look out for the information boards at New Street Station and Millennium Point showcasing the design of the new HS2 Curzon Street Station. For an opportunity to discuss the design, drop in to one of the open sessions to talk to the HS2 and WSP teams about the Station design.

More info.

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