Working together to make Birmingham a better place for everyone

And we have a winner!

We are delighted to announce that Mary Street has won this year’s Birmingham Civic Society Renaissance Award! The Planning Committee visited four outstanding shortlisted projects in May, and while there was an exceptionally high standard of entries this year, the committee unanimously voted for Mary Street as the winner. The building dating from 1823 has been carefully restored and transformed into a modern home by owners Malcolm Kirkham and Jan Arkwright who sensitively bought the former workshop back into use, which they now call their home.

The Planning Committee felt that Mary Street had been transformed into a fine city home creating an oasis of quiet and calm in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter. They were thoroughly impressed with the level of repairs and conservation carried out and how the new interventions have been introduced and skillfully integrated. New and old blend together virtually seamlessly and the owners’ attention to detail is meticulous and well considered.

The project team which consisted of BPN Architects, PMP Consultants and Nigel Birch of Springworth, all worked together over a period of a year to bring the project to fruition.

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Celebrate The City Beautiful project

We are celebrating the end of the hugely successful The City Beautiful centenary project in the idyllic surroundings of Blakesley Hall, Yardley. You and your friends and family are invited to join us at Blakesley Hall’s Summer Fete on Sunday 14 July where a programme of events and activities are planned alongside this popular public event. Following an informal reception in the gallery space for members, you will have the opportunity to visit Blakesley Hall and also join an exclusive guided tour of Old Yardley village with the Mrs History team.

Full story.

Engaging words from Neil Carney at our Summer Reception

It was great to hear from Neil Carney, keynote speaker at our Summer Reception this month, about the positive impact that the 2022 Commonwealth Games will bring to Birmingham. Neil shared some key stats about our Games – there will be 17 sports, involving 6500 athletes and officials, over 11 days. 11000 volunteers will be needed and 1.2m tickets will be available with over 1 billion watching worldwide. If there is one thing this Games need to do, it needs to tell our [Birmingham’s] story, and make us ambassadors so we can tell everyone else.

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Farewell and thanks to Jane

After over ten years in the role of School and Community Liaison for Birmingham Trees for Life, Jane Edwards has finally ‘retired’. At Jane’s final committee meeting this month, Chairman Geoff Cole presented her with a keepsake to remember all the trees, children and events that have been part of the last decade. So, both BTfL and the Society would like to thank Jane for all her hard work and tenacity, and for the good natured and efficient way in which she always got on with the job. She’ll be missed!

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Join us for another year

Join us for another year and help us to continue to make a difference. Thank you for your ongoing support of the Society as we continue our work into our next 100 years. Subscription renewals remain the same as last year and are due on 1 July. We believe this is great value and with your continued support, will ensure that we can deliver on the Society’s objectives in the coming years. It is a great time to be living and working in Birmingham and to be part of our great Society.

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Our 2018 Centenary Renaissance Awards unveiled

For our 2018 centenary, the Society decided to award four Renaissance Awards to buildings covering a long and significant period of Birmingham’s development from the early 19th to the late 20th century, acknowledging the different contribution each project has made to the city’s public realm. The four recipients were Bistrot Pierre, Lapworth Museum of Geology, The Riflemaker building and Two Cornwall Street. We’d like to thank Bruntwood for kindly hosting the presentations in the foyer of their beautiful Two Cornwall Street offices, and once the rain had stopped, on their rooftop terrace.

Rethinking James Watt: Innovation, Culture and Legacy conference

James Watt (1736-1819), the Scottish-born inventor, engineer, businessman and employer died on the 25 August 1819. By looking beyond his role in improving steam-engine technologies, this conference seeks to consider the diverse influences that shaped Watt’s experiences in Scotland and Birmingham. The conference is taking place at the University of Birmingham from Friday evening 30 August to Sunday 1 September and alongside it there will be a major Watt exhibition at the Library of Birmingham and the oldest surviving Watt working steam engine, the Smethwick Engine, will be operating at Thinktank.

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Brummies to Go Pink! For 40 years of vital hospice care

Birmingham St Mary's Hospice is asking local people to Go Pink! - whether that's wearing it pink, baking it pink or making it pink - on Wednesday 10 July to celebrate the day the Hospice was officially opened by Princess Alexandra in 1979. By turning the city pink, it hopes to raise vital awareness and funds for its work, in which it provides care and support to local people who are living with life-limiting illness. Click on the link below to find out more about the campaign and how to pledge your support.  

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The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

The Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service are equivalent to an MBE but for organisations rather than individuals. Highly prestigious and a recognition of excellence, they say a lot about the winning organisations and the people who drive them. Do you know of an organisation that deserves recognition? It is easy to nominate and the call is out now for next year’s worthy recipients. The West Midlands Lieutenancy is hosting a seminar on 4 July at Aston University, where you can learn about the awards and how to nominate an organisation. Email Bernadette Edwards to find out more.

Email Bernadette


Congratulations to the volunteers at the Coffin Works Museum who have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2019 on 2 June. The Coffin Works is one of 16 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups from the West Midlands to receive the prestigious award this year. Watch their volunteers’ vlog produced for Volunteers’ Week here and read the full list of WM recipients here.


Welcome to new personal members Irene de Boo and Paul Bowland and returning member Hugh Dyer. And also welcome to new corporate members the JQ BID and Cleanup UK. 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