Working together to make Birmingham a better place for everyone

Inaugural William Haywood Award

We’re pleased to announce that we are accepting nominations for our inaugural William Haywood Award, which celebrates innovative regeneration in Birmingham.

The award honours William Haywood, a founding member of the Society and one of the most influential leaders in the city during the early twentieth century. The award aims to celebrate people and projects who, like Haywood, have had a dramatic and beneficial effect on the regeneration of the city.

2019 will be the first time the Society considers the award, which was conceived as part of our ‘The City Beautiful’ centenary celebrations. The award will be considered bi-annually and will be awarded on the basis of a theme. This year the award will focus on ‘Innovative Regeneration’ to mark the bicentenary of James Watt’s death.

Nominations close on Tuesday 8 October and you can download the nomination form here.

Read the full story on our website.

NGA finals next month

The finals of our Next Generation Awards 2019 will take place in just a couple of weeks at the wonderful Highbury Hall and are being very kindly sponsored by Aston University. On the evening our four finalist teams from Oscott Manor School, Bordesley Green Girls’ School & Sixth Form, Hamstead Hall Academy and King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls will make their Gold Award winning presentations to our judges, the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Mohammed Azim & Lady Mayoress Miss Bushra Bi and our invited audience.

Read the full story here.

A ghostly tour around the city centre

For Halloween, as the witching season approaches its climax, join us for a walk through the spectral, mysterious and downright gruesome elements of Birmingham’s past. Where and why did a corpse move? What is the “Angel of Blood”? What happened to Birmingham’s shortest (and tallest) women? Add to this a dose of criminals, plague pits, people who met unfortunate ends, and a graveyard considerably more crowded than you could ever have imagined and you have the recipe for a couple of hours that will make you see Birmingham in a new light… or should that be darkness?

Full story and to book

Annual Leaders’ Breakfast

It was great to hear from our excellent keynote speaker, Councillor Brigid Jones, Deputy Leader of BCC, speaking about the city’s transport strategy, responding to climate change and other challenges facing the city. She began by outlining the city’s intentions to become a greener, more sustainable living city. This theme was highly appropriate for the venue, as the Level 16 Sky Loft of our host Park Regis, offered panoramic views across the wider city on a beautiful early autumn morning, showing just how green Birmingham is.  

Full story & gallery

Join in - Give back

Join in, give back – invest in the city you love. This new film, produced by Sarah Hayes, helps us focus on our key messages which is vital when recruiting new members to the Society: we do so much across so many areas of activity that it doesn't always help us communicate a clear message, so this film is designed to do just that. Hopefully the key points will become familiar over the coming weeks and months as excerpts are featured across a wide range of social media.

Watch film

BTfL ‘Return to Nature’ at Holders Lane Woods!

This month, Birmingham Trees for Life were delighted to be part of the Forward Arts ‘Return to Nature’ Arts and Wellbeing Festival at Holders Lane Woods in Moseley – a woodland celebration of the natural world. The sunlight dappled through the beautiful canopy of trees in this old woodland and the birdsong was wonderful – a serene haven in the city. It was a gorgeous day and there was a wide range of eco-themed activities and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy and participate in.

Full Story

A Blue Plaque to Revd Thomas Swan

Join us at Edgbaston Community Centre on Wednesday 23 October at 1.30pm, for the unveiling of a Blue Plaque to the Revd Thomas Swan. Revd Swan (1795-1857) was closely connected with the anti-slavery movement; he was appointed Minister at Cannon Street Baptist Church in 1829 and President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain in 1839.  He attended the Anti-Slavery Convention in 1840 and was also concerned with parliamentary reform and the Temperance cause. After the unveiling the plaque will be erected on his former home in Yew Tree Road. Email Penny to attend.  

Email Penny

We unveil our 2019 Renaissance Award

This month we unveiled our 2019 Renaissance Award to 29-32 Mary Street. This former workshop in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter has been transformed into a fine modern home by owners Jan Arkwright and Malcolm Kirkham. The Grade II listed building, dating from 1823, is the JQ’s oldest surviving example of this type of workshop. It had been derelict for many years before being sensitively brought back to life by Jan and Malcolm working closely with corporate member, BPN Architects, who led the renovation team.  

View gallery

Blue Plaque to James Watt unveiled

A Blue Plaque marking the site of steam engineer James Watt’s home in Handsworth was unveiled this month as part of this year’s James Watt bicentenary project, which has been led by the Lunar Society. Watt lived at Heathfield Hall in Handsworth from 1790 until his death in 1819. The Hall was demolished in the 1920s and the estate developed for housing. However, the 19th century gatehouse survives and so was the perfect choice as a location for the Blue Plaque.

Full story

Signs of those times

The lovely people at I Choose Birmingham got in touch recently as they wanted to write a feature about our Blue Plaques for their weekly newsletter. It was difficult to pick, but we settled on five famous, three that deserved to be, plus a mention of a few that have gone missing or are hard to find…and one for 2020. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can read their newsletter here.

Blue Plaque – a poem by Casey Bailey

There’s a lot about Blue Plaques in this month’s newsletter, so we thought that we’d share Casey Bailey’s poem ‘Blue Plaque’ again. We commissioned Casey to write a poem last year for our centenary, and he’s now finding worldwide fame with ‘The Ballad of The Peaky Blinders’, a lyrical recap of the story so far, specially commissioned by the BBC before the launch of series 5.

See Casey perform ‘Blue Plaque.

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