This year, the Birmingham Civic Society presents ‘The City Beautiful’, a programme of special events and activities taking place across the city to celebrate 100 years of the society. Thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Birmingham Civic Society has arranged a whole host of walks, tours, and other celebrations open to everyone, to mark this important milestone for the organisation.
Events and activities in ‘The City Beautiful’ programme include;
- Sunday 10 June, 1pm Civic Picnic (Soho House) Pack a picnic, join the festivities and receive a warm welcome as the society celebrates its 100th birthday with a fun filled afternoon in the grounds of Soho House, Handsworth, home of industrialist and Birmingham great, Matthew Boulton. Free event.
- Saturday 2 June, 28 July & 22 September, 10am City Centre Walking Tour A fun and fascinating walking tour of Birmingham city centre with Blue Badge Guide, Ian Jelf. The tour will visit key landmarks and places of interest in the city, highlighting important aspects of Birmingham Civic Society, and some of the individuals who have contributed to making Birmingham a better place.
- Saturday 7 July, 5pm-7pm Divine Beauty Concert (Birmingham Cathedral). A programme of great cathedral anthems inspired by the stained-glass windows. This concert supports the Divine Beauty window restoration project.
- Sunday 16 September, 2pm Edward Burne-Jones Walk Birmingham Cathedral’s Heritage Manager tells the story of one of the city’s best-known artists through the sights and sounds of the city centre.
- Saturday 17 November, 10am The Suffragette Movement in Birmingham (The Council House, Birmingham) Women’s historian Nicola Gauld provides a fascinating account of the suffragette movement in Birmingham from key individuals to historic events.
These are just a few of the events taking place this year to mark the Society’s centenary. In November 2017, the society announced that it had been awarded a grant of £55,700 from the National Lottery towards the 'The City Beautiful' project to celebrate and commemorate the centenary of the Society. This has allowed for other projects including a Young People’s Blue Plaque film project, an outdoor temporary exhibition in the city centre, a citywide heritage trail, conserving the statue of Queen Victoria in Victoria Square, and installing four new blue plaques to notable citizens.
Gavin Orton, Chairman of the Society said:
“We are delighted to be able to offer such a great range of events and activities to Birmingham residents, workers and visitors to the city, celebrating 100 years of the Birmingham Civic Society. The society and its members work tirelessly to protect our city’s green spaces and cultural heritage and promote citizenship amongst young people. We hope these events and activities will show off all that is great about Birmingham and encourage even more people to become members.”
The Society has a proud record of achievement in preserving and celebrating the city’s heritage. In the 1920s and 30s it raised significant funds to purchase and donate substantial areas of land to the city’s public parks. Later on the Society was also instrumental in preserving a number of familiar Birmingham statues, most notably those of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, Joseph Sturge and Joseph Priestley.
It was thanks to the Society that Birmingham Cathedral’s world-famous Burne-Jones windows were removed into safe storage at the outbreak of the Second World War. The cathedral was subsequently badly damaged by bombing during the Birmingham Blitz and so without the Civic Society’s intervention these superb works of art would have been lost for ever. More recently, the society has planted over 70,000 trees through the Trees for Life programme and over 26,500 students have taken part in the Next Generation Awards.
Download the full centenary programme at www.birminghamcivicsociety.org.uk