It was great to celebrate our 100th birthday at the Civic Picnic on Sunday 10 June at Soho House Museum. The sun was shining, the choir were singing and we had a birthday cake that marked so much of what the Society has achieved over the last 100 years! We were really pleased to be joined by so many people from the local community.
The event clearly summed up what has been at the heart of the Society since we formed in 1918 – the importance of promoting and protecting our local heritage combined with the passion and energy of local people, proud of their great city and wanting to make it a better place for everyone.
There have been many events and activities since we kicked off in January, from erecting Blue Plaques to our founding members to planting centenary arboretums in the Lickey Hills, city walks to commissioning our centenary poem by Casey Bailey, from restoring the Queen Victoria statue to a centenary pub quiz helped along with a little Civic Pride…and we are only halfway through! We still have lots planned for the rest of the year to mark our centenary, so please take a look at the centenary program to find out more.
Not only are we delivering our centenary programme, but our committees continue to push forward with their individual activities too. Our Trees Committee, through Birmingham Trees for Life and in partnership with Birmingham City Council, have now planted over 74,000 trees across the city. The Next Generation Awards, organised by our Citizenship Committee, continues to encourage students from secondary schools across the city in finding ways to make a positive difference to their city. We will be shortly announcing the results of our Renaissance Awards, which saw a significant increase in the number of projects nominated this year – a good sign that our built heritage is being retained and brought back into positive use. Our Public Art Committee continues to support the Birmingham Big Art Project, which is now in its funding raising stages. We have erected more Blue Plaques and History Plaques over the last year meaning that we now have over 100 plaques celebrating people and places across the city.
In 1918 at the opening meeting of the Society, Neville Chamberlain said that the Society is an ‘experiment worth trying’… and I am very pleased to say that the Society’s Trustees, committees, members and support team are still full of energy, passion and commitment to trying out that experiment for the next 100 years!