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New Year’s Honours 2011

January 9, 2011

It’s time for the annual trawl through the pdf which is the New Year’s Honours List.  It really is quite an inaccessible document – a 98 page pdf without an index or contents page, I guess it’s nice to work from an original source for a change.  Anyway, the format of the announcement is pretty irrelevant.  The point here is that these announcements offer a moment in time for us to reflect more formally on the contributions made by our people.

So what of the Women in Brum this year?  On the face of it (I have been known to miss some brummies) only 8 awards attribtued to the people of Birmingham, of which 5 went to women.

Again, I am proud to say I count one as a personal friend.  Congratulations to Dorothy Wilson.  The work on the mac refurbishment has been a very long endurance test for Dorothy and her numerous colleagues over a large number of years.  When I was General Manager at mac in the late 1990s it was already a huge part of Dorothy’s work.  These impressive and major projects really do take time to prepare and plan.  It is a real pleasure to see Dorothy recognised not only for that fantastic project, but her significant contributions to the arts over a number of years.


For services to Athletics


Leader, International Wives’ Group. For voluntary service to International Students.

Mrs Lesley Meriel FRANKLIN MBE

Leader, Stonehouse Gang Youth Group. For services to Young People in Weoley Castle, Birmingham.

Mrs Jeanette HART MBE

For services to the community in North Birmingham.


Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Midlands Arts Centre. For services to the Arts.

So there they are, a fine array of generous people who make commitments to others way beyond the call of duty.  At least a couple with no presence on the internet (prior to these awards and this article):  a cautionary reminder to those of us who struggle to get by without wifi – there really is plenty to be done without the internet!

Here is the full list I explored to find these people…

So finally, thank you to all of you for your contributons to our community and congratulations on your award.

Alice Beale 1845~1940

July 7, 2010

Alice Beale is perhaps best known as the first President of the Birmingham Settlement from 1899 to 1924, a charity ‘originally providing support to women and families in the seriously deprived area of St Mary’s, now known as Newtown‘.

She had associations with the Birmingham Women’s Hospital for 63 years and proposed the introduction of women Health Visitors.

I’m struggling to find out much more about Alice, though the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery do have a beautiful brooch/necklace she owned whilst Lady Mayoress.  I have also gleaned from the National Archives website,  that her husband, Charles Beale was Lord Mayor on four occasions, including three successive terms from 1897~1900.  In addition to his political career, he was in legal practice with their two sons.  No mention of any daughters – which of course doesn’t mean there weren’t any!

How different would life have been for the women of Birmingham without these kind of women.  And I wonder, if they had been alive today, in a society more equal for women, what they could have achieved.

Others enthuse about philanthropists

July 7, 2010

I was delighted a wee while back to find this great piece about Birmingham’s women philanthropists on the Birmingham Disability Resource Centre’s website. I’m not sure when it was written, but the author was clearly on the same page as me in terms of seeking to recognise and champion the role of women in Birmingham.  They were clearly also drawn to the Philanthropists over the years.  Well worth a read.

2010 Queen’s Birthday honours

June 12, 2010

It’s that time of year again, when the Queen gains a birthday and a few fine folk gain an award in recognition of their work for the nation – or a part of it. Unfortunately the women this year have a very limited presence online, so please excuse the poor quality of the linking information!

So, here are the Birmingham Women honoured in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List 2010:

Miss Sarah WEBB CBE

Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Housing. For services to the Housing Sector.


For services to Study Support and Playing for Success.

Miss Jacqueline HARRISON MBE

Head of Public Relations, West Midlands Police. For services to the Police.

Miss Sharon PALMER MBE

Chief Executive, Regional Action West Midlands. For services to the Third Sector.

Lady Christine YAPP, JP MBE

For services to the community in Birmingham.

Angela Maxwell OBE

For services to Business in the West Midlands

The full list is here, Directgov tells us that women this year make up 47% of the list.

Elnora Ferguson 1929~2008

February 3, 2010

On Tuesday 4 February 2009, the Birmingham Post ran a story about the purchase of a new piece of art at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts at Birmingham University.

This is an interesting story for here for a couple of reasons.  The artist, Rosalba Carriera, is from Venice and is only the third woman to have a piece displayed among the collection of fine art.  Frankly shocking, but progress I guess!

The other interesting story relates to the donor.  Elnora Ferguson left a  generous bequest to the Barber which completed their fund-raising campaign and allowed them to purchase this artwork.  So, who is Elnora Ferguson?  Well, a fascinating and fantastic woman it seems to me.

A Quaker, she chaired the National Peace Council (and her local Selly Oak branch).  Her voluntary work and charitable donations were recognised when two local universities awarded her honorary degrees (Coventry University and the University of Birmingham). She came originally from Lancashire, but clearly left her mark on our fair city as a highly active citizen, member of the Lunar Society, educationalist and equality campaigner.  Truly a modern day philanthropist.

Dame Gracie Field – an honorary Brimmin?

February 1, 2010

Whilst researching Dame Hilda Lloyd for our list of great Brummie women, I came across this article in the Times Higher.  What a peculiar story.  Highly appropriate for here as it links two of the women on our list (Hilda Lloyd and Jane Bunford) and creates an intriguing connection with the fabulous Gracie. We may not be able to claim her as a great Birmingham Woman, but if the story is true, she certainly left her mark on the city in a more direct way than we might have predicted!

Perfect new look

January 25, 2010

I wrote a few weeks ago about the imaginative and frankly impressively onerous project DesignSocial >> 52 creative projects >> 52 weeks.  Andrea, true to her word made contact to hone the brief and bang on target sent me a batch of design ideas for some new moo cards so I can spread the word about this website.  Here they are:

So I am delighted, I have ordered the cards and they’ll be with me in the next week.  Meanwhile we turned our attention to the website header.  I’m something of a branding fanatic and wanted to make sure they match.  After a few false starts, we came up with the one you see here.  I hope you’ll agree, it tells a tale in itself.

If you want to read more about Andrea’s approach to this design brief, take a look here. It’s also worth browsing through the rest of her site – 1 project a week for 52 weeks, that’s some marathon…

I owe Andrea an enormous thank you.  It’s been a pleasure working with you and I absolutely love what you pulled together – from an email or two and a browse through this site, you’ve really captured it well.  Thank you and good luck with the rest of the year.  I hearby award you honorary Brimmin status.


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