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xHumed: Dr Joseph Priestley shares his Birmingham loves and hates

Birmingham’s toleration in England is low. But this town alone is an abundant refutation of this assertion

Dr Joseph Priestley
Joseph Priestley

Following last week’s Birmingham Day – which celebrated all that is great about the city – this week the Birmingham Post Business Daily recognises those individuals who have made an indelible impact on Birmingham over the centuries.

From today until Friday, we interview the city’s greatest thinkers in its history, including industrialists, political theorists and social reformers for their take on life in the daily Q&A.

Each of this week’s interviewees will be ‘appearing’ alongside live speakers at xHumed: How the Industrial Age Forged Our Digital Future, will take place at the Library of Birmingham on November 5. For more details www.xhumed.co.uk.

Name: Dr Joseph Priestley or @JPriestley1733

Age: 280

Job title: Clergyman, chemist, educator and political theorist.

Best thing about Birmingham/West Midlands? Birmingham's toleration in England is low. But this town alone is an abundant refutation of this assertion. The accents in the rough house plays 'The Peaky Blinders' however do not much help.

Worst thing about Birmingham/West Midlands? I cannot consider the aggregate body of any town as consisting of persons of learning or education. One remarks that during the 'Weeke of the Freshers' there is many an alehouse which is home to young men of education but without an enormity of sense.

First thing you would do if you were Birmingham City Council leader? All people live in society for their mutual advantage; so the happiness of the majority is the standard by which everything must be determined - thus my first act would be to resign.

Who are your heroes? Members of the Lunar Society who have helped me greatly, Boulton especially. So blind can party spirit make men to the true colour of their own conduct and that of their friends… and Boulton does serve a mean party spirit.

What was your childhood ambition? My original and favourite profession was that of a Christian Minister, the most important useful and honourable of all. It is said that if I had not meddled with politics the riots in Birmingham would not have taken place - and I would not have had to flee.

What is the region’s best restaurant? In this care I imagine you would rather trust yourselves to nature: thus King Kebab, King's Heath.

What is the region’s hidden gem? Birmingham's Royal Hotel. The populace believe that I dined there on the fourteenth of July 1791 but I had to make other plans... is it still there?

Joseph Priestley will ‘appear’ at xHumed: How the Industrial Age Forged Our Digital Future at the Library of Birmingham.

City Life is a daily question and answer session published in the Birmingham Post Business Daily. If you would like to take part email your answers, with your picture, to businessdaily@birminghampost.co.uk

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