Politicians, academics and members of the public will come together for a special conference to mark the centenary of the death of Joseph Chamberlain in July.
Titled Joseph Chamberlain: Imperial Standard Bearer; National Leader; Local Icon, the two-day event features a series of guest speakers, panel debates and location visits designed to showcase different aspects of Chamberlain’s life, as well as a special conference dinner at Highbury Hall – Chamberlain’s home in Birmingham – that will provide insights into the private life of one of the most significant politicians in recent history.
The event, which is organised by Newman University, takes place on July 4 and 5 and is split between Newman’s campus in Bartley Green and the Library of Birmingham.
Chamberlain is recognised as being the man who transformed Birmingham during his time as mayor by forcibly buying gas and water utility companies on behalf of residents and his vigorous campaigns for educational and social reform. He also overcame protests from landlords to launch a slum clearance programme across the city.
Corporation Street was built by Chamberlain in the late 1880s with a design modelled on a Parisian boulevard.
Dr Ian Cawood, head of history at Newman University and the driving force behind the conference, said: “Whatever your view of his politics – and he was certainly a divisive character – Joseph Chamberlain was one of the defining politicians of his age and a real advocate for Birmingham on both the national and international stage.
“A city industrialist, he didn’t benefit from the university education of many of his peers, entering the House of Commons relatively late at the age of 39.
“But he was active during a time of unprecedented social and political change and made a real impression at local, national and international level – a fact reflected in the fact we have speakers attending the conference from as far away as South Africa and New Zealand to share their views..”
The conference is organised by Newman University.
Tickets start from £25, and reduced prices of £15 for students and the unwaged.