Dear Editor, What do Fyfe Dangerfield, Sir Edward Burne Jones, the Acme Thunderer referees whistle, J R R Tolkien, Typhoo Tea, Ozzy Osbourne, the FA cup winners medals, and the Football League all have in common?
They answer is that they all started in Birmingham. Yet with the possible exception of the Football league, Birmingham has completely failed to celebrate these and other notable aspects of its heritage.
A visitor would be entitled to think that nothing happened here after Matthew Boulton and the Lunar Society of the late 18th century. Why this should be so is hard to understand. Villa supporters and the club recently erected a statue to William McGregor, founder of the World’s first soccer league, but outside Villa Park who knows about it?
How many people rushing up Broad Street understand the significance of the statues of Boulton, Murdoch and Watt?
Where is the recognition of the City’s musical heritage from Mendelsohn to Rattle to Heavy Metal and Banghra? Why is the world famous Jewellery Quarter struggling?
Birmingham is an innovative and dynamic city which has reinvented itself and has much to be proud of. But it cannot promote itself and has little ability to celebrate its heritage.
It certainly does not have the ability to pull in government support on the scale of Liverpool, Glasgow and similar cities.
If the city is serious about its bid to become the UK’s first city of culture, the first essential is to show it has a cultural heritage to be proud of.