Dear Editor, I am delighted the statue of Edward VII has returned to the city centre, to a position where many more people will see. Much of the recent coverage has failed to acknowledge the people involved in this project, which has taken eight years.
In 2005, kindling the interest of the then cabinet member for heritage, Councillor Ray Hassall, was the first successful step in getting the matter seriously thought about. I must record the support and goodwill of the head of heritage services, Chris Rice, whom I have worked with over the past five years in getting this project to come to fruition.
I have also worked with Glyn Pitchford, vice chairman of The Birmingham Civic Society, in arranging countless meetings with conservation officers, planning officers and other city council officials.
The real breakthrough came at the AGM of the Birmingham Civic Society in October 2006, when the leader of the council, Mike Whitby, delivered an address to members of the society on the importance of heritage in our city. Afterwards I challenged him to restore and re-locate the statue to the city centre. Councillor Whitby responded positively and asked for five sites to be submitted for consideration.
It seemed appropriate, at this time, to advise HRH The Prince of Wales, and it was highly pleasing to receive a donation from the Prince, along with his good wishes for the project.
The Victorian Society campaign raised nearly £11,500 in just a few months, including a large negotiated donation from Targetfollow plc. The fund-raising campaign showed that we meant business and the director of planning and regeneration, Clive Dutton, agreed to allocate Section 106 funds to the project.
All of these people and organisations have made a valuable contribution to this project and the result is that the city has shown appropriate expiation. All we need now is an appropriate unveiling to match that of St George’s Day 1913.
Stephen Hartland, Chairman
The Victorian Society
Birmingham & West Midlands Group