Special commemorative package – Lessons from Joseph Chamberlain and Birmingham


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Devolution of power and the future governance of cities such as Birmingham has become a significant focus of political debate.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries one man – Joseph Chamberlain – established the modern model for civic government that was replicated in cities worldwide and which made Birmingham “the best governed city in the industrial world.”

In this special report Chamberlain’s biographer Professor Peter Marsh, and the current leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore, examine the principles of Chamberlain’s philosophy of civic government and his translation of the “Civic Gospel” into practice.

They suggest that as Westminster debates devolution, Chamberlain has valuable lessons to teach us a century after his death in 1914.

This History West Midlands special report will, we hope, contribute to this discussion and provoke debate of how a 21st Century “Civic gospel” could be developed.

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