Who was Joseph Chamberlain?

Joseph Chamberlain was committed to social reform; on becoming Mayor of Birmingham he forcibly purchased the Birmingham Gas Light and Coke Company and the Birmingham and Staffordshire Gas Light Company on behalf of the council. The purchase generated enough by way of profit to enable the council to buy out the local water companies in 1875, a decision driven by Chamberlain’s belief that residents deserved better than the contaminated water supply that had previously served the town.

The revenue returned to the Council allowed Chamberlain to not only ensure the price of gas kept falling but to continue his reforms – building Corporation Street to relieve traffic congestion and let in light and air into that densely populated area, investing in new housing to replace the slums as well as new sewers, libraries, swimming pools, a new museum and a new art gallery.

Everyone present at our Lectures, either directly or indirectly contributes towards the betterment of our local public sector, and we feel sure Chamberlain’s response to criticism of his Radical Programme will resonate:

If we fail, let us try again and again until we succeed

Let us reflect, as watch or attend the annual Lecture, on this and celebrate our collective successes while we debate how we strive to do more.

Get Involved

Interested in partnering or sponsoring the 2023 Lecture?