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MMMMM – Birmingham Council House Tour

posted 21 Feb 2018, 03:03 by Phil Williams   [ updated 21 Feb 2018, 03:18 ]
Another MMMMM away day on Monday 5th February and another memorable one attended by 24 members. The day included a guided tour of the Council House in Victoria Square and lunch a short walk away in the Old Joint Stock pub. Having walked past the Council House for 20 years on my way to work, I was intrigued to actually visit inside for the first time and was not disappointed. Most of us arrived at New Street Station and made our way to the Council House avoiding the obstacles as the tram line is being extended up Pinfold Street.

Our tour around the Council House lasted for over an hour and we were led by an enthusiastic and very informative guide, Julie Goodall, who had worked for the Council for 27 years and there were no questions she could not answer. Although Julie did say she ‘needed a sense of humour to take us around’! On our part we were able to recall how many women Lord Mayors there had been when asked later by Julie – the answer is 8.

We were given some fascinating facts about the Council House and that when it was opened in 1879 it cost £163k to build. Today the building needs a massive overhaul that will cost somewhere around £70m! Our tour inside included the Mayor’s Parlour and
the Council Chamber. Bob Johnson took his rightful place by sitting in the Lord Mayor’s seat in the Chamber! Whilst the Council Chamber has a traditional appearance, it has many up to date electronic features, notably, if you want to watch a Council session, you can simply view the live on line streaming.
Once the tour ended we made our way to the Old Joint Stock pub which has a magnificent vaulted ceiling and a very decorative island bar. Particular thanks go to Ron Hines who had already tipped us off that if you sign up to the Old Joint Stock pub website you receive a voucher for a free drink. Free beer!!! The majority of us indulged in steak and kidney pie or fish and chips which were excellent, served by Kate and her team.

Suitably well fed and watered, those travelling by train rolled back down the hill to New Street station resisting the temptation of other hostelries en route.

Thanks go to those who supported this event and in particular to the organiser, Bob Frisby.

An excellent day!

John Wright