The Patrons

The Trust has been joined by four patrons who will offer guidance and show their support for the Highbury project as we seek to raise funds to take the work forward.

Anita Bhalla OBE

Anita is well known for her 26-year media career with the BBC. Today her many roles include Chair of the Creative City Partnership which is a sub group of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP. This partnership of private and public sector and networks of independent creative and cultural businesses has identified interventions to develop and promote aspiring innovative and entrepreneurial talent, develop a local market for cultural and creative activity and enhance our reputation as a place to do business. She is also a Board member of and recent past Chair of MAC (Midlands Arts Centre). a member of Birmingham’s recent Social Inclusion Commission and currently a trustee of the Children’s University.

Oliver Chamberlain OVRM, TD, DL

Oliver will represent the Chamberlain family on the trust. He is a Land Agent based in Dorset with a distinguished 38 year career in the Territorial Army. He writes:

Highbury was built by my Great Grandfather Joseph Chamberlain and was the family home for many years.  I was therefore very honoured to be asked to be involved with the Chamberlain Highbury Trust.  I feel strongly that the Chamberlain family should be engaged with this important project to restore Highbury and its grounds to their former glory.  In Joseph Chamberlain’s time Highbury entertained many eminent and influential visitors and was a significant meeting place for the local community.  A restored Highbury Hall can once more become that prominent vocal point for the local community and Birmingham as a whole.”

Professor Sir David Eastwood

Professor Sir David Eastwood became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham in April 2009. Former posts include Chief Executive at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Vice-Chancellor at the University of East Anglia, and Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Board. His early career was spent at the University of Oxford, where he was Fellow and Senior Tutor of Pembroke College. He later held a Chair in Modern History and was Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University.

He is currently Chair of Universitas 21 and Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), a Board Member of Universities UK (UUK), INTO University Partnerships, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Higher Education Policy Institute, and also the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership. He also serves as an International Member of the Hong Kong University Grants Committee.

In 2014 he was awarded a Knighthood in 2014 for services to education.

Tristram Hunt FRHistS

Tristram is Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He is a British historian, broadcast journalist and former Labour Party politician who served as the Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central from 2010 to 2017. In 2013, Hunt was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Education. He is a lecturer in modern British History at Queen Mary University of London. He has written several books, presented history programmes on television and is a regular writer for The Guardian and The Observer. His specialism is urban history, specifically during the Victorian era, and it is this subject which provided him with his second book, Building Jerusalem, covering such notable Victorian minds as John Ruskin, Thomas Carlyle and (of course) Joseph Chamberlain .