The Trust’s patrons offer guidance and show their support for the Highbury project as we seek to raise funds to take the work forward.
Oliver Chamberlain OVRM, TD, DL
Oliver, grandson of Sir Austen Chamberlain, was born at Tonerspuddle, Dorset in 1950 and educated at Milton Abbey School and the Royal Agricultural College Cirencester. He qualified as a Chartered Surveyor 1976 and was made a Fellow in 1988. After an initial spell in general practice, Oliver spent 20 years employed as a Resident Land Agent responsible for property in Dorset and Yorkshire. Then, in 1996, established a small rural consultancy practice in Dorset, specialising in rural estate management in Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire.
He joined the Territorial Army in 1972 and, following various regimental appointments, commanded the Royal Wessex Yeomanry from 1990 to 1994. Subsequently, he held a number of Staff appointments including Colonel Yeomanry and Deputy Commander 43 (Wessex) Brigade. Oliver was appointed ADC to HM The Queen 1998 – 2000 and awarded the Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal (QVRM) 2004. Oliver is a Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset, Liveryman and Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainer.
He is involved in a number of military and local charities. Other interests include his two Flatcoated Retrievers, country sports, walking, and skiing. Oliver is married to Georgina and they have two daughters and two grandchildren.
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 .
Rita is an independent museums and heritage consultant with over 35 years experience of working across the UK heritage and cultural sectors in a range of strategic, advisory and operational roles. She was Director of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery from 2004 until 2012 and during this time responsible for initiation and delivery of a number of major capital development projects, also collections, interpretation and audience development programmes.
Current consultancy work includes assignments for the National Lottery Heritage Fund as a project consultant and expert adviser. She served for several years as an Artistic and Quality Assessor for Arts Council England and as a member of ACE’s Museum Accreditation Committee.
Rita is a trustee for National Museums Liverpool, member of the National Trust’s Collections and Interpretation Advisory Group, a former trustee of Birmingham Civic Society and current member of its Heritage Committee. She serves on Birmingham Cathedral’s Fabric Advisory Committee. She was awarded an honorary doctorate for services to heritage and culture by the University of Birmingham in 2010.
Adam took up the post of Vice Chancellor of the University of Birmingham in January 2022. Immediately before that, Adam was Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sussex. Prior to this, however, Adam served in other roles at the University of Birmingham, namely Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Knowledge Transfer) and then Provost. Adam has also worked in leadership roles at the University of Bristol and Royal Holloway, University of London.
Adam led a Government review that sought to reduce research bureaucracy in government and the wider sector. He is on the Board of Universities UK and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and has served on a wide range of public bodies and charity boards.
Mark has over 30 years of banking experience across a broad range of activities including lending, trading in financial markets, risk management and investing in private equity. Most recently Mark has held leadership roles in managing the bank’s customer relationships with large global investment firms and insurance companies.
He is known within the investment industry as someone who brings ideas, skills and resources to support these institutions in achieving their strategic objectives.
Mark graduated from Edinburgh University as a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours and has since continued his professional education.
Since marrying into the Chamberlain family 30 years ago Mark has developed a personal interest in Joseph Chamberlain and his business, civic and political achievements in Birmingham and in Parliament.
Mary De Vere Chamberlain
As the great-granddaughter of Joe Chamberlain and granddaughter of Neville, I’m delighted to co-represent the family alongside Oliver.
The Chamberlain Highbury Trust’s vision, plans and innovation honour the legacy and intentions of the family when Highbury was bequeathed “for the benefit of the citizens of Birmingham”.
With a background in (and love of) the arts, cultural heritage, history and education, I’m thrilled to support Highbury’s journey to enrich and benefit the local community and beyond.
Andrew Reekes was an Open Scholar of Exeter College Oxford, where he read Modern History. He subsequently spent a life in education, leading History departments, being Principal of a Midlands Prep school, and finally for many years serving as Sub Warden of Radley College. He was a school inspector for ten years, and a Chief Examiner of O Level History. On retiring he took a research degree at the University of Birmingham and subsequently wrote seven books on nineteenth and twentieth century British history including: The Birmingham Political Machine: winning elections for Joseph Chamberlain; Two Titans, One City; Joseph Chamberlain and George Cadbury; George Dawson and his Circle; Austen Chamberlain and the Burden of Expectation; and More than Munich; the forgotten legacy of Neville Chamberlain. He has also written extensively on Birmingham topics from Enoch Powell’s 1968 speech to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the General Strike in Birmingham, Oswald Mosley, and the Birmingham Municipal Bank.