University announces list of 175 “Brummies who inspire” to mark institution’s historic milestone


Birmingham City University has launched a list of 175 inspirational Brummies as the institution enters a season of celebrations to mark 175 years since its foundation as the Birmingham Government School of Design in October 1843.

The 175 people on the list either hail from Birmingham or have made a major contribution to city life. Members of the public will be able to vote for their favourite Birmingham personalities from Wednesday 12 September, leading to the naming of the city’s top ten most inspiring individuals.

BCU 175

Birmingham City University

Names on the ‘Brummies who Inspire’ list include actress Dame Julie Walters, rock star Ozzy Osbourne, TV presenter Emma Willis, international cricketer Moeen Ali, activist Malala Yousafzai and Alfred Bird, the inventor of custard powder.

Professor Philip Plowden, Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “I am delighted that we are celebrating 175 years at the heart of Birmingham life. To mark this momentous occasion, we’re running a number of events and activities this autumn to celebrate the University’s history and the city around us.

Birmingham City University’s roots date back to the foundation of Birmingham Government School of Design in 1843, the forerunner to the present day schools of Art and Visual Communication. In 1884 the School evolved into Birmingham College of Art, moving to a purpose-built Venetian Gothic building on Margaret Street designed by John Chamberlain. Today, Margaret Street still houses the University’s School of Art and is a Grade I Listed Building.

Key figures in the city and region will join an exclusive celebration event at the School of Art building on Wednesday 12 September to mark the official start of the BCU 175 celebrations.

The public’s favourite ‘Brummies who Inspire’ will be announced ahead of a celebratory concert at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on Thursday 15 November, spanning 175 years of musical history. Other names on the ‘Brummies who Inspire’ list include Cluedo inventor Anthony E. Pratt, singer-songwriter Laura Mvula and John Sumner, the founder of Typhoo Tea.

For more information on BCU 175 events and to cast your ‘Brummies who Inspire’ vote, visit

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