Arms, Seals, Insignia, Plate, and Officers

Page 568

A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 7, the City of Birmingham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1964.

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The arms granted to Birmingham in 1889, when it became a city, are basically those previously adopted by the council. (fn. 1) They incorporate in the quarters of the shield two distinct coats used by the de Birminghams who held the manor of Birmingham until the early 16th century. The order of the coats has been reversed to difference the city arms from those of the family. The fess, added for further difference, has a note of the arms of the Calthorpes, lords of the manor of Edgbaston. Supporters to the arms were also granted in 1889. The newly-granted arms were embodied in a new seal struck in the same year. The present seal was struck in 1903 and bears the legend: Common Seal Of The Lord Mayor Aldermen & Citizens Of The City Of Birmingham.

The insignia of the city include a gold mayoral chain presented in 1863 and a silver gilt mace presented in 1897 by the makers, Elkington and Co., to mark the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria. The civic plate consists mainly of modern pieces, although some of 17th- and 18th-century date have been acquired. (fn. 2)

A complete list of mayors and lord mayors, and of town clerks and treasurers, is recorded in the Birmingham Post Year Book, 1961-2.


  • 1. For the history of the arms and seals of Birmingham, see C. W. Scott-Giles, Civic Heraldry of Eng. and Wales, 375-6; Hist. Corp. i. 172-4; ii. 544; iii. 381; iv. 499; Birm. Post Year Book, 1961-2, 6. See also A. C. Fox-Davies, Book of Public Arms, 84; L1. Jewett, Corp. Plate and Insignia of Office of cities and towns of Eng. and Wales, 394; B.M. Cat. of Seals, ii. 14. The following description is based on these sources and on information kindly given by the Town Clerk.
  • 2. For a complete list and description of the civic insignia and plate see the Birm. Post Year Book, 1961-2, 8-10.