The Chamberlain Highbury Trust
May Newsletter

The Chamberlain Highbury Trust invite you to a free, interactive, accessible community festival on the Highbury Estate in Moseley’s Highbury Park On Sunday 13th June 2021.

This festival has been made possible thanks to National Lottery Heritage Fund, between 5-13 June 2021, National Lottery funded organisations like The Chamberlain Highbury Trust are offering free entry and other deals to visitors who show a National Lottery ticket or scratchcard. Book a Ticket and Gardens Tour here

Thanking National Lottery players

Since March 2020, over £1billion of National Lottery funding has helped communities, people and organisations impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic get back on their feet.

National Lottery Open Week is a great way to say #ThanksToYou.  

Orchids and the Chamberlain Name

Joseph Chamberlain’s orchids may no longer be at Highbury but many orchids bearing his name continue in cultivation.  Philip Seaton recently sent the Trust a picture of Laelia anceps var. Chamberlainiana growing in the collection of John Steele in Australia whose photograph we reproduce. Laelia anceps, first sent to Britain from Mexico in 1885, has many variations and this variety was first raised at Highbury by Joseph Chamberlain. It is a showy orchid with individual flowers that are 13 cms across. A description of the Highbury Collection in the Orchid Review of 1893 (p.109) said that the house for the Mexican orchids ‘contains a magnificent collection of the varieties of Laelia anceps which would be difficult to surpass throughout the country’. At the sale of the collection in 1915 two specimens of Laelia anceps var. Chamberlainiana fetched 5 ½ guineas (about £370 in today’s money).

The first orchid to bear Chamberlain’s name was a hybrid, Cattleya Chamberlainiana, named by Heinrich Reichenbach, the foremost German orchidologist, in 1881, an indication Chamberlain was already a noted collector by that date. Other classes of orchids with Chamberlain’s name included Laeliocattleyas,  Phalanopsises, Odontoglossums, Sophrocattleyas, Masdevallias and Cypripedium (Paphiopedilum). There was also Brassocacattleya Mrs Chamberlain which was given an award of merit by the RHS. Nomenclature could be contentious and Joseph Chamberlain had to settle for Masdevallia Shuttryan ‘Chamberlain’s variety’ when the Orchid Committee of the RHS refused his request to name this hybrid ‘Chamberlainiana’. But one of the cypripediums, a species from New Guinea named Cypripedium  Chamberlainum in 1896, no longer has this name having been reclassified as Phaphiopedilum victoria-regina.
Another familiar name was frequently used. There was Laelia anceps var. Highburyensis, as well as cattleyas, dendrobiums and odontoglossums raised at Highbury that bore the name of the estate.

Application to National Lottery Heritage Fund

Following our really successful Highbury's Garden Project, the Trust is currently making a fresh application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a major award.  We have had to make changes to the project since the last unsuccessful bid in 2018.  The NLHF has amended its priorities in response to the impacts of the Covid pandemic on the economy.  Our research shows that there is an above average number of start-up businesses in the digital, creative and social enterprise sectors within the surrounding communities of Stirchley, Kings Heath and Moseley.  This is not matched by sufficient availability of flexible and hot-desking office space.  We are now proposing to convert the empty floors in the north wing of Highbury to support small businesses.  This initiative meets an NLHF priority to assist the local economy, and has drawn the support of our Local Enterprise Partnership.

The development of a revised business plan for the project, and the preparation of the application to the NLHF with all the supporting material, has been undertaken by our Project Development Manager, Katie Norgrove of Cultural Consulting Network.  Katie has worked closely with Trustees for nearly two years to help us further develop our vision for Highbury.  We are indebted to her for her detailed analysis and planning and admire the professional way she has put the proposals together.

We must now wait until September to find out if our application is successful.

Volunteering Opportunities

We have 3 new volunteering opportunities at Highbury 
1. Supporting the Highbury Sustainability Festival we would really appreciate another 3/4 volunteers to join us on the day of the Sustainability Festival to help support our Covid stewards and keep the visitors and volunteers safe. We will need you from 10.30am - 4.30pm. You will receive some pre-event info, have a quick training session, be given resources and you will be able to access our free lunch! email Lucy if you are interested

2. Highbury Tour Guides - We will be offering free tours at Highbury from September and would like to invite you to join our Tour Guide team. Leading tours is not an easy task! You will be guideing groups of 6-12 people around Highbury - some will have very limited knowledge and it will be their very first visit to a Heritage attraction, others will be super knowledgeable and full of questions. We offer a really broad training programme (in July and August) and ongoing mentoring for Tour Guides from the best in brum! Our open days are on the 1st Monday of each month September to March. We would love to welcome people new to tour guiding but passionate about sharing stories of Highbury and the Chamberlain Family.

3. Highbury Gardens Tour Guides
We will also be offering outdoor tours at Highbury to give a further insight into the History of the grounds and the recent developments CHT have made. We have 3 Trustees who are extremely knowledgeable about Highbury's Gardens and other volunteers who's knowledge is increasing all the time. We want to invite you to learn more about Highbury's Gardens and gain the skills to share that with visitors. Again we hope these tours will delivered to (and by) a varied group of participants and so our tour guide training and mentoring programme will support you to gain skills, knowledge and confidence.

If you are interested in any of these opportunities or would like more information please email Lucy -
Highbury's Garden Project
The contractors work on site is coming to an end but Volunteering is more active and needed than ever! As you know from above CHT is committed to keeping the restored features of the park in great shape and continuing to improve Highbury.
Therefore we now have Volunteering sessions on
  • Tuesdays with Rhiannon from Highbury Orchard Community - Relaxed peer to peer volunteering in the Orchard, growing and improving the space. email
  • Wednesdays with Alan CHT Volunteer Co-ordinator from Sustainable Life - Learning skills and progressing the gardens project. Focussing now on the Rhododendron Garden, clearing invasive species and planting - Register here
  • Thursdays with Lucy from Chamberlain Highbury Trust and Highbury Orchard Community- working on Garden's Project and orchard development including creating signage, building habitats, maintaining restored features. Register Here 
  • Sunday community volunteering days with a combination of the above litter picking, pond clearance, planting and community building.  The next of these will be on Sunday 30th May, Sunday 6th June and Sunday 27th June 10am-2pm meeting outside Highbury - Book via eventbrite
We really value our volunteers and are so impressed and pleased that there are hundreds of people coming to Highbury to improve the space and make it wonderful, a special thank you to Highbury Park Friends, Highbury Orchard Community, The Birmingham and District Bee Keepers, Moor Green Residents Association and Kings Heath Litter Pickers who are striving to keep the estate and park looking beautiful and thriving as a vital habitat. 
Thank you for your continued support, we hope you are enjoying spending time at Highbury, stay safe and look after each other.
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The Chamberlain Highbury Trust · 4 Yew Tree Rd · Birmingham, West Midlands B13 8QG · United Kingdom