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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

History of the Council

The original Charter of Incorporation, dated 31 October 1838, was received in Birmingham on 1 November, then read in the Town Hall on 5 November with elections for the first Town Council being held on 26 December. Sixteen Aldermen and 48 Councillors were elected and the Borough was divided into 13 wards. William Scholefield became the first Mayor and William Redfern was appointed as Town Clerk.

It was not until 14 January 1889 that another Charter conferred the rank of City on Birmingham. On 9 November 1891, the districts of Balsall Heath, Harborne, Saltley and Little Bromwich were absorbed into the City.

The dignity of a Lord Mayor was conferred in 1896 and Sir James Smith Kt was appointed as the City's first Lord Mayor on 3 June 1896.

The parish of Quinton became part of Birmingham on 9 November 1909 and two years later, under what was termed 'The Greater Birmingham Scheme', the Boroughs of Aston Manor, the Urban Districts of Handsworth and Erdington, part of the Urban District of Kings Norton and Northfield and the Rural District of Yardley were all incorporated.

Such was the expansion involved that the Council Chamber, originally designed to accommodate 80 members, had to be modified to seat the representatives of the new wards.

Further additions occurred on 1 April 1928 (part of the Urban District of Perry Barr) and 1 April 1931 (parts of the Parishes of Solihull, Castle Bromwich, Minworth and Sheldon). By 1972, there were 39 Wards each represented by an Alderman and 3 Councillors, a total of 156 Members.

A major national re-organisation of local government was implemented in 1974 and saw the City of Birmingham being combined with the Borough of Sutton Coldfield to form the new Birmingham District Council consisting of 42 Wards each with 3 elected Councillors (in 1982 the number of Wards was reduced to 39).

On 1 July, 1986, the title was changed to Birmingham City Council.

Part of Bromsgrove District known as Frankley and Kitwell Estates were added to the City on 1 April 1995.

A review of the Ward boundaries on 10 June 2004 resulted in an increase from 39 Wards to 40 Wards.