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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Arthur Neville Chamberlain

Born at South Bourne, Edgbaston, Neville was the son of Joseph Chamberlain by his second wife, Florence Kenrick. At the age of twenty-two he was sent by his father to the Bahamas to take charge of an estate of 20,000 acres, bought for the production of sisal hemp.

However, this failed and he returned home, joining Elliott's Metal Company of Selly Oak, of which ultimately he was appointed chairman. He later became chairman of Hoskins and Sons, Bordesley, makers of ships' metal berths and also joined the board of Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA).

In 1911, he was elected to the City Council as representative of All Saints Ward and was appointed first chairman of the Town Planning Committee and member of the Public Health and Housing Committees. In 1915, he was elected Lord Mayor.

The City Orchestra, later the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), was largely his idea, as was the setting up of a local city-run bank for ordinary citizens. This became known as the Birmingham Municipal Bank, which was introduced, despite opposition by the joint stock banks, and became very successful. It was taken over by the TSB, now Lloyds TSB, some years ago.

In the General Election after the First World War, Chamberlain was elected MP for Ladywood. He eventually became Minister of Health and Chancellor of the Exchequer. In May 1937, Neville Chamberlain succeeded Stanley Baldwin as Prime Minister.

Following the outbreak of World War II, he resigned as Prime Minister on 10 May, 1940. He remained in the Churchill Cabinet as Lord President of the Council but resigned on 3 October after an operation. He died at his estate, Heckfield House, Odiham, Hampshire, on 9 November, 1940 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.


Joseph Chamberlain