Birmingham, once one of the greatest gun centers in the world, has renamed its gun quarter.
“One of Britain’s oldest industrial areas has been renamed after council leaders claimed local people no longer wanted to be associated with the weapons of war.
“Opponents of the name change say the Gun Quarter has been sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.
“But the move has been approved by council cabinet member for regeneration, Tim Huxtable, who said he was simply responding to public opinion.
“The council received a petition signed by just 50 people objecting to the name…
“Evidence produced by the council to back the move included a report from the Newtown Neighbourhood Forum claiming that “it is not wise” to retain the Gun Quarter because the area has suffered from gun crime and the name is also associated with the arms trade.” (Arms trade? Well, of sorts– see below).
The two parties did not line up as you might expect:
“The decision resulted in Coun Huxtable, a Conservative, being accused of political correctness by Sir Albert Bore, leader of the opposition Labour group.
Sir Albert (Lab Ladywood) said: “What kind of nonsense is it when we replace the Gun Quarter with St George and St Chad?
“Like it or not, and I am not into the arms trade myself, the Gun Quarter has a historical connection with this city. This is just political correctness.
“The decision was described as “a terrible shame” by the owner of Birmingham’s best known surviving gun maker, Westley Richards & Co.” (“International arms traders”– makers of six figure bespoke doubles!)
The locals seem generally unhappy. “Pauline Luke, who worked for 30 years in a company in the Gun Quarter, said the re-naming was “ridiculous”.
“Making guns is part of our heritage and something we should be proud of, not ashamed of,” she said.
“Her boyfriend, John Dangerfield, said: “Calling it after St Chad Cathedral makes sense but not St George – wasn’t he all about slaying and killing people?””
Uh, yeah. “RTWT”.
HT Vic Venters. And full disclosure: I own a Birmingham gun.
One more thought re Brit pop culture: not all that long ago, when Tom Baker was Dr Who, he could evoke knowing grins as he took a punt gun into the sewers of Victorian London to use against Weng Chiang’s giant rat, “made of good Birmingham steel”. Of course he also mentioned a fish dinner with the venerable Bede in the same episode…