Regional Executive Committee

View the Executive Committee for Birmingham & West Midlands for 2022-23


Stephen Hartland MBCS FRSA

Stephen joined the Society when he was 20 and became active in the work of the Birmingham Group in 2002, following a successful campaign led by him against the widening of the Hagley Road in Edgbaston. He was elected a Vice Chairman of the Group in 2008 and its Chairman in 2009. He was elected as Chairman in 2022 to serve until 2025.

Stephen’s area of speciality is in Public Art and he is considered an expert in Birmingham’s Victorian monumental sculpture. He is also a member of the Public Statues & Sculpture Association ( PSSA).

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To see Past Chairmen, please click here

Vice Chairman

Joe Holyoak RIBA
Joe is an architect and urban designer and has his own practice. He promotes the importance of good design in everything he does, and regards the intelligent conservation and reuse of old buildings as a necessary part of the definition of good design, and also of the wider agenda of sustainability.

Joe has been an active member of the Victorian Society since the 1970s, with his first big campaign against the demolition of Birmingham’s Central Library in 1973; we lost that, but it was a turning point. Victorian architecture became more respectable, and we became more successful.

Joe also chairs the Birmingham & West Midlands Group Casework Sub-Committee.

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Vice Chairman

Barbara Shackley
Barbara has always had a passionate interest in buildings and first took a GCSE in architectural history whilst at school.

Barbara first heard of the Victorian Society in 1977 when someone suggested she join to find out more about her then dilapidated Arts & Crafts house. She began to sit on the Conservation Area Advisory Committee in Solihull and reported to the main Birmingham Committee and attended Vic Soc lectures and visits.

In 1988 Barbara retired from teaching and became Caseworker. She was subsequently elected Chairman in 2001 and held that position until she stood down in 2009

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Honorary Treasurer

James Fletcher ACA CTA
James is from Evesham in Worcestershire, and is Head of Management Finance for Malvern College, one of the United Kingdom’s leading independent schools.

He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1995, and a Chartered Tax Adviser in 1997, and has a proven track record of good financial governance.

He is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser. He was re-elected Honorary Treasurer in 2022 to serve until 2025.

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Honorary Secretary

Jake Scott M.A., B.A. (Hons)
Jake is from Northampton and is currently a Doctoral Researcher at the University of Birmingham, researching populism and political theory.

Jake was appointed to the Regional Executive in October 2021 and as well as Honorary Secretary, he acts as our University Engagement Officer, with the intention of setting up a VicSoc group at the Guild of Students, to serve to introduce students to Victorian and Edwardian architecture via social meetings, and appreciating Birmingham’s Victorian pubs.

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Programme Secretary

Nina Hatch B.Ed, M.Phil
Nina originally trained as an historian, subsequently working in history and environmental education in Nottinghamshire. However, soon after her arrival in Birmingham she was ‘head-hunted’ for the regional group’s executive committee.

Since 1989 she has coördinated the Group’s role in providing an educational and social programme of talks, walks and visits for members. During this time, Nina has developed a wide range of contacts within the region’s architectural, local and arts history societies.

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Committee Members:

Andy Foster MA FSA

Andy is a building historian and former city councillor. He has been a member of Birmingham’s Conservation and Heritage Panel and its predecessors since 1993, representing the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), and also represents the conservation societies on Lichfield (Church of England) Dicoesan Advisory Committee.

His special research interest is church architecture of the later Arts and Crafts period, Early Christian or Byzantine revival, in Birmingham and the surrounding area.

Andy wrote the Pevsner City Guide to Birmingham, published in 2005, in the Pevsner Architectural Guides series; and The Birmingham & Black Country guide in the same series, which was published im March 2022.

Jasna Jaksic MA RIBA

Jasna qualified as an architect at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade (1961-66).

In 1972 she took her Professional Practice Exam at the RIBA in London and practised as an architect at Birmingham City Architects Dept from 1970-2000, after which she took early retirement.

In 2003 Jasna completed a Conservation and Renewal Course at the Faculty of Architecture at UCE with an MA (Distinction). Her thesis was on the work of John Henry Chamberlain, as her interest and knowledge through her practice was in Birmingham 19th century Gothic Revival and its social and ideological background.

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Eva Ling

Eva is a graduate in Chemistry with a lifelong interest in Architecture. She studied Architectural History at Birmingham University and with the Open University.

She has been a member of the committee of the Birmingham Group of the Victorian Society since c. 1990 and has acted both as Honorary Treasurer and Honorary Secretary, as well as being active in Casework.

Eva’s special interests are the Arts and Crafts movement in Birmingham, Industrial Architecture and sympathetic re-use of buildings no longer needed for their original purpose.

Helene Pursey
Helene joined the Victorian Society in the 1990's and was soon involved in helping to plan our events programme.

An early member of the programme committee she has been responsible for updating members, by email, of local events. Helene is responsible for the sales of our book - Birmingham's Victorian and Edwardian Architects, which was published by the Birmingham & west Midlands Group in 2009.

Although a Londoner, Helene has lived and worked in Birmingham for over 40 years, spending the last 20 years of her working life as Librarian and Tutor at Fircroft College.

Gill Sockett

Gill spent all of her working life in Birmingham. Before taking early retirement she was Head of Technology at a City comprehensive school.

She joined The Victorian Society in 1994 and has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Birmingham & West Midlands Group since 2006.

Gill also sits on the Programme Committee.