West Midlands Regional Executive Committee

View the Executive Committee for 2020-21


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 re-elected as Chairman in 2021 to serve until 2024.

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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The Chairman’s Report for 2020 can be downloaded here

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 Senior Finance Business Partner for FirstPort Ltd, which is the UK's premier property management group, spanning 184,000 homes across 3,900 developments in the residential, retirement and luxury markets, including a large portfolio in Birmingham, which encompasses Calthorpe Estates in Edgbaston.

He is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser, and was appointed Honorary Treasurer in 2003.

James is originally from Evesham but lived in Birmingham for 15 years between 1998 and 2013 before re-locating to Worcester.

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Honorary Secretary

Alex ReadAlex Read

Alex is a relatively new member of the Society and was elected Honorary Secretary in February 2020.

A graduate of International Relations and Politics from the University of Birmingham, Alex has a fascination for metropolitan architecture and its impact on civic governance. He considers beautiful buildings to be a foundation for any prosperous, healthy city and is supportive of planning that strives to create ‘gentle density’. He is particularly interested in large public buildings and British industrial architecture from the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Alex is originally from Leicestershire but has lived in Birmingham for the last seven years.

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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.

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.

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.

Mary Worsfold
Mary originally trained as a Chartered Surveyor, but after 10 years she decided on a change in direction and went to Oxford Brookes University where she completed a MSc in Historic Conservation.

After a brief stint at Birmingham City Council, compiling a list of buildings at risk in the city, she became the Architectural Adviser to The Victorian Society’s Birmingham and West Midlands Group in 2003. In 2006 she moved on to become the Conservation Officer at Bromsgrove District Council, before becoming a Senior Conservation Officer at Birmingham City Council between 2009 and 2011.

Mary represents the Amenity Societies on the Archdiocese of Birmingham Historic Churches Committee and also sits on the St Chad’s Cathedral Fabric Committee.

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