City stops ‘Peaky Blin­ders’ us­ing coat of arms Coun­cil to re­con­sider de­ci­sion af­ter fundrais­ers clar­ify how it will be used

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Carl Jack­son Coun­cil Cor­re­spon­dent

APAIR of Peaky Blin­ders-in­spired fundrais­ers have hit a brick wall in a bid to use the Birm­ing­ham coat of arms – af­ter doubts were raised by the city coun­cil.

Tour guides John Bro­phy and Roy Short ap­plied to use the his­toric crest on their so­cial me­dia pages.

The pair, from Chelm­s­ley Wood, are known as the Birm­ing­ham Peaky Blin­ders, thanks to their metic­u­lous im­per­son­ations of the Sec­ond City gang­sters im­mor­talised in the hit BBC drama se­ries.

As well as look­ing the part, they also play an in­te­gral role in his­to­rian Carl Chinn’s Peaky Tours which ex­plore the crime gang’s old stomp­ing grounds around Dig­beth.

But when Mr Bro­phy and Mr Short sought per­mis­sion to use the coat of arms, Birm­ing­ham City Coun­cil ex­pressed reser­va­tions, ask­ing how it would be used and whether the pair made money out of their tours.

The coun­cil’s busi­ness man­age­ment com­mit­tee ini­tially de­ferred a de­ci­sion, re­quest­ing that the pair clar­i­fied their in­ten­tions be­fore they are granted the au­thor­ity’s bless­ing.

The min­utes of the meet­ing said: “The com­mit­tee was ad­vised that the ap­pli­cant had not re­sponded to re­quests to con­firm if they were be­ing paid in re­spect of the tours and how the coat of arms would be used on so­cial me­dia.

“The com­mit­tee agreed to de­fer con­sid­er­a­tion of the re­port un­til such time as the in­for­ma­tion was forth­com­ing.”

Mr Bro­phy has since writ­ten to the coun­cil to ad­dress the con­cerns.

In an­swer to whether he and Mr Short got paid, he said: “No. We do the tours com­pletely vol­un­tary and have done so for the last three years.

“We do it for the love of Peaky Blin­ders and we love the way the show has put Birm­ing­ham back on the map all over the world and is shown in over 160 dif­fer­ent coun­tries.”

Mr Bro­phy fur­ther clar­i­fied that the in­ten­tion was sim­ply to hold a pic­ture of the coat of arms for a pho­to­graph to be up­loaded on Face­book, Twit­ter and In­sta­gram to raise aware­ness that the city ac­tu­ally had its own crest, claim­ing many peo­ple did not know it had one.

He also re­as­sured the com­mit­tee that it would not be used in con­nec­tion with the Peaky Tours.

Mr Bro­phy added: “It would only be used for our own per­sonal use as a pic­ture to por­tray Birm­ing­ham in a good light and hope­fully bring a good feel­ing and tourism to our great city.

“Fi­nally, let me just clar­ify, a pic­ture of us both with the coat of arms is most def­i­nitely a non-prof­itable event. It’s just some­thing that we have wanted to do for a very long time. And to be hon­est it would be an honour to rep­re­sent our city, as we do ev­ery­thing for free and we try and help as many de­serv­ing char­i­ties as we can.”

The coat of arms is a dig­nity granted by Royal Char­ter mean­ing the coun­cil does not have ownership over it or the power to li­cense and au­tho­rise its use.

How­ever, it can for­mally ob­ject to ap­pli­ca­tions and seek an in­junc­tion if nec­es­sary.

Three years ago former Lord Mayor Cllr Mike Leddy spear­headed the launch of a new Birm­ing­ham flag which was deemed more ap­pro­pri­ate to be used by out­side groups than the coat of arms.

But re­cently coun­cil leader Ian Ward ad­mit­ted the idea had ‘never re­ally taken off ’.

> Roy Short, left, and John Bro­phy play a pair of Peaky Blin­ders for his­to­rian Carl Chinn’s Peaky Tours

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