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