Chinn on air at BBC WM on 12 June 2011, during a feature on Wikipedia
6 September 1956 |
Sorrento hospital Moseley, Birmingham
|Other names||Carl Stephen Alfred Chinn|
Professor Carl Stephen Alfred Chinn MBE, PhD (born 6 September 1956) is an English historian, writer, radio presenter, magazine editor, newspaper columnist, media personality, local celebrity, and famous Brummie, whose working life has been devoted to the study and popularisation of the city of Birmingham in England. Chinn is a supporter of Aston Villa Football Club and has a season ticket in the Doug Ellis Stand at Villa Park.
Born in Sorrento Hospital in Moseley to a father, Alfred, (known as "Buck", died 26 April 2010; himself a notable football supporter and local activist) from Sparkbrook and mother, Sylvia ("Sylvie"), from Aston, Chinn grew up in Birmingham and was educated at Moseley School and the University of Birmingham. He was married in 1978 to Kathleen Doyle: they have a son and three daughters, one of whom, Tara, has sung professionally on stage and video with her father.
His work in the community made him a popular figure, and in 1994 he was invited by the Birmingham Evening Mail to write a two-page feature on local history. This proved extremely popular and Chinn has written a weekly column for the paper ever since.
Chinn holds the position of Professor of Community History at the University of Birmingham and is also director of the Birmingham Lives project. He is the author of over twenty books on the history of Birmingham and the urban working class in England. He did present a weekly radio programme on BBC WM from 1994 till it was axed in 2013.He also often appears on local television programmes such as Midlands Today and also writes a weekly local history for the Express & Star. He is Director of the Birmingham Lives multimedia archive at UoB (formerly at South Birmingham College).
He has also made three videos and provided spoken links on two CDs of songs about Birmingham.
In 2000 Chinn was a leading figure in the temporarily successful, but eventually doomed, campaign to save the Longbridge car factory from closure. In 2001 he was awarded the MBE for services to local history and charity. When the rebuilt Bull Ring was opened in 2003 Chinn criticised it for the lack of concern its developers and planners had shown towards market traders who had been the mainstay of the Bull Ring for the 800 years up to 1964, when the much-criticised previous shopping centre was built on the site. Chinn has also been prominent in the campaigns to save the last back-to-back houses in Birmingham, now a National Trust museum in Inge Street; and for a memorial to the victims of the Second World War Blitz on the city, sited in Edgbaston Street in the Bull Ring. In October 2007 he became patron of the St John's Church Preservation Group, which is campaigning for the reopening of St John's Church, Dudley.
In December 2010 he appeared on Ian Hislop's BBC television show "Age of the Do-Gooders", in which he championed George Dawson; a "non-conformist preacher, and a bit of a showman". He has also appeared on the BBC's Question Time.
It has been widely suggested that if Birmingham were to introduce direct mayoral elections as in London and some other towns in the UK, Carl Chinn would run as an independent, and he has said in the past that he has considered this possibility.
In the 1980s he was briefly a member of the Social Democratic Party, which broke from Labour in protest at its perceived leftward shift, and later went on to merge with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats. He stood in the 1983 general election as an independent, campaigning for import controls to protect local industry, more investment in council housing and a return of capital punishment for certain offences.
- They Worked All Their Lives: Women of the Urban Poor in England, 1880–1939 (1988) Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-2437-4.
- Homes For People: Council Housing and Urban Renewal in Birmingham 1840–1999 (1989) Birmingham Books. Expanded and revised edition (1999) Brewin Books. ISBN 1-85858-138-9.
- Keeping the City Alive: Twenty-one years of Urban Renewal in Birmingham (1993) Birmingham City Council.
- Birmingham: The Great Working City (1994) Birmingham City Council.
- Poverty Amidst Prosperity: Urban Poor in England, 1834–1914 (1995) Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-3990-8.
- Brum Undaunted: Birmingham During the Blitz (1996) Birmingham Library Services.
- Our Brum (1997) Birmingham Evening Mail.
- The Cadbury Story: A Short History (1998) Brewin Books. ISBN 1-85858-105-2.
- Our Brum: Volume 2 (1998) Birmingham Evening Mail. ISBN 0-9534316-0-6.
- 1,000 Years of Brum (1999) Birmingham Evening Mail.
- From Little Acorns Grow: History of the West Bromwich Building Society (1999) Brewin Books. ISBN 1-85858-124-9.
- Our Brum: Volume 3 (1999) Birmingham Evening Mail.
- Brum and Brummies (2000) Brewin Books. ISBN 1-85858-181-8.
- "We Ain't Going Away!": The Battle for Longbridge (2000) Brewin Books. Co-authored with Steve Dyson. ISBN 1-85858-174-5.
- Proper Brummie: A Dictionary of Birmingham Words and Sayings (2001) Brewin Books. Co-authored with Steve Thorne. ISBN 1-85858-227-X.
- Brum and Brummies: Volume 2 (2001) Brewin Books. ISBN 1-85858-202-4.
- Birmingham: Bibliography of a City (Ed.) (2001) University of Birmingham Press. ISBN 1-902459-24-5.
- Brum and Brummies: Volume 3 (2002) Brewin Books. ISBN 1-85858-213-X.
- Birmingham Irish: Making Our Mark (2003) Birmingham City Council. ISBN 0-7093-0241-X.
- The Streets of Brum: Part One (2003) Brewin Books. ISBN 1-85858-245-8.
- Better Betting with a Decent Feller: A Social History of Bookmaking (2004) Aurum Press. ISBN 1-84513-009-X.
- Black Country Memories (2004) Brewin Books. ISBN 1-85858-266-0.
- The Streets of Brum: Part Two (2004) Brewin Books. ISBN 1-85858-262-8.
- "Professor Carl Chinn". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
- Brummies (video), Carl Chinn & Malcolm Stent, Pennslake Productions, 1995
- "Buck Chinn loses fight against cancer". Birmingham Mail. 27 April 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "BBC – BBC WM Programmes – Carl Chinn". BBC Online. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
- "Historian says Bullring lacks heart". BBC News. 4 September 2003.
- "Save St John's Church". St John's Church Preservation Group. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- Carl Chinn's Brum – his own website
- Chinn's University of Birmingham page
- Chinn's BBC WM presenter profile
- Birmingham Lives People's History Archive
- Virtual Brum website about Birmingham with many articles by Carl Chinn