This card commemorates the opening of the University’s Edgbaston Campus by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra on 7 July 1909.
Civic pride shines through, centre stage being taken not by the King or Queen but by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Alderman G H Kenrick.
Perhaps this is rightly so – Kenrick had been one of the voices campaigning for the establishment of the University.
The British Medical Journal reported in July 1898 on a meeting to promote the foundation of a university for Birmingham and the Midlands – Mr Kenrick (as he then was) proposed the motion
That, in the opinion of this meeting, it is essential that in the interests of the city and the Midland district generally, a University shall forthwith be established in Birmingham.
The motion was passed, and Kenrick pledged £10,000 (out of a target of £250,000) to support its establishment.
The tower on the card is The Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower, known better as Old Joe. About 100 metres tall (opinions vary), the tower is modelled on the Torre del Mangia in Siena.
The University did not spring fully-formed from thin air. Seminars for medics were held in Birmingham in the late 1760s – a formal medical school (later Queen’s College) was established in Birmingham in 1828.
Separately, Mason Science College was founded in 1875, and in due course incorporated the medical school. It became Mason University College in 1897 and, in 1900, was given a Royal Charter as the University of Birmingham.