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Trafalgar Day

Trafalgar Day celebrations take place in the centre of Birmingham every year.

This year the Trafalgar Day Service and Parade will be held on Sunday, 26 October 2014 at Edgbaston Street by the Arts Cafe of St Martin's Church, Bullring

Every year Lord Nelson’s great victory at Trafalgar in 1805 is celebrated with a ceremony led by Lord Mayor of Birmingham, who places a garland of flowers on Nelson’s statue in the Bullring .

The 2008 event, held on the 19th October, not only marked the 203rd anniversary of the battle but also commemorated both the 250th anniversary of the birth of Nelson on 29th September 1758 and the start of the 200th anniversary year of the statue on 25th October. In recognition of this, the Deputy Lord Mayor at the time, Councillor Randal Brew OBE, and the Commanding Officer of HMS Forward, Commander James Hayward RN, unveiled an Interpretation Board, which details the life and career of Lord Nelson in words and pictures. The text of this has been written by Stephen Hartland and the images supplied by Birmingham Museum Services.

Brief History of Trafalgar Day and its effect on Birmingham

"Following the death of Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, Birmingham became the first place in the United Kingdom to raise a statue to his memory, which was unveiled on 25th October 1809, the day set aside to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of King George III. The £2,500 cost of statue had been paid for for small contributions from the working folk of Birmingham.

The bronze statue represents Lord Nelson in a reposed and dignified attitude, his left arm reclining on an anchor. He is adorned with the many medals and Orders that his illustrious naval career had earned him. To the left of the statue is a representation of HMS Victory with Nike, Goddess of Victory, at the prow and holding aloft her customary laurel wreath. Above the ship is a facsimile of the Flag Staff truck from the French flagship of 120 guns, L'Orient, which was recovered from the sea after the Battle of the Nile by Captain Hood of HMS Zealous. The statue's original marble plinth was replaced by the current one in 1963, which is made of Portland stone.

At the Battle of Trafalgar there were 27 ships of the line and aboard every one there were men who came from Birmingham. The victory at Trafalgar was to be of great importance to Birmingham. Not only was it a triumph that ensured Great Britain's domination of the sea for the next 100 years, but it was also a catalyst that allowed Birmingham to develop as a great manufacturing centre, able to transport its products to the far corners of the world on merchant shipping that could sail safely anywhere under the Red Ensign.

In Birmingham, as elsewhere across the British Empire, Trafalgar Day was celebrated as a great victory and the statue in the Bull Ring was garlanded with flowers each 21st October as a mark of respect for the great Lord Nelson. This tradition continued until the First World War, after which it became less prominent due to the heavy losses incurred during that conflict.

However, during the Twentieth Century the Sea Cadets continued to mark Trafalgar Day as the Navy's day and events were held, as well as Trafalgar Dinners at which "The Immortal Memory" is toasted.

Following the redevelopment of the Bull Ring and its re-opening in 2003, the statue was re-sited in the Bull Ring, not far from its original location. It was at this time that the commemoration took on an altogether more wider civic appeal and as well as the Sea Cadets, they were joined by officers from HMS Forward, The Birmingham Nautical Club, The Nelson Society, The Birmingham Civic Society, The Royal Society of St George, Birmingham St George's Day Association and the Scouts and Girl Guides, the representatives of which lay wreaths at the statue to honour our country's greatest naval hero.

Each year since then, the event is led by The Lord Mayor of Birmingham and the statue is garlanded with floral arrangements in the Birmingham tradition.

Further details can be obtained from the Lord Mayor's Parlour.

Postal Address Lord Mayor's Office
Council House
Victoria Square
West Midlands
B1 1BB
Email Address
Telephone (0121) 303 2040