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Full text of "Nevillechamberlain"

THE   CHAMBERLAIN   CITY                     75

cousin, Colonel Ernest Martineau, who had been
Lord Mayor since 1912. He, however, left the city
to proceed to France in command of the 6th Battalion
of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Territorial)
and in November 1915 Mr. Chamberlain was elected
Lord Mayor of Birmingham. In holding this office
he was continuing a most distinguished family tradi-
tion. His father, whose death in 1914 after five years
of illness and enforced retirement had been a great
grief to Neville Chamberlain, had been Lord Mayor
some forty years before. In addition to him and to
Colonel Martineau, five of Mr. Chamberlain's uncles
had attained the chief civic dignity: they were
Joseph's brother Richard Chamberlain, William and
George Kenrick, Thomas Martineau, father of
Ernest Martineau, and Charles Beale who had been
four times Lord Mayor.

The Lord Mayor of a provincial city, or the Mayor
of a provincial borough, has a unique chance of
impressing his personality upon his fellow citizens.
To a degree which is impossible in a case of a Lord
Mayor of London, who numbers among his citizens
so many of the great ones of the world, the Lord Mayor
of a provincial city is in a very real sense both chief
magistrate and chief citizen. This applies even more
strongly to a war-time Lord Mayor than to one whose
term of office falls in normal times. Mr. Chamberlain's
was a war-time Lord Mayoralty. This did not mean
that there was an entire supersession of the nonnal
duties in peace, Mr. Chamberlain like his predeces-
sors, was an ex-officio member of every committee of
the Corporation. So far as was humanly possible, he
made it his business to attend every meeting of every
committee. As far as circumstances permitted he
applied the maxim of "Business as Usual" to the
corporate life and amenities of the city of Birming-
ham. Nor did he neglect the civic interests of his