The University’s Arms were granted on 18 March 1955 by Garter, Clarenceux and Norroy and Ulster Kings of Arms to the Birmingham Corporation for use by the former College of Technology. They were designed to show the College’s connection with the City and with the teaching of technology.
The arms consist of a shield and crest. The shield has two sections – the field (the main background) which is coloured blue and a chief (the broad band across the top of the shield) of silver. On the field is a diagonal line of five gold diamonds joined one to the other, similar to the first quarter of the Arms of the City of Birmingham and incorporated in the Arms of the College to show its connection with the City. This was adopted by the family of Bermingham, which derived its name from the then hamlet of Birmingham, and provided the Lords of the Manor from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries.
On the chief is depicted an open book bound in red placed between two black hammers, showing the connection of the University with technology, the book representing learning and the hammers engineering and allied trades. The crest is also designed to stress the pursuit of knowledge. It consists of a red torch held erect by a forearm between two branches of gold laurel.
Having been originally worn on the helmet of a fully-armed person, the crest is always placed on the top of the helm. The method of joining the crest to the helm was usually concealed by decoration and, in the University’s arms, this is effected by the use of a wreath and a crown.
The wreath is silver, red and black, these colours being taken from the shield. It is surmounted by a mural crown (resembling a wall) which is reserved in modern grants for persons and organisations connected with public corporations. The cloth mantling which hangs down from the top of the helm is the survival of the cloak which was originally worn to protect the armour coloured in the two principal colours of the shield, blue and gold.