Up close and personal with Luke Crane, the executive director of the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I am Luke Crane, executive director of the Jewellery Quarter Development Trust (JQDT). I started my career in events management but have spent the past seven years developing and delivering BIDs across the UK. I now run the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement (BID), the biggest BID by area in Birmingham, and oversee the delivery of projects including the HLF-funded Townscape Heritage.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
I live in the Jewellery Quarter, which means that when I have meetings in town I either walk or take the Metro from St Paul’s or the Jewellery Quarter. It’s great because it only costs a £1… or 90p for me because of the Swift card!
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
It’s fantastic! I’ve had the good fortune to work in many towns and cities in the UK, but Birmingham is by far my favourite place. I’m proud of the hard-working and energetic community in the Jewellery Quarter and the diversity of the businesses here. These range from micro businesses to established independent retailers and major brands such as Mitchells and Butlers.
I have my pick of independent coffee houses in the Jewellery Quarter, so I’m always fully caffeinated up!
I don’t often have chance for lunch on a weekday but when it comes to the weekend I’ll tend to find somewhere for a roast. 1000 Trades and the Red Lion are pretty good. If I have friends over, the (bottomless) brunch at the Button Factory normally goes down well!
St Paul’s Square and Key Hill Cemetery are great spots. Despite the common perception, the cemetery is an interesting place and important Birmingham historical figures are buried there, including Joseph Chamberlain and Alfred Bird.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
It has to be the JQ! It has a real buzz about it and as you walk through the streets you get a real feel for its history as well as its current success. It is a place which attracts creativity, a unique area in the heart of a great city. On my doorstep I have a ready-made film set (Spielberg filmed parts of Ready Player One on Livery Street), a plethora of independent business, fascinating historic buildings and pubs galore! But what I love the most is its potential to build on this to become one of the most successful locations in the UK.
I’m still ticking off the places on the JQ Ale Trail. We have more than 20 places in the JQ serving real ale and a couple of breweries producing and serving great craft beer! The BID team enjoys a good pub quiz so it’s not unusual to find us either at the Rose Villa Tavern or Lord Clifden.
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
I regularly talk to business owners and organisations to discuss how Birmingham can get better. Improving the city’s air quality is becoming a priority and I hope that we can work with partners to reduce carbon emissions and ensure future generations benefit from the decisions made by us now.