11 JUN. 2018
Francis Graves FRICS was one of Birmingham’s best-known surveyors and businessmen.
Having moved to Birmingham in 1947, he spent two years in the Royal Engineers before starting his own practice Francis C Graves and Partners. Since then his practice has grown and the firm now has offices throughout the UK.
Among his many achievements, Francis was Project Controller for the contract to build the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in the 1970s. Built to showcase the best of British business and craftsmanship, the NEC is the UK’s busiest and largest exhibition centre. As Project Controller, Francis and his team were appointed to deal with the construction phase of the build, ensuring deadlines were met and the project was achieved at the target cost.
The finalised project not only provided a much-needed new centre for exhibitions in the UK, but also had a profoundly positive impact on the Midlands, driving economic development and regeneration to the region.The NEC hosts more than 140 events, including the world-famous dog show Crufts, attracting 2.1 million visitors a year.
Francis was active in the local area outside of surveying. His varied roles included becoming a deputy lieutenant of the West Midlands in 1982 and High Sheriff of the West Midlands in 1988-89. He was also vice-president at Aston Villa football club, a committee member at Warwickshire CCC, President at Harborne CC and a president of Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.
As well as being appointed Chairman of the West Midlands Branch of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, in 1983 Francis was awarded an OBE for his dedication to a number of charities including, the Hippodrome Trust, the South Birmingham Health Authority and the West Midlands Army Benevolent Fund.
Unfortunately Francis passed away in 2013, but he left behind an impressive legacy in Birmingham, the world of surveying, and beyond.