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Cancer claims long-standing newspaper columnist aged 61

Chris Upton

A long-standing columnist for a city newspaper has died after a battle with cancer at the age of 61.

Well-known local historian Dr Chris Upton, pictured left, wrote columns for the Birmingham Post for decades and also worked as a university lecturer at Newman University.

His career included working as a historical consultant on popular TV programme Peaky Blinders.

Up until July, Chris wrote a weekly history column and a quirky column for the Post, which has now published a two-page tribute to him featuring some of his best pieces.

Chris Upton tribute

In a story about his death, Post features editor Sarah Probert said: “He was a first class columnist with an enormous sense of humour who had a real passion for his subject.”

Post news editor Ben Hurst added: “What Chris didn’t know about the city’s past wasn’t worth knowing.”

In November 2012, Chris penned a column in the Post revealing would be working on the Peaky Blinders set, advising on a range of issues to ensure the period drama was historically accurate.

He was a reader in public history at Newman University, where he specialised in the history of the West Midlands.

The university wrote on its Facebook page: “It is with great sadness that we have received the news that Dr Chris Upton passed away at home yesterday afternoon.

“Many of you will know Chris as a friend, mentor, colleague and captivating teacher.

“He was well known beyond Newman and across the city of Birmingham as an expert in local history of Birmingham and the Midlands. This was often captured by his regular appearances in the media both in print and on television.

“Here at Newman, Chris has shown commitment and engagement with students and colleagues across our community and will be very sadly missed.”

Chris, who died on 1 October, previously taught at the universities of Aston and Birmingham and has penned a number of history books.

He leaves wife Fiona.