Solihull was the only former Rural District Council to become a Metropolitan Borough Council in its own right under the 1972 Local Government Act, which came into effect on 1st April 1974. A little more than 40 years before, workers were taking up the cobbles in Solihull’s High Street – a graphic illustration of the incredibly rapid growth of the Borough. The population had more than doubled in 7 years, from just over 25,000 in 1932 to 52,610 by 1939.
The clock was erected in 1964 to mark Solihull’s elevation to a County Borough, meaning the council took over responsibility from Warwickshire County Council for running services in the Borough.
The clock was paid for by public subscription, including through the proceeds of a ‘teenage dance’ at Solihull Civic Hall. The dance featured local groups, including the Applejacks (Solihull’s Beatles).
Heritage and Local Studies Librarian
2014 marks the 40th/50th/60th anniversary of Solihull becoming a Municipal Borough (1954), County Borough (1964) and Metropolitan Borough (1974).
We’d love to hear your memories of those times – for example, did you see Princess Margaret visit Solihull on Charter Day? Did you attend the teenage dance at the Civic Hall in 1964 to raise funds for the ‘Elevation Day’ clock? Do you remember the creation of the present-day Metropolitan Borough in 1974?
Please tell us what you remember of events then, or let us have your thoughts on how life in the Borough has changed since those times. There’s a memory sheet (PDF) attached below for you to fill in and email back to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
When Solihull became a County Borough on 1st April 1964, it took over responsibility from Warwickshire County Council for driver and vehicle licensing in Solihull. From that day, Solihull drivers had to obtain their tax discs from the Local Taxation Officer at the Council House in Poplar Road. The Birmingham Post reported that the creation of a separate registration for Solihull would have a considerable effect on motor licensing statistics for Warwickshire. The Government took over vehicle licensing from 1974.
The Ministry of Transport allocated Solihull the registration marks A-Y, followed by XC , followed by a running number and a “year letter” denoting the year of registration (B for 1964, C for 1965 and so on). The XC registration was already in use by London County Council who promised not to use a year letter so that there wouldn’t be any confusion with the Solihull registrations.
The first vehicle registered in the County Borough was registered on ‘Elevation Day’ itself – 1st April. It was a grey and burgundy 3-litre Rover coupé, registered by the Rover Motor Co. Ltd and destined for the chairman of the company, Mr L. G. T. (later Sir George) Farmer and had the registration “AXC 1 B” .
If anyone has a photograph of the car, we’d be really grateful to have a copy for the heritage and local studies collection at Solihull Central Library (email: email@example.com).
Local Studies Librarian
Solihull is unique in being the only former Rural District (1894-1932) to have grown to the status of Metropolitan Borough in its own right.
2014 marks 60 years since HRH Princess Margaret visited Solihull to present the then Urban District (1932-54) with a Royal Charter of Incorporation as a Borough.
Just ten years later, “the village”, as most Silhillians still called it, had grown to such an extent that the Municipal Borough served a population of 100,000. This was considered sufficient to become a County Borough in 1964, and take on responsibilities previously carried out for residents by the County Council.
Another ten years on, and 1974 saw the effect of the Local Government Act 1972, which re-organised local authorities and saw Solihull County Borough merge with Meriden Rural District and Hockley Heath Parish to form the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull we have today.
All this makes 2014 a special year for us: a 40th, 50th and 60th anniversary!
We’re hoping that you’ll be able to tell us your memories of the events in 1954, 1964, and 1974 that marked the rise of Solihull from an Urban District to a Metropolitan Borough.
Post your memories here, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.