Solihull’s war shrine

Easter Sunday, 9th April 1917, saw the unveiling in Solihull of a War Shrine to the Fallen of the First World War, pictured above (image courtesy of Gordon Bragg).

The Calvary shrine was the gift of a parishioner and was designed by local artist Elphege Pippet (1868-1942). It was built by Charles Timms of Messrs. Thompson, builder, causing the Rector of Solihull to note: “everything connected with it has been done in our village, which is as it should be.”

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James Fern Webster – the “wizard of Warwickshire”

James Fern Webster was an engineer and prolific inventor who lived and worked in the High Street, Solihull Lodge in the 1870s/80s.

He developed a process for making the extraction of aluminium sufficiently cost effective for the metal to be used in the manufacture of everyday objects, patenting a process that enabled him to sell aluminium for £4 per pound instead of the £60 per pound that it had been previously. Prior to this, aluminium was considered a precious metal, and bars of aluminium were exhibited alongside the French Crown Jewels in the Paris Exhibition of 1855.

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