Solihull in wartime – colour film

Harold Thomas Lavender (1900-1953) was a Walsall-born businessman, who was Managing Director of Proctor & Lavender brick and builder’s merchants. He was in partnership with Arthur Herbert Proctor until 1st May 1928, after which he continued the business alone, still trading as Proctor and Lavender. He lived in Dorridge and was elected to Warwickshire County Council in 1943 as the represent of Solihull First district.

Councillor  Lavender was a keen amateur film-maker and, during the Second World War, took some remarkable colour cine film footage of wartime activities in Solihull. On the outbreak of war colour film was requisitioned for the war effort but Councillor Lavender managed to persuade Solihull Council to support his application to obtain more film so that he could continue to document the war.

His original cine film was given to Solihull Libraries and has been digitised by the Media Archive for Central England (MACE). The digitised films, which are all silent, are available on the MACE website (see links below).

The film (or extracts from it) was first shown to the public in December 1943.

Click on the images below to view the digitised films.

Includes a civil defence exercise in Solihull, and a civil defence competition in Kenilworth. A parade passes the Council House, and troops tackling an obstacle course in Malvern Park.
(duration 8m 33s)

Includes waste paper salvage drive, parade, savings campaign, a police show in Malvern Park, and the aftermath of bombing in Alston Road, July 1942 (duration 21m 28s)

Civil Defence personnel are shown outside the Saddlers Arms, Warwick Road, Solihull. There is a Drumhead Service in Malvern Park (possibly that held on 13 May 1945) and Civil Defence are shown leaving St Alphege Church (duration 7m 16s)

Solihull’s “Salute the Soldier” week took place 20th-27th May 1944. The film shows a parade in Poplar Road and a fundraising event. There is footage of Malvern Park, and evacuees arriving at Solihull Station. (duration 14m 10s)

If you have any further information, please let us know.

Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

© Solihull Council, 2020.
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