Opening of Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre 1971

On Wednesday 7th April 1971 Her Majesty The Queen officially opened the new shopping centre at Chelmsley Wood, which was described as having space for around 70 shops, six stores and a number of boutiques.

Most of Chelmsley’s 40,000 population turned out for the Royal visit. Large crowds gathered along Bosworth Drive and the precinct itself to watch as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh toured the centre and unveiled a commemorative plaque on the clock tower in Greenwood Square.  Building firm Bryants, co-developers of the shopping centre with Samuel Properties, had provided local schools with six gross (864) of flags.

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Kingshurst Hall Estate

The housing development at Kingshurst Hall Estate was the first time that Birmingham Corporation had ever built dwellings outside the city boundaries. It was also the first time that the council had a housing scheme that included owner-occupied housing as well as council housing.

It was an “overspill” housing estate, one of many created in the 1950s on the outskirts of large towns and cities to help relieve overcrowding in urban areas. The intention was to move people from decaying inner cities to better conditions in more rural areas.

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Solihull Post Office Robbery, 1884

On Tuesday 29th January 1884, a man drove a horse and trap up to the Post Office on Solihull High Street and asked the postmistress to cash some postal orders. Whilst she was talking to him, another man in the shop seized £49 in gold from the counter, then jumped into the trap and both men rode off in the direction of Birmingham. A policeman followed them but did not managed to overtake them.

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Paul Oppenheimer MBE (1928-2007)

Paul Oppenheimer was born in Berlin on 20th September 1928 and died on 8th March 2007 after living in the Solihull borough for more than 40 years.

His parents were Jewish but not very religious and, in his autobiography, From Belsen to Buckingham Palace, Paul notes that his middle-class family was quite assimilated, as were most German Jews at the time, considering themselves proud Germans.

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