On Tuesday 17th June 1941, Sergeant Harry Brooks, of the Warwickshire Constabulary, based at Shirley Police Station, was presented with the George Medal by His Majesty King George VI at Buckingham Palace. The George Medal was instituted in January 1941 to reward “acts of great bravery” and arose out of the strong desire to reward acts of civilian courage during the Blitz.Continue reading “Police Sergeant Harry Brooks GM”
One of Solihull’s most notable historians, John Burman, was born in Eccles, Greater Manchester on 19th March 1889 and was the eldest of the four children of parents Edwin Guest Burman (1855-1920) and Gertrude Mary Wood (1866-1950). Edwin had been born in West Bromwich but moved to Lancashire c.1881.Continue reading “John Burman (1889-1955)”
Until Solihull became a County Borough Council on 1st April 1964, the provision of state education in the area was the responsibility of Warwickshire County Council. We’re aware of five special schools in the Solihull urban/metropolitan district, catering for children with physical or learning disabilities:
- Tudor Grange (later Swanswell)
- Reynalds Cross
- Forest Oak
- Hazel Oak
In addition, there was also a special school at nearby Packwood Haugh, Warwickshire.
V. J. Day, 15th August 1945, marked the day when the Second World War effectively came to an end as Japan surrendered and all hostilities ceased.
The Warwick County News, 18th August 1945, summarised local events with the headline “Neighbourly co-operation was the keynote of Solihull’s VJ-Day celebrations” and the observation that the day was marked by a “mood of quiet thanksgiving or in the exuberant relief of pent-up feelings according to age or nature.”
Wednesday 12th May 1937 saw the coronation at Westminster Abbey in London of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The date had been chosen for the coronation of King Edward VIII who had become king on the death of his father George V in January 1936. Although, Edward VIII’s abdication in December resulted in a new king and queen on the throne, the coronation date of 12th May was retained.
In Solihull, the event was marked by a three-day carnival, which ran into the Whitsuntide weekend, and many of the villages now in the borough held their own celebrations.
On the evening of 24th October 1923, Solihull was battered by a whirlwind (now believed to have been a tornado) that travelled a path from Sharman’s Cross to Elmdon Heath, and killed a man sheltering in a barn. Lasting only three or four minutes, reports of the whirlwind, also described as a cyclone in some articles, appeared in newspapers across the country.
Captain Charles Murchison Bernays, formerly of the Royal Army Medical Corps, died on 6th January 1920 in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Dover, aged 39. His death was attributed to haemorrhage as a result of his having been badly gassed in 1917 whilst on active service. Prior to the outbreak of war, he had been practising as a doctor in Shirley but at the time of his death he was house surgeon at the hospital where he died.
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.
Driver Alfred Wild , Royal Army Service Corps, died in Nottinghamshire War Hospital, Radcliffe on Trent, on 12th June 1919, aged 29.
Private William Henry Cooper, 2nd Aircraft Depot, Royal Air Force died in France of influenza and bronchial pneumonia. He was born in Shirley on 1st November 1873 and, in 1881, was living in Bills Lane with parents William (a metal roller) and Louisa Amelia (née Harrison) ,who had married in Moseley in 1866. Harry, as he was known, was the third of the couple’s four children (two sons, two daughters).