Opening of Solihull Cemetery 1917

26th September 1917 saw the official opening of Solihull Cemetery, described in the opening brochure as being at the junction of Robin Hood Road and Olton Road, although the cemetery’s address is now usually given as Streetsbrook Road.

The 42-acre-site was chosen as the most suitable place for a cemetery, as it is “easy of access from all parts and is sufficiently removed from the residential districts not to be in any way detrimental to the same.”

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A wartime marriage

100 years ago two cousins in their 30s met for the first time in Solihull and fell in love.

At the Core Library, Solihull, we have photocopies of some letters written by an Australian First World War soldier – Private Frederick William Forder – from a convalescent hospital in England in 1916 and on board a ship home to Australia in 1919 (our ref.: D125).

The letters were sent to his wife, Edith Forder (née Hobbins) whom he had married at St Alphege Church, Solihull on 5th June 1918. It seems that after six months of married life in England, the couple were parted when Frederick returned to Australia in January 1919, and they never saw each other again.

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Paul Quinet, a former Belgian refugee

Paul Gustave Désiré Quinet (surname pronounced key-nay, or keeney by some) was born in 1899 in Koekelberg, Brussels. At the age of four and a half, he moved with his parents to Persia but returned to Brussels in 1906 to go to boarding school, where he remained until 1914.

His mother died in childbirth in Persia in 1908 and his father remained working there until returning to Brussels in 1913.

In 1914, after Paul proudly told his father that he had seen German troops in nearby woods, the family quickly gathered together belongings and left Brussels for the Belgian coast, taking the last train to leave before the entry of the German troops into the city.

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Auxiliary Hospitals

In 1909, the British Red Cross was tasked with helping the Territorial Forces Medical Service in the event of war. It set up local units called ‘Voluntary Aid Detachments’, and members were trained in first aid and nursing.

Auxiliary Hospitals, attached to military hospitals, were established – the following are known to have operated in Solihull:

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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.

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First car registered in Solihull

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.

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Solihull prepares for Charter Day

This is an extract of a longer video by local film-makers and photographers, filmed in March 1954 when Princess Margaret presented then Urban District of Solihull with a Royal Charter of Incorporation as a Borough. It shows the area around Poplar Road and Warwick Road, including then Council House (now the Assembly Rooms pub).


Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

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