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Talks are held on the last Friday afternoon of the month in January, February, March, September, October and November at the Methodist Church Hall, Station Approach, Solihull starting at 2.00pm.

Admission is £4.00 for Solihull Centre Members and £5.50 for visitors or guests of members including tea or coffee in the interval.

Parking is limited at the hall, but three hours free parking is available at Tudor Grange Leisure Centre - a valid ticket must be displayed.

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Friday 27 January 2023

Beer, Bets and Bull Bating
Mary Bodfish

Our forebears revelled in bull baiting, cock fighting, boxing matches and abominable drunkenness, especially in the Black Country.  The boozy bloody amusements of the working classes rose and fell – and something of them remains today.


Mary’s talk is fully illustrated.  She is a founder member of the Smethwick Local History Society and has taught local history research and palaeography for the University of Birmingham’s School of Continuing Studies.

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Friday 24 February 2023

Archives at Baddesley Clinton - an update

Olivia Barnwell

Today we will welcome Olivia Barnwell, NT Collections and House Manager at Packwood and Baddesley Clinton, to give us an update regarding archives at Baddesley Clinton.


Some of the archives found in attics at Baddesley are in the process of being documented by volunteers.  Some of the documents found date back to the seventeenth century.  Contents and letters are on subjects as diverse as marriage licenses and the Boston Tea Party.

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Friday 31 March 202

A Man of Many Words
Sue Bray

Dr Samuel Johnson was an English writer who was arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history. 


Dr Johnson was born in Lichfield, where there is a most interesting birthplace museum and bookshop.  One of his most famous achievements was his ‘A Dictionary of the English Language’.in 1755.


Sue Bray is from the Birthplace Museum and will speak about his life and achievements.

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Friday 29 September 2023

The Divine Beauty Project – an Update
Jane McArdle

The Divine Beauty project is the project for the restoration of the windows at Birmingham Cathedral.  The Cathedral has four wonderful Pre-Raphaelite stained-glass windows by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris.  The windows are some of the most exceptional in the world.  We have previously had a talk from Jane regarding the Divine Beauty Project and we have also visited the Cathedral as a group.  Now four years later Jane will give us an update on the progress of the project.


Friday 27 October 2023

Gardening for Wildlife & Your Plate
Philippa Arnold - Warwickshire Wildlife Trust

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is an independent conservation organisation whose aim is to bring people closer to nature and create a land rich in wildlife across Warwickshire, Solihull & Coventry. We can all help to encourage wildlife to flourish by making our gardens wildlife friendly. Find out practical hints and tips to ‘go wild in your garden’.


Friday 24 November 2023

Local Railways before Beeching
Philip Jarvis

The Beeching Plan (or Axe) was a plan to increase the efficiency of the railways in
Britain. Many local stations were closed in the Midlands. Philip will be showing us digital slides of local railways in the Midlands prior to the Beeching Axe. These include a brief look at New Street and Snow Hill and the Redditch to Evesham line in the days of steam. Most of the photos were taken by the late Michael Mensing a photographer who lived in Solihull and attended Solihull School.


Friday 26 January 2024

Billy Butlin

Andrew French

This talk covers the life of Billy Butlin from his humble beginnings in South Africa to his work as a travelling fairground ‘showman’ around the UK to the building of the world’s first all-inclusive holiday camp in Skegness. You will find out about the risks he took, the luck he enjoyed and the millions he made and lost creating the institution that is known to us all as ‘Butlin's’.


Friday 23rd February 2024
The Golden Age of Television?
– A Personal Journey

Mark Kershaw

A talk about Television in the 1970s and 80s, when there were only three channels and colour TV was very new. Mark Kershaw joined the BBC at Television Centre in London in 1970 and rose from being a lowly camera assistant to an executive producer. He witnessed programme making in what many have described as “the golden age of TV”. He will discuss being involved in a multitude of dramas and comedies and current affairs programmes as well as state events. Intermingled with these will be stories from behind the camera as well as what happened in front of it.

Friday 22 March 2024
Policing in Birmingham During WWII
Corinne Brazier

We continue the fascinating story of our local police force. We will go back to the dark days of WWII when Birmingham suffered terrible devastation during the Blitz with thousands of lives lost during the air raids and many of its citizens had left to fight overseas. The police had to deal with the aftermath of destruction with depleted ranks and the loss of 17 of
their own during raids. We will hear their story and hear of their brave actions and selfless courage whilst hearing how Birmingham was policed during WWII.

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