In the 2011 Census, there were 123,187 people residing in this historical market town in England. In south-central England, in the Forest of Arden region, on the River Blythe, Solihull is located historically in Warwickshire.
There is a population of 214,909 in the wider Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, which is home to Birmingham. Birmingham is the largest town in the region. Switch Quality of Life Index ranked Solihull as the “best place to live” in the UK in November 2013. It is the most affluent town in the West Midlands region, and one of the wealthiest areas of the United Kingdom outside of London. It is predominantly rural, with 35% of the town designated as greenbelt.
History of Solihull
In ancient times, the area now known as Solihull was covered in the ancient Forest of Arden.
Early settlements in the area can be found at Berry Mound, Shirley, which was a fortified village protected by earth banks dating back to the 1st century BC that covered approximately 11 acres (4.5 ha). A bright clearing or a border clearing in the Arden Forest gives its name to Shirley. Solihull formed the fusion of the two powerful Celtic tribes, Corieltauvi and Cornovii, via the Cole River, which feeds the River Blythe.
The Forest of Arden was said to be so dense that no Roman roads passed through it. Coleshill on the Solihull border is the closest known major Roman settlement, followed by Metchley Fort (around 8.5 miles north west) and Alcester (around 15 miles south).
20th Century History
The Duchess of Kent and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain opened Elmdon Airport in Solihull on 8 July 1939. It is famous for having been designed by Norman and Dawbarn in an Art Deco style, where the Elmdon Terminal is located alongside the air traffic control tower of the airport. It was requisitioned for use during the Second World War, becoming RAF Elmdon. Although the aerodrome remained under government control, it was opened to civilian operations on 8 July 1946. As of 1960, Birmingham International Airport is controlled by Birmingham City Council and is known as Birmingham International Airport.
Despite being the second largest city in England, Birmingham did not have an airport. A train station was built for passengers to travel from Solihull to Birmingham, where the Birmingham Airport is located, after the airport was relocated to Solihull. By Air-Rail Link, the airport is connected to the station. Among some Solihull residents, it is still affectionately called Elmdon Airport.
The Coventry Children’s Home and the East End of London were relocated to Solihull when the Second World War started. As an effort to confuse any enemy bombers flying overhead on their way to crucial industrial areas, barrage balloons, smokescreens, and searchlights were erected around Solihull.
Tudor Grange House was converted into a military convalescent hospital. One of the new restaurants on Mill Lane serves British food. In 1942, HMS Vivacious became the town’s symbol. The Blossomfield Road depot of the American Army was built in preparation for D-Day. A Home Guard Battalion was also based in the town.
Bentley Heath | Wythall | Hockley Heath | Packwood | Balsall Common | Redditch | Solihull | Kennilworth |Warwick | Cheswick Green