The impression of Poplar Road taken in the 1950’s in my mother’s day, shows the old Council House with a wall garden including the extending side office space no longer in existing demolished for Mill Lane shopping precinct, just a little further down was the old Police Station not in view of my painting I do however have childhood memories of walking past to go towards the High Street, strangely I was sad to see it demolished as a child I liked the architecture the space became a car park until Sainsbury’s was built. WOW was that considered a big supermarket when it 1st opened now it would be considered small.
The old Council House with the stone-built balcony I can just imagine the Lord Mayor in his robes standing there addressing the crowd. It has some history it once was known as the Public Hall built in 1876 by a private company as the “Public Hall”, which was used for social and charitable events such as an annual “Bountiful Tea Party” for up to 150 “aged matrons” along with hiring it out for the growing Methodist living in Solihull in the late eighth century.
Wesleyan Methodist Society, which grew to become a membership of 12 met in the village in the 1840’s, but it was 1883 before Methodism was truly founded in Solihull they would hire out the Court Room in
the Public Hall the cost would be 6 shillings a week to hold two services every Sunday.
The Public Hall was acquired by Solihull Rural District Council in 1919
Solihull’s Council House from 1937 until 1967 when the new Council House was opened on the present site near St Alphege Church. More memories of its opening of the new offices it was front page news and talk of the village.
After it ceased to be the Council House in 1967, it was leased to the Area Health Authority, where my sister in law worked for a short period of time before moving into office in Mell Square before being converted into a wine bar and restaurant, Bar Censsa, in 1999, it was a colorful place to enter with a new face lift it was successful then a new name Assembly Rooms yet another face lift away with the bright colours came along book cases opening hours for breakfast it was a busy and poplar pub.
Strange to think prayers would take place in this building to become a public bar now bear in mind it is now an established pub with its new name Yates.
I decided to name my painting after a silhill resident who was born in Solihull and became an international glam rock star David John "Dave Hill” (born 4 April 1946 in Solihull) as a kid he would have walked these past the old Council House. He soon became lead guitarist and backing vocalist in the glam rock group, Slade. Hill is known for his flamboyant stage clothes and hairstyle.
In my childhood years watched the group perform on Top of the Pops, discovering that the group use to drink in the local pub, where my brother worked when he left school, The Red House, home for the famous at that time as most of the blues team go for a drink after a match. Unfortunately, I was to young to step in, so I got my brother to ask for autographs much of his embarrassment.
Our Lady is out with sweetheart off shopping no doubt, hope he has some pennies for her taste in clothes.