This press release was issued 3rd December to announce the Ratcliff films being released on DVD.
Knowle Library and the Knowle Society’s Local History Centre continue to work together to celebrate local heritage. Visit before December 13th and you can view two exhibitions and buy a DVD filled with footage from the last century.
The first exhibition, on the Library’s Ground Floor, is entitled ‘Historic Knowle’ and looks at a range of subjects around the village. The visitor can discover which of Kenilworth Road’s terraced houses sports a Victorian Jubilee plaque, used to be part of the Bulls Head Inn and subsequently housed the Sergeant next to his Police Station. Alongside this are photographs and detail about more prominent historic properties such as Knowle Hall and a village centrepiece, the magnificent 15th century Guild House.
Meanwhile, upstairs, in the Knowle Society run Local History Centre, the display cases present ‘Then and Now’. This is a photographic comparison of the village today and how it was. From Chester House, the Library itself, in 1894 to the junction of Lodge and Longdon Roads in 1927, times have changed and the pictures show how.
After that, the Library counter has take home nostalgia in the form of a new Knowle Society DVD, ‘Knowle Celebrations’, which contains over an hour of extracts from twenty-three films made by Mr F G Ratcliff. The earliest shows the British Legion Parade estimated at 1930 and the final one, the opening of Knowle Primary School in 1966. In between are the celebrations King George V’s Jubilee and VE Day, a village Tug’o’War, several Carnivals and more.
The DVD provides a fascinating insight into community life in decades past. There are also some remarkable glimpses of the main streets of Solihull Town Centre from the 1960s as demolition was in hand to prepare for the construction of Mell Square.
Janet Erzen, the new Chair of the Local History Committee, said ‘Knowle Society has a tremendous archive of village memories and the Library, the oldest building on the High Street, is the ideal place to showcase them.’
Good crowds, excellent policing and lots of excited children made this annual event another highlight in the community life of Knowle.
On what must have been one of the coldest afternoons ever for the event the Society’s Christmas Tree was switched on by Father Christmas on 1st December. The crowds however were not deterred from the occasion and the Society expresses sincere thanks to the Vicar, Knowle and Dorridge Round Table for arranging the transport for Father Christmas, Knowle and Dorridge Lions for the stewarding marshals, Midway Hire for the barriers, the Ardenaires for playing their instruments in very cold conditions and finally the local Police for assistance with traffic control. An ad-hoc committee of volunteers from the Society’s membership, namely John, Tony, Phil and Gary organised the event. The Traders’ street lights look as beautiful as ever. This event is now becoming a must in the annual calendar, but it should be remembered that all the contributions were made voluntarily and every effort should be made to continue this tradition.
Several of the Society’s long-standing Trustee Directors stood down or moved to different roles at the AGM on 24th November and two new Directors were elected. The Society also announced that it is offering a new membership category of Corporate Member.
The new Officers are: Chairman – Peter Ewin; Deputy Chairman – Leighton Jones; Treasurer – Peter Johnson and Secretary – Andrew Marston. New chairmen of committees are Janet Erzen – History and Charles Robinson – Meetings & Social. Derek Mellor continues as Membership Secretary but has stepped down as a Trustee Director. The new membership category of Corporate Member (with one vote) has been set with a subscription of five times the current family membership, i.e. 5 x 5 pounds = 25 pounds.
66 people turned out for the Society’s first daytime meeting for several years and enjoyed a fascinating illustrated story by Colin Smith, a former chairman of the Society, of how Knowle grew from almost nobody at the time of the Domesday Book to 10500 in 2008.