Carl Chinn fills the school hall


The long awaited visit by Carl Chinn was rewarded with a large and enthusiastic audience.

Thursday 9th Oct was an unusual night for a Knowle Society meeting, as was meeting at Arden School, but there was a good reason. After 3 years of trying we were at last to be treated to a presentation from Carl Chinn, the celebrated Birmingham historian. The wait was well worth it, as the 150 plus in the audience will tell you. See the scrum at the end to speak to Carl one-to-one and to buy his books.

Birmingham International Airport runway extension application submitted (opens link to SMBC site)


The long-awaited application to extend the runway at the airport, including realignment of the A45, a new air traffic control tower, revision of the existing fuel farm and a new exit taxi way, has now been received by Solihull Council.

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The Knowle Society gave its views on the draft proposals at the time of the airport’s public consultation; the Society having undertaken a consultation itself within Knowle prior to making that response. Follow the Community link from this page to view the Society’s submission. The Society will consider the final version of the application (2008/22) and will respond if there are variations that affect Knowle.


Famous Brummie coming to Knowle


Everyone is welcome to come and listen to, and question, Prof Carl Chinn when The Knowle Society hosts this famous local historian and promoter of Birmingham. Arden School at 7.45pm on Thursday 9th October. Guaranteed to be a fascinating and entertaining evening. Free entry – visitors welcome.


Professor Carl Chinn MBE FRSA Ph.D. is a social historian, broadcaster, newspaper columnist, public speaker, author and campaigner for the rights of working-class people. Professor of Community History at the University of Birmingham, he is the author of 26 books that include studies of working-class housing, urban working class life, working-class women’s lives, Birmingham, the Black Country, and ethnic minorities. He has appeared as an expert on various television programmes, including Channel 4’s ‘History Hunters’ with Tony Robinson, and most recently on BBC 4’s ‘Edwardian Larder’. In the Midlands he has regular local history slots on BBC Midlands Today and is the expert in ITV’s ‘The Way We Were’ series. Professor Chinn has appeared on numerous Radio 4 programmes, including those presented by Libby Purvess and Laurie Taylor; he has his own local history show on BBC WM; and he writes local history features for the Express and Star and Birmingham Mail. His writing on housing and other issues is deeply affected by his family’s working-class background and life in the back-to-backs of Birmingham, and he is an ardent supporter of manufacturing who played a prominent role in the battle to keep Longbridge open in 2001. That year he was awarded the MBE for his services to local history and to charities. Carl is married to Kay and they have four children, aged from 26 to eleven.

Celebrations in Knowle from the 1930s to the 1960s – new DVD

Launched on Saturday 13th September – The Knowle Society’s first DVD, price 8 pounds. It comprises unique black and white and early colour film of carnivals and national celebrations in Knowle taken over four decades by Mr F G Ratcliff.

This is a new version of the VHS video last available in 1993. It provides a fascinating and amusing insight into life in the growing village of Knowle. This DVD makes a delightful gift and will appeal to anyone with a love of Knowle and particularly to anyone with roots in the village.

Available from the main desk downstairs at Knowle Library, at all of the Society’s main meetings and at the Local History Centre upstairs in Knowle Library on Saturday mornings.

Longdon Road Closure and Diversion

We have been advised by Solihull Council that Longdon Road will be closed for work on the Purnells Brook culvert for six weeks from Monday 28 July until Monday 8 September.

During the closure, entry to Longdon Road will be for access only with no through traffic. A diversion will be signposted via Tilehouse Green Lane, Widney Road, Station Road and Lodge Road.