UNSULLIED BY SOLIHULL – PART I

 

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A hard piece to write, and hard to find one photo to sum up Solihull.  But it’s LifeAfterFootball‘s home town, so there’s a random Leyton Orient sticker on a lamp post.

East Birmingham, which I rather unfairly lump SoliVegas in with, is an odd place to understand, full of suburbs and uncertainties about boundaries.  On the way in I passed planes, vans and a sign saying “No Cruising”, even though Brum is miles from the sea.

I did Solihull the Grand Way.  A four hour walk from Sheldon to the shops via Land Rover and back via Olton.  Proper tourist route that one.

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Tourist Solihull

I started at the Pup & Duckling, my last GBG tick for West Midlands to confirm it actually existed and had plans to open later that afternoon. It exists, but the opening times were a bit invisible.  I’d just have to rely on WhatPub, like you always can.

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Chinese and Indian takeaways a good sign

The little shopping enclave on Hatchford Brook also includes Cocoa Fusion Chocolate Fountain Hire, whose services I didn’t need on this occasion, so I set off for the park.

Judging by the number of builders vans and roadworks I saw, there should be plenty of tradesmen tipping up in Solihull’s pubs after 4pm, anyway.

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Solihull roadworks – art shot

Elmdon Park was packed with people keeping fit (joking, it was just dogwalkers).

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Spooky Elmdon Church

There’s a good cemetery at the top, but the highlight was a spookily deserted “Walled Garden“, presumably damaged by Solihull youths in the early ’80s and left to rot since.

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A patch-up job

I hadn’t seen another human being for 20 minutes when I emerged from the woods, unexpectedly at the side of the Land Rover factory, which would make a good micro pub.  Across the lane is Solihull Moor FC’s stand.

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Football ground tick
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Liverpool Ladies just tonked 4-0 here

It wasn’t till I saw the Orient sticker a few yards up the road that I realised; the Moors actually play in the same division as Tranmere and Wrexham (and Maidenhead, but I’ll gloss over that).  They could be playing Hull Tigers soon !

Your options for a pre-match pint are a bit limited, as WhatPub reveals.

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Beer desert

The only pub anywhere near is what used to the (Damson) Acres, but now shares it’s attractive interiors with a (First Class) barber and is renamed The Damson. Keep up.

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Off your head
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The Damson

I popped in in the interests to confirm the availability of D*** **r and C****ng  on the bar, along with two toddlers (on the bar) and Old Boy (seated).  A decade ago this place was heaving. The slow death of the estate pub continues.

The major source of pre-match beer is clearly Michael’s Place, a micro pub without an on-licence., but with those all-important craft cans we all love now.

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Michaels Craft Bar

I stepped up the pace, suddenly realising I was hungry. Just shy of the ring road the Greville Arms promised Pedigree with my burger.

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Welcome

But inside all was Doom.  And keg Brew XI, which may be even worse.

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Brew XI on cask would have been fine

I pressed on, into the Heart of Darkness Solihull Shopping Centre.

To Be Continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26 thoughts on “UNSULLIED BY SOLIHULL – PART I

  1. Have been to the ground – will gloss over the FAC replay humiliation my club suffered that evening. Suffice it to say, utter chaos. They clearly had not expected anyone much to turn up, and eventually with half hour queuing got in the ground ten minutes after kick-off. On reflection, that was the best part.
    Pup & Duckling was, of course, closed that day.
    The Land Rover factory almost running into Birmingham Airport makes the whole area feel peculiar, with a massive Chernobyl (minus the radiation) style no-go zone dividing and fracturing any sense of a community.

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  2. “a sign saying “No Cruising”, even though Brum is miles from the sea.”

    I think in that neck of the woods it’s meant as part of the phrase “cruising for a bruising”. 😉

    “Tourist Solihull”

    How come some of the place names on the map are in fancy Gothic type lettering? Historic perhaps?

    “Chinese and Indian takeaways a good sign”

    That explains the ‘Orient on tour’ in your first photo. 🙂

    “The Damson”

    Sigh. 😦

    “Brew XI on cask would have been fine”

    Ugh. And it appears to be part of something called the Sizzling Pubs chain?

    Hopefully better luck in part 2.

    Cheers

    PS – “is what used to the”

    Missing a ‘be’ there.

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  3. That really pays homage to my youth! The Damson used to be called The Golden Acres and was great for a late night lock in (Back in the day when pubs shut at 11). Solihull Moors FC used to be the site of JB’s driving range and the night club of the same name. Back in the 90’s if you couldn’t get into any of the mainstream Solihull nightclubs you would go to JB’s!!!! There was also a cracking estate pub called The Old Colonial that was packed with Rover workers and possibly highlights the death of the state pub more than anything. Elmdon Park was where I undertook my first few pre-seasons with Birmingham City back in the day when hill running was seen as the norm….it was an absolute beast!!!! If you walked through Olton you may well have passed The Olton Tavern, The Highwood, The Lyndon and The Hobs Meadow (Used to be The Viking) which were all excellent estate pubs in the 80s and 90s and ‘the other side’ of the ice rink, which was always seen as a central point. A fantastic post Martin!

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  4. The Pup & Duckling just might be the most adorable-sounding pub name I’ve encountered yet! You have to smile, just saying it out loud.

    Pedigree with a burger does sound a lovely combination (even if saying so may put me at odds with the anti-gastropub contingent…)

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  5. Unfortunately Solihull Moors seem to be on a similar downward trajectory as their near neighbours at present. Whilst the imminent return promotion of the mighty Macclesfield Town is being matched only by the glorious return of the much missed Macc Lads; the return of the Youth Anthem that is “20 Pints” inevitably leading to the correspondent glorious resurrection of cask Boddies.

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  6. I think I’d have been tempted to try that keg Brew XI for old times’ sake 😉

    An interesting feature of your map extract is how the A45 has been diverted in a giant curve to accommodate the extension of the airport runway. Obviously the budget didn’t stretch to a tunnel, as at Manchester.

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