Sir Tom Stoppard is a Czech-born British playwright and screenwriter. He has written prolifically for TV, radio and stage, finding prominence with plays such as Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Professional Foul, The Real Thing, The Invention of Love, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, he co-wrote the screenplays for Brazil, The Russia House, Shakespeare in Love, has received an Academy Award and four Tony Awards. His work covers the themes of human rights and political freedom delving into the deeper philosophical thematics of society. Stoppard has been a key playwright of the National Theatre and is one of the most internationally performed dramatists of his generation. In 2008, The Daily Telegraph ranked him number 11 in their list of the "100 most powerful people in British culture". Born in Czechoslovakia, Stoppard left as a child refugee, he settled with his family in Britain after the war, in 1946, having spent the three years prior in a boarding school in Darjeeling in the Indian Himalayas.
After being educated at schools in Nottingham and Yorkshire, Stoppard became a journalist, a drama critic and in 1960, a playwright. Stoppard was born Tomáš Straussler, in Zlín, a city dominated by the shoe manufacturing industry, in the Moravia region of Czechoslovakia, he is a physician employed by the Bata shoe company. His parents were members of a long-established community. Just before the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, the town's patron, Jan Antonín Baťa, transferred his Jewish employees physicians, to branches of his firm outside Europe. On 15 March 1939, the day the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia, the Straussler family fled to Singapore, where Bata had a factory. Before the Japanese occupation of Singapore, his brother, their mother were sent on to Australia. Stoppard's father remained in Singapore as a British army volunteer, knowing that, as a physician, he would be needed in its defence. Stoppard was four years old. In the book Tom Stoppard in Conversation, Stoppard tells how his father died in Japanese captivity, a prisoner of war but has said that he subsequently discovered that Straussler was reported to have drowned on board a ship bombed by Japanese forces whilst trying to flee Singapore in 1942.
In 1941, when Tomas was five, the three were evacuated to India. The boys attended Mount Hermon School, an American multi-racial school, where Tomas became Tom and his brother Petr became Peter. In 1945, his mother, married British army major Kenneth Stoppard, who gave the boys his English surname and, in 1946, moved the family to England. Stoppard's stepfather believed that "to be born an Englishman was to have drawn first prize in the lottery of life" —a quote from Cecil Rhodes —telling his 9 year-old stepson: "Don't you realise that I made you British?" Setting up Stoppard's desire as a child to become "an honorary Englishman". "I often find I'm with people who forget I don't quite belong in the world we're in", he says. "I find I put a foot wrong—it could be pronunciation, an arcane bit of English history—and I'm there naked, as someone with a pass, a press ticket." This is reflected in his characters, he notes, who are "constantly being addressed by the wrong name, with jokes and false trails to do with the confusion of having two names".
Stoppard attended the Dolphin School in Nottinghamshire, completed his education at Pocklington School in East Riding, which he hated. Stoppard left school at seventeen and began work as a journalist for the Western Daily Press in Bristol, never receiving a university education. Years he came to regret not going to university, but at the time he loved his work as a journalist and felt passionately about his career, he worked at the paper from 1954 until 1958, when the Bristol Evening World offered Stoppard the position of feature writer, humor columnist, secondary drama critic, which took Stoppard into the world of theater. At the Bristol Old Vic—at the time a well-regarded regional repertory company—Stoppard formed friendships with director John Boorman and actor Peter O'Toole early in their careers. In Bristol, he became known more for his strained attempts at humor and unstylish clothes than for his writing. Stoppard wrote short radio plays in 1953–54 and by 1960 he had completed his first stage play, A Walk on the Water, re-titled Enter a Free Man.
He noted that the work owed much to Robert Bolt's Flowering Cherry and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Within a week after sending A Walk on the Water to an agent, Stoppard received his version of the "Hollywood-style telegrams that change struggling young artists' lives." His first play was optioned, staged in Hamburg broadcast on British Independent Television in 1963. From September 1962 until April 1963, Stoppard worked in London as a drama critic for Scene magazine, writing reviews and interviews both under his name and the pseudonym William Boot. In 1964, a Ford Foundation grant enabled Stoppard to spend 5 months writing in a Berlin mansion, emerging with a one-act play titled Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Meet King Lear, which evolved into his Tony-winning play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. In the following years, Stoppard produced several works for radio and the theatre, including "M" is for Moon Among Other Things, A Separate Peace and If You're Glad I'll Be Frank. On 11 April 1967 – following acclaim at the 1966 Edinburgh Festival – the opening of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in a National Theatre producti
The Profumo affair was a British political scandal that originated with a brief sexual relationship in 1961 between John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War in Harold Macmillan's Conservative government, Christine Keeler, a 19-year-old would-be model. In March 1963, Profumo's denial of any impropriety, in a personal statement to the House of Commons, was refuted a few weeks with his admission of the truth, he resigned from Parliament. The repercussions of the affair damaged Macmillan's self-confidence, he resigned as Prime Minister on health grounds in October 1963; the reputation of the Conservative Party was damaged by the scandal, which may have contributed to its defeat by the Labour Party in the 1964 general election. When the Profumo–Keeler affair was first revealed, public interest was heightened by reports that Keeler may have been involved with Captain Yevgeny Ivanov, a Soviet naval attaché, thereby creating a possible security risk. Keeler knew both Profumo and Ivanov through her friendship with Stephen Ward, an osteopath and socialite who had taken her under his wing.
The exposure of the affair generated rumours of other scandals, drew official attention to the activities of Ward, charged with a series of immorality offences. Perceiving himself as a scapegoat for the misdeeds of others, Ward took a fatal overdose during the final stages of his trial, which found him guilty of living off the immoral earnings of Keeler and her friend Mandy Rice-Davies. An inquiry into the affair by a senior judge, Lord Denning, indicated that there had been no breaches of security arising from the Ivanov connection, although Denning's report was condemned as superficial and unsatisfactory. Profumo subsequently sought private atonement as a volunteer worker at Toynbee Hall, an East London charitable trust. Keeler found it difficult to escape the negative image attached to her by press and parliament throughout the Profumo affair. In various, sometimes contradictory accounts, she challenged Denning's conclusions relating to security issues. Ward's conviction has been described by analysts as an act of Establishment revenge, rather than serving justice.
In January 2014 his case was under review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, with the possibility of a reference to the Court of Appeal. Dramatisations of the Profumo affair have been shown on screen. Profumo died in 2006, while Keeler died in 2017. In the early 1960s British news media were dominated by several high-profile spying stories: the breaking of the Portland spy ring in 1961, the capture and sentencing of George Blake in the same year and, in 1962, the case of the Admiralty clerk, John Vassall, blackmailed into spying by the Soviets who threatened to expose his homosexuality. In October 1962 Vassall was jailed for 18 years. After suggestions in the press that Vassall had been shielded by his political masters, the responsible minister, Thomas Galbraith, resigned from the government pending inquiries. Galbraith was exonerated by the Radcliffe inquiry, which sent two newspaper journalists to prison for refusing to reveal their sources for sensational and uncorroborated stories about Vassall's private life.
The imprisonment damaged relations between the press and the Macmillan government. Brigadier John, 5th Baron Profumo, was born in 1915, of Italian descent, his family, on his father's side, were minor Italian aristocracy, were awarded a low-ranking Italian peerage by the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1843.'Jack' Profumo inherited this peerage, the title of Baron Profumo, upon his father's death on 27 March 1940. He first entered Parliament in 1940 as the Conservative member for Kettering, while serving with the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, combined his political and military duties through the Second World War, he was elected in 1950 for Stratford-on-Avon. From 1951 he held junior ministerial office in successive Conservative administrations. In 1960, Macmillan promoted him to Secretary of State for a senior post outside the cabinet. After his marriage in 1954 to Valerie Hobson, one of Britain's leading film actresses, he may have conducted casual affairs, using late-night parliamentary sittings as his cover.
Baron Profumo's tenure as war minister coincided with a period of transition in the armed forces, involving the end of conscription and the development of a wholly professional army. His performance was watched with a critical eye by his opposition counterpart George Wigg, a former regular soldier. Christine Keeler, born in 1942, left school at 15 with no qualifications and took a series of short-lived jobs in shops and cafés, she aspired to be a model, at 16 had a photograph published in Tit-Bits magazine. In August 1959, she found work as a topless showgirl at Murray's Cabaret Club in Soho; this long-established club attracted a distinguished clientele who, Keeler wrote, "could look but could not touch". Shortly after starting at Murray's, Keeler was introduced to a client, the society osteopath Stephen Ward. Captivated by his charm, she agreed to move into his flat, in a relationship she has described as "like brother and sister"—affectionate but not sexual, she left Ward after a few months to become the mistress of the property dealer Peter Rachman, shared lodgings with Mandy Rice-Davies, a fellow Murray's Club dancer three years her junior.
The two girls left Murray's, attempted without success to pursue careers as freelance models. Keeler lived for short periods with various boyfriends, but
An extended play record referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is unqualified as an album or LP. Contemporary EPs contain a minimum of three tracks and maximum of six tracks, are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well. Ricardo Baca of The Denver Post said, "EPs—originally extended-play'single' releases that are shorter than traditional albums—have long been popular with punk and indie bands." In the United Kingdom, the Official Chart Company defines a boundary between EP and album classification at 25 minutes of maximum length and no more than four tracks. EPs were released in various sizes in different eras; the earliest multi-track records, issued around 1919 by Grey Gull Records, were vertically cut 78 rpm discs known as "2-in-1" records. These had finer than usual grooves, like Edison Disc Records.
By 1949, when the 45 rpm single and 331⁄3 rpm LP were competing formats, seven-inch 45 rpm singles had a maximum playing time of only about four minutes per side. As an attempt to compete with the LP introduced in 1948 by rival Columbia, RCA Victor introduced "Extended Play" 45s during 1952, their narrower grooves, achieved by lowering the cutting levels and sound compression optionally, enabled them to hold up to 7.5 minutes per side—but still be played by a standard 45 rpm phonograph. These were 10-inch LPs split onto two seven-inch EPs or 12-inch LPs split onto three seven-inch EPs, either sold separately or together in gatefold covers; this practice became much less common with the advent of triple-speed-available phonographs. Some classical music albums released at the beginning of the LP era were distributed as EP albums—notably, the seven operas that Arturo Toscanini conducted on radio between 1944 and 1954; these opera EPs broadcast on the NBC Radio network and manufactured by RCA, which owned the NBC network were made available both in 45 rpm and 331⁄3 rpm.
In the 1990s, they began appearing on compact discs. RCA had success in the format with their top money earner, Elvis Presley, issuing 28 Elvis EPs between 1956 and 1967, many of which topped the separate Billboard EP chart during its brief existence. During the 1950s, RCA published several EP albums of Walt Disney movies, containing both the story and the songs; these featured the original casts of actors and actresses. Each album contained two seven-inch records, plus a illustrated booklet containing the text of the recording so that children could follow along by reading; some of the titles included Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and what was a recent release, the movie version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, presented in 1954. The recording and publishing of 20,000 was unusual: it did not employ the movie's cast, years a 12 in 33⅓ rpm album, with a nearly identical script, but another different cast, was sold by Disneyland Records in conjunction with the re-release of the movie in 1963.
Because of the popularity of 7" and other formats, SP records became less popular and the production of SPs in Japan was suspended in 1963. In the 1950s and 1960s, EPs were compilations of singles or album samplers and were played at 45 rpm on seven-inch discs, with two songs on each side. Other than those published by RCA, EPs were uncommon in the United States and Canada, but they were sold in the United Kingdom, in some other European countries, during the 1950s and 1960s. Record Retailer printed the first EP chart in 1960; the New Musical Express, Melody Maker and Music Echo and the Record Mirror continued to list EPs on their respective singles charts. The Beatles' Twist and Shout outsold most singles for some weeks in 1963; when the BBC and Record Retailer commissioned the British Market Research Bureau to compile a chart it was restricted to singles and EPs disappeared from the listings. In the Philippines, seven-inch EPs marketed as "mini-LPs" were introduced in 1970, with tracks selected from an album and packaging resembling the album they were taken from.
This mini-LP format became popular in America in the early 1970s for promotional releases, for use in jukeboxes. Stevie Wonder included a bonus four-song EP with his double LP Songs in the Key of Life in 1976. During the 1970s and 1980s, there was less standardization and EPs were made on seven-inch, 10-inch or 12-inch discs running either 331⁄3 or 45 rpm; some novelty EPs used odd shapes and colors, a few of them were picture discs. Alice in Chains was the first band to have an EP reach number one on the Billboard album chart, its EP, Jar of Flies, was released on January 25, 1994. In 2004, Linkin Park and Jay-Z's collaboration EP, Collision Course, was the next to reach the number one spot after Alice in Chains. In 2010, the cast of the television series Glee became the first artist to have two EPs reach number one, with Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna on the week of May 8, 2010, Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals on the week of June 26, 2010. In 2010, Warner Bros. Records revived the format with their "Six-Pak" offering of six songs on a compact disc.
The first EPs were seven-inch vinyl records with more tracks than a normal single. Although they shared size and speed with singles, they were a recognizably different format than the seven-inch single. Alth
Marylebone is an area in the West End of London, part of the City of Westminster. Bounded by Oxford Street to the south, Marylebone Road to the north, Edgware Road to the west and Great Portland Street to the east, the area east of Great Portland Street up to Cleveland Street, known as Fitzrovia since the 1940s, was East Marylebone. Marylebone gets its name from a church dedicated to St Mary, represented now by St Marylebone Parish Church; this stream rose further north in what is now Swiss Cottage running along what is now Marylebone Lane, which preserves its curve within the grid pattern. The church and the surrounding area became known as St Mary at the Bourne, afterwards corrupted to Marybourne, Mary-la-bonne, now Marylebone; the received pronunciation is'MARRY-le-bn', however'MAR—le-bone’ is used. It is a common misunderstanding; the manor of Tyburn is mentioned in the Domesday Book as a possession of Barking Abbey valued at 52 shillings, with a population no greater than 50. Early in the 13th century it was held by 3rd Earl of Oxford.
At the end of the 15th century Thomas Hobson bought up the greater part of the manor. Tyburn manor remained with the Crown until the southern part was sold in 1611 by James I, who retained the deer park, to Edward Forest, who had held it as a fixed rental under Elizabeth I. Forest's manor of Marylebone passed by marriage to the Austen family; the deer park, Marylebone Park Fields, was let out in small holdings for dairy produce. In 1710, John Holles, Duke of Newcastle, purchased the manor for £17,500, his daughter and heir, Lady Henrietta Cavendish Holles, by her marriage to Edward Harley, Earl of Oxford, passed it into the family of the Earl of Oxford, one of whose titles was Lord Harley of Wigmore, she and the earl, realising the need for fashionable housing north of the Oxford Road, commissioned the surveyor and builder John Prince to draw a master plan that set Cavendish Square in a rational grid system of streets. The Harley heiress Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley married William, 2nd Duke of Portland, took the property, including Marylebone High Street, into the Bentinck family.
Such place names in the neighbourhood as Cavendish Square and Portland Place reflect the Dukes of Portland landholdings and Georgian-era developments there. In 1879 the fifth Duke died without issue and the estate passed through the female line to his sister, Lucy Joan Bentinck, widow of the 6th Baron Howard de Walden. A large part of the area directly to the west was constructed by the Portman family and is known as the Portman Estate. Both estates have aristocratic antecedents and are still run by members of the aforementioned families; the Howard de Walden Estate owns and manages the majority of the 92 acres of real estate in Marylebone which comprises the area from Marylebone High Street in the west to Robert Adam's Portland Place in the east and from Wigmore Street in the south to Marylebone Road in the north. In the 18th century the area was known for the raffish entertainments in Marylebone Gardens, the scene of bear-baiting and prize fights by members of both sexes, for the duelling grounds in Marylebone Fields.
The Crown repurchased the northern part of the estate in 1813. The Metropolitan Borough of St Marylebone was a metropolitan borough of the County of London between 1899 and 1965, after which, with the Metropolitan Borough of Paddington and the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster it was merged into the City of Westminster. Marylebone was the scene of the Balcombe Street siege in 1975, when Provisional Irish Republican Army terrorists held two people hostage for a week. Marylebone is characterised by major streets on a grid pattern such as Gloucester Place, Baker Street, Marylebone High Street, Wimpole Street, Harley Street and Portland Place, with smaller mews between the major streets. Mansfield Street is a short continuation of Chandos Street built by the Adam brothers in 1770, on a plot of ground, underwater. Most of its houses are fine buildings with exquisite interiors, which if put on the market now would have an expected price in excess of £10 million, it has attracted people who understand attractive buildings – at Number 13 lived religious architect John Loughborough Pearson who died in 1897, designer of Castle Drogo and Delhi Sir Edwin Lutyens, who died in 1944.
Across the road at 61 New Cavendish Street lived Natural History Museum creator Alfred Waterhouse. Queen Anne Street is an elegant cross-street which unites the northern end of Chandos Street with Welbeck Street; the painter JMW Turner moved to 47 Queen Anne Street in 1812 from 64 Harley Street, now divided into numbers 22 and 23, owned the house until his death in 1851. It was known as "Turner's Den", becoming damp, dusty, with dozens of Turner's works of art now in the National Gallery scattered throughout the house, walls covered in tack holes and a drawing room inhabited by cats with no tails. During the same period a few hundred yards to the east, Chandos House in Chandos Street was used as the Austro-Hungarian Embassy and residence of the fabulously extravagant Ambassador Prince Paul Anton III Esterhazy, seeing entertainment on a most lavish scale; the building is one of the finest surviving Adam houses in London, now lets rooms. Marylebone is home to the histor
Marshall & Snelgrove
Marshall & Snelgrove was a department store on the north side of Oxford Street, London, on the corner with Vere Street founded by James Marshall. The company is now part of Debenhams. In 1837 James Marshall, a Yorkshireman, opened a shop at 11 Vere Street in partnership with a Mr Wilson. Marshall had worked as a shop assistant for Burrell and Toby at 10 Vere Street; the partnership expanded to become Marshall and Stinton. In 1848 when Stinton retired, John Snelgrove, an assistant in the business, became a partner and the firm's name was changed to Marshall and Snelgrove. In 1847 James C Marshall, eldest son of James Marshall, joined the firm; the business expanded and new premises were taken on the corner of Vere Street and Oxford Street. The new building opened in 1851 and was called the Royal British Warehouse. In 1855 James C Marshall married Louisa Stinton, daughter of the partner who had retired. In 1871 James Marshall, the founder, retired with the firm being run by James C Marshall and John Snelgrove.
Snelgrove died in 1903. Branches were opened in the fashionable resorts of Scarborough and elsewhere; the First World War had great impact on department stores the luxury market. By 1916 a working relationship was established with Debenhams in order to preserve the businesses in the war economy. There was a full merger in May 1919 when Snelgrove had financial difficulties. James C Marshall was President of the Linen and Woollen Drapers' Institution for 40 years till his death in 1925 at the age of 95; the firm remained in family control with stores opening in Birmingham, Southport, Leeds, York and Bradford. The Oxford Street store was demolished and rebuilt between 1973–79, opened as the Debenhams flagship store. All other Marshall & Snelgrove stores were rebranded. Settle, Alison. A Family of Shops: Marshall & Snelgrove. Published
Cliveden is a National Trust-owned estate in Buckinghamshire, on the border with Berkshire. The Italianate mansion, known as Cliveden House, crowns an outlying ridge of the Chiltern Hills close to the hilltop village of Taplow, just 2 miles from the riverside town of Maidenhead; the mansion sits on banks 40 metres above the River Thames, its grounds slope down to the river. Cliveden has been home to an earl, three countesses, two dukes, a Prince of Wales and the Viscounts Astor. Over the past decade, Cliveden has become one of the National Trust's most popular pay-for-entry visitor attractions, hosting 487,679 visitors in 2017; as home of Nancy Astor, Cliveden was the meeting place of the Cliveden Set of the 1920s and 30s—a group of political intellectuals. During the early 1960s, it became the setting for key events of the notorious Profumo Affair. During the 1970s, it was occupied by Stanford University. Today the house is leased by the National Trust as a five-star hotel. Cliveden means "valley among cliffs" and refers to the dene which cuts through part of the estate, east of the house.
Cliveden has been spelled differently over the centuries, some of the variations being Cliffden, Clifden and Clyveden. The 375 acres gardens and woodlands are open to the public, together with parts of the house on certain days. There have been three houses on this site: the first, built in 1666, burned down in 1795 and the second house was destroyed by fire, in 1849; the present Grade I listed house was built in 1851 by the architect Charles Barry for The 2nd Duke of Sutherland. Designed by Charles Barry in 1851 to replace a house destroyed by fire, the present house is a blend of the English Palladian style and the Roman Cinquecento; the Victorian three-storey mansion sits on a 400-foot long, 20-foot high brick terrace or viewing platform which dates from the mid-17th century. The exterior of the house is rendered in Roman cement, with terracotta additions such as balusters, capitals and finials; the roof of the mansion is meant for walking on, there is a circular view, above the tree-line, of parts of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire including Windsor Castle to the south.
Below the balustraded roofline is a Latin inscription which continues around the four sides of the house and recalls its history. On the west front it reads: POSITA INGENIO OPERA CONSILIO CAROLI BARRY ARCHIT A MDCCCLI, which translated reads: "The work accomplished by the brilliant plan of architect Charles Barry in 1851." The main contractor for the work was Lucas Brothers. In 1984–86 the exterior of the mansion was overhauled and a new lead roof installed by the National Trust, while interior repairs were carried out by Cliveden Hotel. In 2013, restoration work on the main house was carried out including the restoration of 300 sash windows and 20 timber doors; the interior of the house today is different from its original appearance in 1851–52. This is due to the 1st Lord Astor, who radically altered the interior layout and decoration c.1894–95. Whereas Barry's original interior for the Sutherlands had included a square entrance-hall, a morning room and a separate stairwell, Lord Astor wanted a more impressive entrance to Cliveden so he had all three rooms knocked into one large one.
His aim was to make the interior as much like an Italian palazzo as possible, which would complement the exterior. The ceiling and walls were panelled in English oak, with Corinthian columns and swags of carved flowers for decoration, all by architect Frank Pearson; the staircase newel posts are ornamented with carved figures representing previous owners by W. S. Frith. Astor installed a large 16th-century fireplace, bought from a Burgundian chateau, being pulled down. To the left of the fireplace is a portrait of Nancy, Lady Astor by the American portraitist John Singer Sargent; the room was and still is furnished with 18th-century suits of armour. The floor was covered with Minton encaustic tiles but Nancy Astor had them removed in 1906 and the present flagstones laid. Above the staircase is a painted ceiling by French artist Auguste Hervieu which depicts the Sutherlands' children painted as the four seasons; this is the only surviving element of Barry's 1851–52 interior and it is believed that Lord Astor considered it too beautiful to remove.
The French Dining Room is so-called because the 18th-century Rococo panelling came from the Château d'Asnières near Paris, a château, leased to Louis XV and his mistress Madame de Pompadour as a hunting lodge. When the panelling came up for sale in Paris in 1897, the 1st Lord Astor recognised that it would fit this room at Cliveden; the gilded panelling on a turquoise ground contains carvings of hares, hunting dogs and rifles. The console tables and buffet were made in 1900 to match the room; the main dining room of the house until the 1980s, today it is a private dining room with views over the Parterre and Thames. The second largest room on the ground floor, after the Great Hall, was the original drawing room which today is used as the hotel's main dining room and has river views. On the ground floor is the library, panelled in cedar wood, which the Astors used to call the "cigar box", next door, Nancy Astor's boudoir. Upstairs there are a total of 10 bedroom suites divided over two floors.
The East wing was and still is guest accommodation, whereas the West wing was domestic offices that were converted into more bedrooms in 1994. The nearby 100-foot
Solihull is a large town in the West Midlands, England with a population of 123,187 in the 2011 Census. In Warwickshire, it is a part of the West Midlands conurbation, it is the largest town in, administrative centre of, the larger Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, which itself has a population of 209,890. Solihull is situated 7.5 miles southeast of Birmingham, 18 miles northwest of Warwick and 110 miles northwest of London. Solihull is the most affluent town of the West Midlands, one of the most affluent areas in the UK outside London. In November 2013, the uSwitch Quality of Life Index named Solihull the "best place to live" in the United Kingdom. Residents of Solihull and those born in the town are referred to as Silhillians; the motto of Solihull is Urbs in Rure. Solihull's name is thought to have derived from the position of its parish church, St Alphege, on a'soily' hill; the church was built on a hill of stiff red marl. The town is noted for its historic architecture, which includes surviving examples of timber framed Tudor style houses and shops.
The historic Solihull School dates from 1560. The red sandstone parish church of St. Alphege dates from a similar period and is a large and handsome example of English Gothic church architecture, with a traditional spire 168 feet high, making it visible from a great distance, it is a Grade I listed building. It was founded in about 1220 by Hugh de Oddingsell. A chantry chapel was founded there by Sir William de Oddingsell in 1277 and the upper chapel in St Alphege was built for a chantry. Unlike nearby Birmingham, the Industrial Revolution passed Solihull by and until the 20th century Solihull remained a small market town. World War II nearly passed Solihull by. Neighbouring Coventry and Birmingham were damaged by repeated German bombing raids but apart from some attacks on what is now the Land Rover plant, the airport and the local railway lines, Solihull escaped intact. In 1901, the population of the town was just 7,500; this growth was due to a number of factors including a large slum clearance programme in Birmingham, the development of the Rover car plant, the expansion of what was Elmdon Airport into Birmingham International Airport and most the release of large tracts of land for housing development attracting inward migration of new residents from across the UK.
Until the early 1960s, the main high street remained much as it would have been in the late 19th century with several streets of Victorian terraced houses linking High Street with Warwick Road. The construction of the central shopping area known as Mell Square involved the demolition of properties in Mill Lane and Drury Lane, some of which were several hundred years old, together with that of the large Victorian Congregational Church that had stood on the corner of Union Street and Warwick Road. On the right along High Street from St Alphege's Church porch is one of the town's oldest landmarks, The George, which dates from the 16th century, it is now called the Ramada Jarvis Hotel. On 23 November 1981, an F0/T1 tornado touched down in nearby Shirley; the tornado moved over Solihull town centre, causing some damage to the town centre before dissipating. Arden Golf Club, was founded in 1891; the course was still appearing on maps into the 1930s. Due to its growth, Solihull was promoted from an urban district to a municipal borough, the honour being bestowed by Princess Margaret.
In 1964, Solihull on this occasion the Queen bestowed the honour. In 1974, the Solihull county borough was merged with the rural district surrounding Meriden to form the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull; this includes the districts known as Shirley, Dorridge, Balsall Common, Castle Bromwich and Chelmsley Wood. The member of parliament for the Solihull constituency is Conservative Julian Knight, who won his seat in 2015. There are 17 wards in Solihull; each ward is represented by three councillors at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, making a total of 51 councillors. The mayor is elected by the Council and is Stuart Davis of the Conservative Party. Solihull has no university. However, Solihull College known as the Solihull College of Technology, incorporates a University Centre which offers several foundation degree and full degree courses in technical subject areas such as computer sciences and engineering; as yet it has not applied to attain university college status. There is a sixth form college located on the outskirts of the town centre.
This is known as Solihull. Solihull School is located on Warwick Road near the centre of the town, it was founded in 1560 and celebrated its 450th anniversary in 2010. Solihull had a'Wave 1' proposal of the Building Schools for the Future investment programme approved, they were awarded over £80 million to transform six schools in the north of the borough in December 2004. As a result of the funding, there will be six new schools constructed within seven years; the school curriculum will be redesigned as well as a further £6 million investment in managed ICT services. The six schools to be rebuilt are Park Hall, Smith's W