The Solihull Branch of the Royal British Legion was formed in 1926, its first President being Brigadier General Sir Walter Ludlow. It met in a wooden hut [shown below] opposite what is now The House of Fraser [was Beaties]. In common with all the other growing number of Branches throughout the Country it soon discovered that by being a registered charity, it was not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages. However if a Club was formed that would be acceptable; and so in due course the Club was formed. Initially the Club was in the same wooden hut [shown below] but eventually moved in 1968 to the purpose built Club House at the top of Union Road. [shown below in Colour]
The ground, including the Bowling Green and parking facilities was a very generous gift of Mrs A Grenville and was opened by the Mayor in the same year.
In the early years women were only allowed in with male Legion Members, but the Branch actively pursued the Membership of women to The Royal British Legion and early in 1953 actually proposed the setting up of a Women’s Section. The interior of the OLD club house was furnished in typical 1930s style with lots of Lloyd-Loom and straight back chairs, plus a real fireplace and sparse carpeting unlike the interior of todays purpose built facility.
Today there are approximately 550 members who enjoy the social and sports facilities of the Club but are mindful of the help and support needs of ex service people, and their relatives from all the previous and existing conflicts the UK has been and is involved in.
The Branch’s busiest time of the year is of course the lead up to Remembrance time in November; when the Poppy Appeal takes place. Also after the ceremony at the St Alphege War Memorial when the generosity of the Solihull residents in contributing to the Poppy Appeal has to be recorded and submitted to Legion Head Office.
There have been many Books and articles written about The Royal British Legion over its ninety years history but the information above is naturally restricted to the early days of the Solihull Branch. Within the Branch Library there is a copy of”Keeping Faith” The History of The Royal British Legion by Brian Harding ISBN 085052826-7 which provides an in depth review.