West Midland Anniversaries to Celebrate

Join us in celebrating the remarkable anniversaries of businesses and events that have left an indelible mark on Birmingham and the West Midlands, making it the vibrant, cultural hotspot that it is today.

In 2024, we have a host of notable milestones to raise our glasses to, such as the 150-year legacy of Birmingham Hippodrome, Cadbury's 200 years since opening its first shop on Bull Street, and a decade of beloved regional events like MADE Festival, Birmingham Cocktail Weekend, and Coventry Motofest.

Let's unite in raising a cheer to honour not just the achievements but also the enduring legacies that shape our region. These milestones are more than just markers in time; they are the threads that weave the rich history of our cultural offer.

Here’s to the past, present, and the boundless possibilities of the West Midlands’ future!

  • 10th anniversary of Coventry Motofest (1-2 June). More than 200,000 people are expected to attend the free festival of vintage and super cars in Coventry this summer.
  • The 10th Birmingham Cocktail Weekend (11-14 July). Participants can gain exclusive access to delicious £5 cocktails across all venues taking part, a series of special events, fantastic food offers and a whole bunch of birthday treats. And, in 2024, there’ll be a winter edition too (24-27 October)!
  • 10th anniversary of MADE Festival (2-4 August), which promises to be another spectacular event of music, collaborating with many of Birmingham’s finest club brands, DJs, street artists and food traders.
  • 10th anniversary of The Coffin Works heritage attraction, which is located on the edge of the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. The venue tells the story of the Newman Brothers, who operated the city’s last coffin-furniture manufactory for over 100 years, including the fittings for the funerals of Winston Churchill, Joseph Chamberlain and the Queen Mother.
  • 20th anniversary of Michelin-starred Simpsons Restaurant moving to Birmingham. The West Midlands has 11 Michelin Stars, more than anywhere in the UK outside London.
  • 20th anniversary of the opening of the National Trust’s Birmingham Back to Backs visitor attraction, which gives an atmospheric glimpse into the story of the lives of ordinary people who helped to make Birmingham an extraordinary city.
  • 40th anniversary of the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull, which is recognised as the finest and largest British motorcycle museum in the world. Attracting around 250,000 visitors a year, the venue boasts 1,000+ machines, fully restored to the manufacturers’ original specifications.
  • 40th year of the Birmingham Jazz & Blues Festival (19-28 July), which is England’s longest-established jazz and blues festival and one of Europe’s biggest free jazz parties. The festival features 200 performances, alongside workshops, talks, exhibitions and masterclasses taking place in shopping centres, streets, squares, bars, restaurants, clubs, hotels, art galleries, markets, libraries, parks, railway stations, canal boats and sometimes even on buses and trains!
  • 40th anniversary of the official opening of Birmingham Airport by Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. In 2019/20, the Airport served more than 12 million customers, with half of the UK’s population living within its two-hour catchment. Sitting in the centre of the country’s road and rail network means that it is one of the UK’s most accessible airports.
  • 40th anniversary of Woodgate Valley being designated as a country park. Friends of the park – which is located to the west of Birmingham – will celebrate the anniversary with a special event on 21 September at its visitor centre.
  • 50th anniversary of West Midlands Police. A range of events and activities celebrating the force’s heritage will take place throughout the year at the new West Midlands Police Museum.
  • 50th anniversary of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, which was founded on 1 April 1974.
  • 60th anniversary of Ikon Gallery, which was established as an artists-led alternative space in the Bullring in 1964. The Brindleyplace venue – which remains free to all – has an exhibition programme in 2024 including Artemisia Gentileschi’s Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, as part of the National Gallery’s Bicentenary celebration.
  • 60th anniversary of the then-fastest-ever non-stop journey by steam locomotive Clun Castle from Plymouth to Bristol. The train has been preserved at Tyseley where it is now operated by Vintage Trains. A 60th anniversary tour will start at Birmingham Snow Hill in May.
  • 60th anniversary of Solihull obtaining county borough status – the new county borough covered 13,645 acres. It became the first authority since Doncaster in 1927 to achieve the status.
  • 70th anniversary of the publication of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien, whose time as a child in Birmingham inspired his legendary Lord of the Rings novels.
  • 70th anniversary of “Charter Day” in Solihull, when Princess Margaret presented the urban district of Solihull with a Royal Charter of Incorporation as a Borough in March 1954, which saw huge celebrations in the area. The Borough of Solihull officially came into existence at 12 noon on 24 May 1954 and Alderman Robert Douglas Cooper was elected as Solihull’s first Mayor.
  • 75th anniversary of Birmingham’s famous number 50 bus route. Established in 1949 to cover the south side of the city of Birmingham with 36 stops to Druids Heath, the 50 still runs under National Express ownership and is one of the busiest bus routes in Europe.
  • 80th anniversary of the official opening of Brueton Park in Solihull. Together with Malvern Park, they are a 130-acre oasis of calm with Green Flag Park status. The Brueton Tree Trail is popular, and home to a number of unique trees such as English Oak, Giant Redwood, Maidenhair and Indian Bean Tree.
  • 110th anniversary of Joseph Chamberlain’s death. Chamberlain refused the offer of being buried in Westminster Abbey, choosing to be among his own people in Key Hill – a grade II listed cemetery in the Jewellery Quarter. His story is part of Key Hill & Warstone Lane Sunday cemetery tours – Stories from the Stones.
  • 120th anniversary of Midland Red – one of the largest English bus companies. Transport Museum Wythall will celebrate the anniversary with its acclaimed collections of Midland Red vehicles on Sunday 6 October 2024.
  • 125th anniversary of Birmingham Hippodrome, with big shows at the theatre in 2024 including Wicked (5 March – 7 April), Come From Away (21 May – 1 June), Hamilton (25 June – 31 August) and Aladdin (9 October – 3 November).
  • 150th anniversary of Aston Villa Football Club being founded. The club’s director also created the very first Football League. In 1982, Aston Villa became one of only six English clubs to win the European Cup. The club has also won seven First Division titles, seven FA Cups and five League Cups. Its Villa Park home has hosted World Cup and European Championship football, staged more FA Cup semi-finals than any other venue and England have played there 11 times over the course of three different centuries.
  • 150th anniversary of Roundhouse Birmingham, a heritage enterprise and independent charity, which looks after the Grade II* listed building in central Birmingham. Roundhouse Birmingham – a landmark partnership between Canal & River Trust and the National Trust – offers visitors a chance to See The City Differently through a range of volunteer-powered guided city and canal tours.
  • 150th anniversary of Walsall Arboretum, which officially opened on 4 May 1874. The Arboretum – which spans 170 acres and attracts more than one million visitors each year – will host celebrations including an event over the May bank holiday weekend, and exhibitions showcasing both the history of the Arboretum as well as its fauna and flora.
  • 200th anniversary of Cadbury opening its first shop on Bull Street. In 1824, John Cadbury sold cocoa and drinking chocolate from Birmingham city centre, which became very popular. The brand has gone from a Birmingham-based chocolate shop to an international favourite. Cadbury World in Bournville offers visitors the chance to learn how their favourite confectionary is made and discover the origins of the cocoa bean.