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Meriden is a village and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihullmarker, West Midlands, Englandmarker. It is located between Solihullmarker and the city of Coventrymarker, and is approximately 10 km (6 miles) from Birmingham International Airportmarker.

The city of Meriden, Connecticutmarker (near the center of that state) is named after the village.

History & Amenities

The surrounding countryside, known as the Meriden Gapmarker, forms a green belt between the two urban areas of Birminghammarker and Coventrymarker. The A45 bypass opened in 1958.

In the United Kingdom Census 2001 the population of the Meriden parish was 2,734.

It is possibly the site of an Iron Age field system.

The parish church is dedicated to St. Lawrence and was apparently founded by Lady Godiva. It has a Norman chancel with gargoyles on its roof and a golden weathercock.

Here the Heart of England Waymarker long distance path wends its way and brings the Staffordshire Heathlands together with the Cotswoldsmarker and Forest of Arden.

The 16th century Moat House
Meriden is also home to a memorial to all the cyclists who died in the First World War. An annual event, at which thousands of cyclists pay their respects to their fallen colleagues and commemorate these deaths, is held in the village. The memorial was unveiled on 21 May 1921, in the presence of over 20,000 cyclists.

Some moated farmsteads and several timber-framed buildings can be seen in the village.

Triumph Motorcycles

From 1941, Meriden used to be home to the large Triumph Motorcycles production plant, whose Priory Street factory in Coventrymarker was earlier destroyed by the Luftwaffe during World War II.

As documented in the book, Forty Summers Ago, the factory was visited by Steve McQueen , Bud Ekins and the rest of the 1964 USA International Six Day Trial team. Richard Gere, in a London Evening Standard interview promoting his film, Chicago, also claimed to have picked up his Triumph motorcycle from the factory, too, albeit in the mid-1970s whilst touring with the Grease stage production.

In 1973, Triumph workers blockaded the factory from the new owners, NVT, to prevent closure. The government loaned the subsequent Meriden Workers Co-Operative money to buy the factory and later to market the Triumph motorcycles they produced. Trading later as Triumph (Meriden) Ltd., the co-operative eventually closed in the early-1983, the factory being demolished the following year. The new Triumph company is now based in nearby Hinckleymarker, Leicestershiremarker.

A housing estate has been built on the site of the Triumph motorcycle factory at Meriden. Road names on the estate include Triumph motorcycle model names such as Bonneville Close and Daytona Drive. A plaque commemorating the site's former use stands outside Bonneville Close.

Traditional Centre of England

Plaque on the sandstone cross which marks the traditional centre of England
The village claims to be at the very centre of England, and a 500-year-old (some sources say 200-year-old) sandstone pillar-shaped monument to that effect stands in the village green. This medieval village cross is a grade II listed artifact. Recent analysis by the Ordnance Surveymarker has suggested that the true geographical centre of England is a farm situated some 18 kilometres to the northeast, in Leicestershiremarker, though most people still credit Meriden with the honour.

Trivia

Meriden is also known as a birthplace of Napalm Death, an English extreme metal/grindcore band.

References



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