Things to do in Meriden, West Midlands
The village of Meriden is situated between Coventry and Solihull in the West Midlands. It claims to be at the centre of England and there is a 500-year old pillar on the village green which marks the point.
With modern technology the Ordnance Survey has since found the exact centre of England to be about 11 miles further north, on Lindley Hall Farm in Fenny Drayton.
The surrounding countryside which separates Coventry from the metropolis of Birmingham is known as the Meriden Gap.
There is some evidence that Meriden was settled in prehistoric times and it was possibly the site of an Iron Age field system.
The 12th century Parish Church is dedicated to St Lawrence, a martyr in 3rd century Rome. It has a Norman chancel with a small square tower topped with a golden weathercock. It was thought to have been founded by benefactor Lady Godiva.
There are many historic moated farmhouses and timber-framed houses in the area such as the 16th century Moat House in Meriden village.
Meriden was once the home of Triumph motorbikes with a factory in what is now called Bonneville Close. A plaque commemorates the site.
In 1941, after the Triumph factory in Coventry had been destroyed in a bombing raid, it reopened in Meriden. Steve McQueen and other team members of the International Six Day Trial came to Meriden in 1964 to collect their specially prepared Triumph motorcycles.
Actor, Richard Gere, also remembers picking up his new Triumph motorbike in the mid 1970s.
In 1973 the factory was threatened with closure and the workers blockaded the site. They eventually got a Government loan to run the factory as the Meriden Workers Co-operative. It ran until 1983 and then closed after this the factory was demolished.
There is a new Triumph company now based in Hinckley.
Present Day Meriden
Present day Meriden, with its 2,700 population, is conveniently close to the Birmingham International Airport and five miles from the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC).
The pretty village centre overlooks the green and has a few local shops and small businesses.
The area is popular with cyclists and there is a memorial in the village to all cyclists who died during World War I. An annual service of remembrance for them is held each year in the village. The memorial obelisk was first unveiled in May 1921 and the event was attended by over 20,000 cyclists.
The death metal punk band Napalm Death was founded by two teenagers in Meriden in 1981. They released 14 albums and became one of the top selling death metal bands in the U.S.
Things to Do Around Meriden
Meriden is a great place for walkers. It is on the Heart of England Way, a 100-mile long distance footpath.
The Cotswolds are nearby with charming villages, scenic drives, footpaths and cycle routes around the delightful area.