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World War One History Bus

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Birmingham has a fascinating story to tell with its involvement in the First World War

1917 was the fourth year of World War 1. This year saw the adoption by the German high command of the disastrous policy of unrestricted submarine warfare – disastrous in that it brought about America’s entry into the war within the space of a couple of months, and ultimately led to her downfall the following year. Meanwhile the British launched a major offensive at Passchendaele in autumn 1917: as at the Somme the previous year it proved a highly costly failure.  1917 also saw Russia’s exit from the war amid two revolutions, the first in February and a second in October.

Starting at the iconic Town Hall you will hear about Neville Chamberlain’s rousing inspirational speech and the massive recruiting parade in Victoria Square. On the route we will visit sites to learn about Zeppelins and Armaments; the Quakers and conscientious objectors; War hospitals taking over the University of Birmingham and Highbury Hall; the Hall of Memory built to commemorate the 12,320 Birmingham citizens who died and the 35,000 who were wounded during the War; the massive involvement of the Jewellery Quarter and Cadbury’s; the women’s stories including the 15,000 migrant women working in the factories and the plight of the Belgian Refugees.  Come and join us and discover Birmingham’s contribution to the War.

Booking information

Date: We are very sorry but due to lack of interest the tour has been cancelled.

Time: 6.00pm

Meeting point:  end of Colmore Row/Waterloo Street, Victoria Square, next to the Council House.

Length of tour: The tour lasts approximately one and a half hours finishing back at Victoria Square.

Cost: £12.00 per person – tickets must be booked in advance through Birmingham Tours on 0121 427 2555/078051 15998 or email

We reserve the right to cancel the tour if minimum numbers are not reached.


If you would like to download the World War 1 leaflet which accompanies the bus tour please click here. My thanks go to Heritage Lottery Funding, Chris Rice, Hazel Cartledge and Dave Walsh for the production of this leaflet.

Please check out the following website which is promoting the tour.

The Birmingham World War 1 History Bus has been funded by Heritage Lottery Funding. Heritage Lottery Fund

On behalf of all who attended the World War I Tour yesterday, I wanted to say a big thank you again to Hazel, who provided a great commentary throughout the tour.  Her research provided us with a good balance of interesting items, fact and personal stories.  Mick is a real character with a great sense of humour who very kindly made sure we were driven around safely and he managed not to lose any of us! Without fail I’ve had positive feedback again this year on how much everyone enjoyed the tour – several commenting on how much  Birmingham had changed and how much it had to offer and that the open top bus tour is a great way of seeing the City’s many and varied points of interest. My thanks again to you and your staff – kind regards Joan Popovic, Area Secretary, RSA Pensioners’ Association

Events 2014

August 2014 – the Royal Sun Alliance Pensioner’s Association took a World War 1 History tour on the bus and then enjoyed a fish and chip lunch at Chamberlain’s restaurant on the Hagley Road – an excellent day out

November 2014 – Deanery Primary School had a very special World War 1 History bus tour on the Big Brum Open Top Bus.

Hi Sue – yes thank you, the trip was great.  The children enjoyed it, and the weather wasn’t too chilly either!  We have been continuing our topic in the classroom, and the children have been referring to the facts that they have learnt which is brilliant.  Thank you again – regards, Emma – Deanery Primary School.

August 2015 – Selly Park Technology College as part of their summer school project had a fabulous WW1 bus tour with Hazel as the guide

Events 2016

The fixed date World War 1 History bus tour on the 24th of July was a great success – a good turn out and an excellent tour conducted by Hazel. In August, Hazel also ran a World War 1 bus tour for Selly Park School. This event has proved very popular and it is the second year we have provided this tour for the school.


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