12 Birmingham photos from 1972 with Spaghetti Junction opening and more

Spaghetti Junction has been open for half a century - here’s a look at a few other key events in Birmingham at the time

Monday, 23rd May 2022, 5:23 pm

Looking back at the opening of Spaghetti Junction in 1972 transports us back in time to a whole different Birmingham.

There was no Selfridges, or Mailbox, in the city centre and the only electric cars on the roads were milk floats dropping off a daily supply of pints on doorsteps.

There was a lot of excitement surrounding the opening of Spaghetti Junction, with the then Secretary of State for the Environment, Peter Walker, declaring it to be the “most exciting day in the history of the road system in this country”.

Ahead of opening English magician Tony Shelley tested it out, wearing a hood! It was officially named Gravelly Hill Interchange, but has been known as Spaghetti Junction ever since.

The year of 1972 also saw a Brazillian footballer Pele visit Birmingham as his team played a friendly against Aston Villa.

Birmingham City were promoted to Division One and Northern Irish snooker champ Alex Higgins played here.

But it was also the year that saw a lot of industrial unrest with the miners striking, including the Battle of Saltley Gate in which Arthur Scargill rose to prominence.

Here’s our trip back to 1972.

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