Shirley is the one of the largest areas within the Solihull Borough and lies along the Stratford Road just 3 miles from Solihull town centre and just off Junction 4 of the M42, which links Birmingham and Stratford. It also borders the counties of Worcestershire and Warwickshire.
The earliest habitation in Shirley is thought to be at Berry Mound in Solihull Lodge, which was the site of an Iron Age Hill Fort dating back to the first century BC and which covered approximately 12 acres.
Since the 19th century Shirley has truly developed from predominantly a farming area to a prominent residential suburb of Solihull. The name Shirley was "First recorded circa 1240 as Syrley… the name means 'bright clearing'".
During the 18th century Shirley Street became increasingly busy when the Stratford Road became a turnpike road. Unfortunately, this ease of travel along the Stratford Road and its relative remote locality meant that Shirley became a popular location for people to travel in from Birmingham to participate in prohibited activities such as bull-baiting and prize fighting.
The population of Shirley grew rapidly between the late 19th century and early 20th century, as people moved out of Birmingham into the area. Another major development for Shirley was the advent of the railway in 1908. In March 1954, when Solihull became a municipal borough, H.R.H. Princess Margaret presented the borough's charter and the ceremony was held at Shirley's Odeon Cinema.
Today, Shirley High Street offers a unique blend of specialist shops mixed with some well known names and a variety of restaurants, supermarkets and public houses. In all there are around 250 shops and free parking in the second largest shopping venue in the Solihull area.