Midlands news over last 50 years

As BBC Midlands Today celebrates its 50th anniversary, we look back at some of the main stories it has covered.

The programme was broadcast to a much wider area before the launch in 1991 of East Midlands Today. We reflect on the main stories in 10-year segments, which start on the launch date of 28 September 1964.

1964 - 1974: Hixon rail crash

Image caption People from Hixon helped those injured

Eight passengers died when a train hit a lorry carrying an electrical transformer at a level crossing at a village, in 1968.

Three rail workers were also killed and 27 were seriously injured at Hixon near Stafford.

Hixon Parish Council chairman Brendan McKeown said: "While it was a terrible accident, it really enabled the people of Hixon to shine in the face of that tragedy, providing comfort to those injured, providing cups of tea and blankets, etc.

"There was another fatality in 2003 on the same level crossing and that (led) us to put up a road bridge over the level crossing. It cost £1.9m (and) we persuaded Network Rail to pay for it.

"People forget how dangerous that level crossing was."

Other headlines

Image caption Pupils from Kempsey Primary School performed I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday on Top of the Pops in 1981

1974 - 1984: Birmingham pub bombings

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Media captionTwenty-one people were killed and 182 injured when two bombs exploded in 1974

Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine was killed, has described the Birmingham pub bombings as England's "biggest unsolved murder of the 20th Century".

Twenty-one people were killed and 182 injured when two bombs exploded at the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town in November 1974. A third bomb outside a bank on the Hagley Road failed to explode.

Six people were jailed in 1975 but their convictions were quashed in 1991 following one of the worst miscarriages of justice seen in Britain.

In April this year police said there would be no new inquiry into the bombings after evidence was re-examined.

Other headlines

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nottingham Forest celebrated winning the European Cup in 1980
  • Multiple murderer Donald Neilson dubbed The Black Panther, who kidnapped and killed 17-year-old heiress Lesley Whittle in Shropshire in 1975, was jailed for life
  • Longbridge convenor Derek Robinson, dubbed Red Robbo by the media, was behind 523 disputes at the then government-owned British Leyland plant between 1978 and 1979
  • Nottingham Forest won the European Cup in 1979 and 1980 and Aston Villa won it in 1982

1984 - 1994: Kegworth air disaster

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Media captionAirport chairman David Wilcox said firefighters' training was "very valuable" while chief fire officer Barry Pearson said rescue teams "did a marvellous job"

Travelling at about 130mph on 8 January 1989 British Midland Flight 92 hit a field on the southbound side of the M1 before plunging through trees and smashing into the embankment on the opposite carriageway.

The Kegworth air disaster killed 47 people and left wreckage strewn across the motorway.

The plane came down yards from the village of Kegworth, just a few hundred feet short of the runway at East Midlands Airport, 45 minutes after taking off from Heathrow.

Survivor Chris Thompson, who was pulled unconscious from the mangled remains of the plane, said: "I can see the lines of lights down below from roads and this thing suddenly lurches and there's a big bang. And then there's another big bang.

"At that point it started lurching around all over the sky. That was horrendous and my skin just absolutely crawled because… we weren't on the ground, we weren't anywhere near the ground."

Other headlines

Image copyright PA
Image caption The miners' strike in 1984 included this rally by miners at the Nottinghamshire NUM Headquarters, Mansfield
  • The 1984-85 miners' strike - the breakaway Union of Democratic Mineworkers was formed by Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire miners, while in Warwickshire, its last pit, Daw Mill Colliery, ultimately closed after a fire in 2013
  • Two brothers were killed in a post office set on fire by rioters in the 1985 Handsworth riots
  • The Pindown inquiry was held over the way children were punished in children's homes in Staffordshire in the 1980s

1994 - 2004: The Rover crisis

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Media captionUp to 80,000 people joined the march

Just three months into the new millennium, BMW rocked the West Midlands when it announced it was selling Rover.

A rally of up to 80,000 protesters was held at Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham after tens of thousands of people followed a convoy of Rover cars through the city centre.

The Phoenix Consortium stepped in and the company was saved, as MG Rover was sold to the consortium for a tenner.

But in 2005, a century after car production began in the West Midlands, the famous name of Rover disappeared from the city's Longbridge site, resulting in about 6,000 job losses. MG Rover had gone into administration and the company was broken up, with parts and equipment shipped to China.

Other headlines

Image caption US president Bill Clinton sampled food and a pint when world leaders came to Birmingham in 1998
  • World leaders came to Birmingham for the G8 summit in 1998
  • The Eurovision Song Contest in Birmingham was won by Israeli transsexual Dana International in 1998
  • Birmingham's new Bullring shopping complex opened in 2003

2004 - 2014: Floods

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Media captionCars were stranded as flood water rose in Worcester

"In some parts there was over three months' worth of rainfall in one day".

Anthony Perry, from the Environment Agency, remembered the flooding devastation of 2007, when flooding "above door frame height" at his parents' home at Sedgeberrow, Worcestershire, "broke open doors (and) swept a TV out of the house".

The area flood risk manager in the West Midlands region said: "Within the village 110 properties flooded - (in) 80% of them I knew the people from growing up.

"The rainfall events have become more intense from 2004 ish to 2014 and the 2007 event highlights that as being the highest intensity of rainfall on record."

In July 2007 about 5,000 properties in Gloucestershire and about 4,500 in Worcestershire were flooded. This compares to just under 400 across the two counties during flooding in January and February this year, after the agency invested more than £30m in the two areas building new flood defences from 2007.

Other headlines

Image caption The Library of Birmingham houses about one million books
  • One of the biggest scandals in the history of the NHS took place at Stafford Hospital - inquiries have been held into the higher than expected deaths at the hospital between 2005 and 2008
  • The Royal Shakespeare Theatre underwent a transformation in 2010 as part of a £112.8m scheme
  • Three Birmingham men died during riots in 2011
  • The new £189m Library of Birmingham opened in 2013
  • The so-called Trojan Horse plot emerged in 2014 with allegations some hardline Muslims were trying to take control in some schools

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