This film is part of Free

Ringway: The Birmingham Inner Ring Road Stage 1

A city street of novel character' or nearly four miles of dual carriageway that cuts through large swathes of old Birmingham: Herbert Manzoni's plan for the city's future.

Documentary 1963 22 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Media Archive for Central England


This film, produced by the Public Works Department of the city council, takes the viewer from the early planning of Birmingham's ring road to the completion of its first stage. In 1957 construction work was preceded by a ceremony during which local dignitaries were showered with rubble. Six years later the Queen ventures into the city's gloomy pedestrian underpasses (they'd never be this clean again). During these years Birmingham became a slave to the motor car.

Nicknamed the 'Concrete Collar' the inner ring road was finally completed and opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 7 April 1971. The separation of pedestrians from traffic via underpasses soon became unpopular and successive city planners have sought to break up the pattern giving pedestrians more access to ground level crossings.