Let’s go down municipal memory lane to say ‘happy 30th anniversary’ to the ICC

Westside business leader Mike Olley has taken a trip down municipal memory lane in a special video celebration of the International Convention Centre’s 30th anniversary.

Back in 1991, it was Councillor Michael Bernard Olley, the newly elected member representing the Kingsbury ward on Birmingham City Council.

Before he knew it, the young politician was serving on the National Exhibition Centre/International Convention Centre Committee.

And as part of this, Cllr Olley was at what became known as the ICC and met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II when she opened it on 12 June 1991, an event described in detail on a plaque still on a wall in the building.

Still carrying the honorary title of Alderman after his council service, the man who is more usually known as Mr Olley said: “When I walked through the ICC today, I was amazed that it was still spotless and shining, three decades after its opening.

“Back in the 1980s when the ICC was first being planned, it was a major undertaking for Birmingham as the city and its region was suffering from a low and painful industrial decline.

“When it opened it was perceived as a dramatic new building, and so symbolic as the city quickly became one of the premier convention centres of the world.

“So many people I’ve met since 1991 have told me how impressed they are with the ICC, including the late Emir of Kuwait who expressed his opinion that it was a ‘wonderful building’.”

Mr Olley added: “I think it’s important to not only say ‘happy anniversary’ to the ICC, but also to pay tribute to those hard-working council leaders who planned the building, well before I ever arrived on the scene. Well done to all involved.”

By Steve Dyson

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