The famous, or infamous, Spaghetti Junction marks its 40th birthday. Loved or loathed by the millions of motorists that use it, its sprawling concrete arteries at junction six of the M6 connecting the A38(M) Aston Expressway into central Birmingham. Officially opened on 24 May 1972, the Gravelly Hill Interchange – its official name – took four years to build and cost between ?9m and ?10m. It was later dubbed Spaghetti Junction by newspaper reporter, Roy Smith, when he worked on the Birmingham Mail. ystifying some motorists, its numerous carriageways, supported by more than 500 concrete columns, follow the line of the local canal and river network on elevated sections.
I was a young teacher in my 1st teaching post at Nechells Junior School – sandwiched between the building site that became Spaghetti Junction and the Saltley Coke Works (famous for the 'Battle of Saltley Gate' during the Miners' Strike). My class assembled a 'Time Capsule' of memorabilia of the time that was sunk into the foundations of one of the pillars supporting Spaghetti Junction.