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The Town of Redditch


Redditch, Worcestershire, is situated in the Heart of England, in the centre of a triangle formed by Birmingham, Stratford Upon Avon and Worcester, being about 15 miles from each.

Early history makes no mention of the town but in 1141 Cistercian monks came to the valley of the River Arrow to found Bordesley Abbey. Little more than a brook the river was rechanelled by the monks for their mill and became known as the “Red Ditch” possibly from the clay soil forming its banks.

A settlement grew up around the Abbey and by 1348 had acquired the name “La Rededitch”. The Abbey remained until 1539 when its dissolution was ordered by Henry VIII. Its ruins remain and regular excavations since 1969 have revealed its unique character.

In the later Middle Ages Needle Making became the prime industry and the Industrial Revolution saw the development of other wire and metal based trades with fish hooks, fishing tackle and spring manufacturing becoming major industries within the town. On a site adjoining the Abbey is the Forge Mill which houses the National Needle Museum, opened by The Queen on her visit to the town on the 5th July 1983.

Redditch grew as an industrial town through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By 1945 the population had grown to 26,000 and the area was considered a prime target for overspill from the West Midlands. This projection was realised in 1964 when Redditch was designated a “New Town”. The town then rapidly advanced to its present population bringing with it a wealth of new industries and jobs.

Redditch Development Corporation (1964-1985) promoted the town as the Hub of England, an apt title, for its situation in the centre of the Motorway system.

 

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