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Redditch is a town, and local government district in north-east Worcestershire, England, approximately 15 miles (24 km) south of Birmingham. The district has a population of 85,000 as of 2019. In the 19th century it became the international centre for the needle and fishing tackle industry. At one point 90% of the world's needles were manufactured in the town and its neighbourhoods. In the 1960s it became a model for modern new town planning.
Church Green and St. Stephen's Church
The borough of Redditch shown within Worcestershire
|New Town status||10 April 1964|
|Borough status||15 May 1980|
|• Type||Non-metropolitan district council|
|• Body||Redditch Borough Council|
|• Council leader||Matthew Dormer (Conservative)|
|• Mayor||Michael Chalk (Conservative)|
|• MP||Rachel Maclean (Conservative)|
|• District||20.95 sq mi (54.25 km2)|
|Elevation||430 ft (130 m)|
|• Density||4,060/sq mi (1,567/km2)|
|• Ethnicity||92% White British 8% Other|
|• Summer (DST)||GMT|
B96, B97, B98
|ONS code||47UD (ONS)|
|European Parliament constituency||West Midlands|
The first recorded mention of Redditch (Red-Ditch, thought to be a reference to the red clay of the nearby River Arrow) is in 1348, the year of the outbreak of the Black Death. During the Middle Ages it became a centre of needle-making and later prominent industries were fish-hooks, fishing tackle, motorcycles and springs, the last of which was notably undertaken by Herbert Terry and Sons. Redditch was designated a new town on 10 April 1964, and the population increased dramatically[when?] from 32,000 to around 77,000. Housing developments such as Church Hill, Matchborough, Winyates, Lodge Park and Woodrow were created to accommodate a large overspill from the industrially expanding Birmingham. Redditch was built as a "flagship" town using new methods and new town planning: all the main roads (mostly new dual carriageways as well as a ring road for the town centre) were banked to reduce noise to the new housing estates, and the whole of Redditch was landscaped.
By the 21st century needle-making and other traditional industries had been replaced by modern light industry and services, with Redditch also functioning as a dormitory town for Birmingham. The automotive retailer Halfords and engineering giant GKN both have their headquarters in Redditch. Manufacturer of precious metal contacts Samuel Taylor Ltd has manufacturing plants within the town. Following the redevelopment of the flagship Kingfisher Shopping Centre in 2002 Redditch is undergoing an economic and cultural renaissance.
The town is home to several historical sites. The National Needle Museum and the ruins of Bordesley Abbey are located in the Abbey Ward district, and the remains of a medieval moated settlement called Moons Moat are within the Church Hill estate.
Redditch has a Borough Council with councillors elected from the Wards of Redditch, which manages lower-tier local government services. Worcestershire County Council manages upper-tier services.
Redditch is in Worcestershire, just south of the West Midlands urban area. It is 15 miles (24 km) north of Evesham on the A435, which skirts it to the east. The main access routes are the A441 via junction 2 of the M42 Motorway, the A435 from junction 3 of the M42 and the A448 via junctions 4 or 5 of the M5. The Roman Road known as Icknield Street is prominent, running north to south through the eastern side of the town.
|Climate data for Redditch|
|Average high °C (°F)||7
|Average low °C (°F)||2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||71.4
|Average precipitation days||12||9||11||10||9||9||8||9||9||11||11||11||119|
Districts of Redditch
The Borough of Redditch is divided into several districts. To the east of the town are "New Town Districts" built in the 1970s and 1980s. To the west of the Borough are older "Former Village Districts" that dominate the south and west.
Since 2011, Redditch has participated in the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership along with neighbouring authorities Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Solihull, Tamworth and Wyre Forest.
Redditch is within a green belt region that extends into the wider surrounding counties, and is in place to reduce urban sprawl, prevent the towns in the nearby West Midlands conurbations centred around Birmingham and Coventry, discouraging further convergence, protect the identity of outlying communities, encourage brownfield reuse, and preserve nearby countryside. This is achieved by restricting inappropriate development within the designated areas, and imposing stricter conditions on permitted building.
The main urban area up to the Webheath, Walkwood, and Hunt End suburbs, Astwood Bank and the southernmost extent of the borough are exempt from the green belt area, bar small adjacent green belt 'wedges', but surrounding smaller villages, hamlets and rural areas such as Feckenham, Littleworth, Old Yarr and Ham Green up to the B4090 Salt Way road are 'washed over' by the designation. The green belt was first drawn up under Worcestershire County Council, and the size in the borough in 2017 amounted to some 1,800 hectares (18 km2; 6.9 sq mi).
The M42 motorway is a short drive away and it is linked by dual carriageways and A-class roads to surrounding towns such as Bromsgrove and Evesham. There are regular bus services to Studley, Bromsgrove, Catshill and Birmingham.
The Cross-City Line provides a regular train service via Birmingham New Street to Lichfield Trent Valley. Redditch railway station, the southern terminus of the line, was first opened as the terminus of the Redditch Railway on 19 September 1859, alongside what is now Clive Road. This first station stayed until 4 May 1868 when the last section from Alcester to Redditch of the Redditch and Evesham Railway was closed, at which point a second station was built alongside the junction of Bromsgrove Road and Plymouth Road. This station was provided with a standard Midland Railway design and two platforms. The current station, built in 1993, offers little more than a ticket office and a store.
There is an extensive network of local bus services run by Diamond West Midlands and other operators (including Stagecoach, Johnsons Excel Bus and a community run bus). Many services run from the bus station in the town centre, a postcard of which was voted Britain's most boring postcard in a competition run by the photographer Martin Parr. The bus station was rebuilt as part of the 2002 shopping centre expansion.
Some areas of Redditch have dedicated bus routes; however, there have been issues with safety on these routes and 3 children have died over the past 15 years.
Redditch is occasionally noted for its confusing road system dominated by a system of dual carriageways built when it became a New Town, including the only cloverleaf interchange in England at the junction of the A441 and the Bromsgrove-bound A448. The system is designed to allow rapid flow of large volumes of traffic around the various districts and into the town centre, whilst keeping fast moving vehicles separated from residential streets. Redditch was briefly famous (via The Graham Norton Show) for a tongue-in-cheek calendar featuring its "picturesque" roundabouts created by a local printing company. The calendar was called, unsurprisingly, 'Roundabouts of Redditch' and it proved so successful that it sparked a national series. This self-similar pattern is found on a smaller scale in many of the modern estates in the town, which follow a Radburn style of planned community.
Redditch is one of the few areas of the country where the three-tier system of first, middle and high schools still exists. Students attend first school from the age of 4, middle school from the age of 9, and secondary school at the age of 13. Other areas of Worcestershire adopted this system at the same time as Redditch (in the 1970s), but many have reverted to the traditional 5–7 infant, 7–11 junior and 11-16/18 secondary schools.
Heart of Worcestershire College (often referred to locally as "HOW College") is a large general further education college: one of its four campuses is in central Redditch; the other three are in Bromsgrove, Worcester and Malvern.
Since June 2013 the swimming pool at Abbey Stadium leisure centre has been heated using waste heat diverted from Redditch Crematorium. Redditch Borough Council expects the scheme to reduce the leisure centre's gas bill by more than 40%, equivalent to an annual saving of about £15,000.
In popular culture
Malcolm Bradbury's novel The History Man, which was dramatised by the BBC in 1981, contained a reference to Redditch when Flora Beniform, a sociologist, mentioned to the hero Howard Kirk that she was studying an outbreak of troilism in Redditch. It is also sometimes reported as being mentioned in the John Cooper Clarke song, 'Burnley', however Reddish (a district in Greater Manchester) is the more likely interpretation.
Rik Mayall's Kevin Turvey — The Man Behind The Green Door was set and filmed in Redditch.
Places of interest
- Bordesley Abbey: remains of a former Cistercian abbey, later used as a Royal Swannery.
- Forge Mill Needle Museum: exhibition of traditional needle making.
Kingfisher Shopping Centre
The centre has over 1,100,000 square feet (100,000 m2) of retail space, with stores like Debenhams, Primark, Next plc, Boots UK, H&M, The Perfume Shop and Warren James Jewellers. It is one of the largest covered shopping centres in the United Kingdom. In 2007, a cinema opened on the new upper floor and is now owned by Vue Cinemas.
Arrow Valley Country Park
Redditch has 900 acres (3.6 km2) of public open space in Arrow Valley Country Park. This incorporates the 30-acre (120,000 m2) Arrow Valley Lake, fed by the River Arrow. The park incorporates a Local Nature Reserve, Proctor's Barn Meadow. The Arrow Valley Countryside centre, opened in 2000 in the Country Park, has a lakeside café, gift shop and an interactive exhibition. The lake is also used for water sports. There are four waymarked trails for walking and cycling around the lake and through the Country Park. There is a skate park in the south of the park with walks along the river Arrow through the Country Park to the Forge Mill Museum in the north. There are interactive events and family activities at the Countryside Centre and a comprehensive children's play area.
Royal Enfield motorcycles
Redditch was the home of the Royal Enfield motorcycle. This is where the main factory of the original company was located and the business continued manufacturing until the 1960s, the last model being the Interceptor. The Redditch factory was closed in 1967 and production was moved to the Bradford on Avon factory, which closed in 1970, ending English Enfield manufacturing. In the mid 1950s, the company established a partner, Madras Motors, in Madras, India, who manufactured the Bullet 350 model. The Indian factory is still very successful, with new Indian models and has taken Royal Enfield into its third century of manufacturing. Some of the original factory buildings in Redditch still remain, most are in a derelict state and can be seen from Hewell Road. Some buildings have been taken over and now make the old part of Enfield Industrial Estate close to the town centre on Hewell Road.
- John Bonham (1948–1980), musician with Led Zeppelin, was born in Redditch and attended Bridley Moor High School.
- Lionel Britton (1887–1971), novelist and writer of science fiction plays was born at Astwood Bank now a suburb of Redditch.
- Russell Brookes (born 1945), British rally champion
- Nigel Clark from band Dodgy grew up in Redditch and went to The Leys High school, now Tudor Grange Academy Redditch
- Charlie Clemmow, soap actress who is best known for her role as Imogen Hollins in the BBC soap, Doctors. She grew up in Astwood Bank.
- Stacy Coldicott (born 1974), footballer, West Bromwich Albion and Grimsby Town F.C. was born in Redditch.
- Charles Dance (born 1946), actor, born in Redditch
- Jimmy Davis (1982–2003), footballer, Manchester United, Swindon Town and Watford F.C.. Born in Bromsgrove, his funeral took place at Redditch Crematorium.
- Jonathan Dow, actor was born in Redditch.
- Ruth England (born 1970), TV presenter, educated in Redditch
- Luke Johnson, musician, Lostprophets was born in Redditch.
- Antony Johnston, author, was raised in Redditch.
- Zoë Lister, actor Hollyoaks trained at the Starlight School of Dance in Winyates, Redditch.
- Joe Lolley, footballer, Nottingham Forest, ex-Huddersfield Town and Kidderminster Harriers was born in Redditch.
- Tony Martin (born 1957), singer, Black Sabbath frontman 1987–1991, 1994–1997
- Tom Paddock (1822–1863) was born in Redditch, and known as the "Redditch Needlepointer", champion heavyweight bare-knuckle boxer of England in 1856
- Freddie Starr (1943-2019) lived in Mappleborough Green, just outside Redditch.
- Harry Styles (born 1994) born in Redditch. Raised in Holmes Chapel. Member of boy band One Direction.
- Jacqui Smith, former MP for Redditch and first female British Home Secretary
- Alan Styler, (1925–1970) D'Oyly Carte Opera Company baritone, 1947–1968 was born and raised in Redditch.
- John Taylor (born 1960), musician, Duran Duran, went to Abbey High School in Redditch
- Raymond Thompson, scriptwriter and TV producer, born in Redditch. Creator of hit New Zealand teen/sci-fi television series The Tribe
- Archer Windsor-Clive (1890–1914), cricketer
In 1956 Redditch was twinned with Auxerre in Burgundy, France. This twinning proved sufficiently popular to form an organisation named The Friends of Auxerre (FoA). At the beginning of June each year the coupling of these two towns is officially celebrated.
Redditch also has formal "Friendship" links with:
Redditch sport teams include:
- Redditch United F.C. playing Football in the Southern League Premier Division Central
- Redditch Borough F.C. playing Football in the Midland League Division Two
- NEW Ravens playing Rugby league in the Midlands Rugby League Premier Division
- Redditch RFC playing Rugby Union in the Midlands 4 West (South)
- Redditch CC playing Cricket in the Worcestershire County Cricket League
- Redditch Arrows American football Team
- Longmeadow Redditch Badminton Club playing Badminton with 8 teams in the Worcestershire and Solihull Leagues.
- Redditch Roller Sports Club Roller Derby and Recretational Roller Skating Instruction
- Bromsgrove and Redditch Athletic Club
- Redditch Rockets Skater Hockey Club
- Redditch Swimming Club
- The Redditch Road and Path Cycling Club
- "Borough Crest". Redditch Borough Council.
- "Councillor Matt Dormer". Redditch Borough Council. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
- "Committee details". Redditch Borough Council. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
- "Standard Area Measurements (2016) for Administrative Areas in the United Kingdom". Office for National Statistics. 1 February 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
- "Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Mid-2019". Office for National Statistics. 6 May 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- Worcestershire Demographic Report – Census 2011 (PDF), Worcestershire County Council, 2013, p. 10, retrieved 6 March 2017
- "Forge Mill Needle Museum and Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre, Redditch". Forge Mill Needle Museum. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- "No. 43296". The London Gazette. 14 April 1964. p. 3202.
- "Redditch, UK - Weather Averages". NOAA. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
- "A Study of Green Belt Land & Areas of Development Restraint within Redditch Borough" (PDF). www.redditchbc.gov.uk.
- "Green belt statistics - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk.
- "Redditch Green Belt Release to meet Growth Needs" (PDF). www.redditchbc.gov.uk.
- "Redditch Crematorium begins to heat town pool". BBC News.
- "Sightseers". Independent Film Office. November 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2014. Tina's mother's house is in Redditch; many Internet sources describe Chris and Tina as "a Redditch couple"
- England Divided into Separate Kingdoms: no one wants Redditch, p49
- "Are these the worst ring roads in England?". BBC News.
- "Major UK Shopping Transaction with Prudential" (PDF). Liberty International. March 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 29 February 2008.
- "Habitats". Redditch Borough Council. 22 November 2013. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- Bonham, Mick. Bonham by Bonham: My Brother John (Solihull: Icarus Publications, 2003). ISBN 0-9545717-0-3
- Clute and Nicholls's Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1993)
- "RallyBase". Rallybase. 16 August 1945. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Fricker, Martin (26 April 2013). "Freddie Starr: Police are after me because they failed to nail Jimmy Savile – Mirror Online". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- Des Styles (@des styles) (22 December 2013). "Des Styles, 'Funny stuff.. Bromsgrove Advertiser says H might be born there? He was born in Redditch, we were there just in time!We lived in Evesham. X'".
- "Harry Styles born in Redditch – confirmed". Redditch Standard. 3 January 2014. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- See Jacqui Smith MP's web site archived on Wayback Machine. Note though Ms Smith's actual place of residence was subject to some controversy in 2009, see her article.
- "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
-  Archived 27 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- "Redditch Roller Sports Club homepage". Archived from the original on 5 February 2011.
- "Bromsgrove and Redditch Athletic Club homepage".
- "Redditch Swimming Club". Redditch Swimming Club. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- "Redditch Road & Path Cycling Club – Home". Redditch Road & Path Cycling Club. Retrieved 28 February 2014.