An Assortment of Articles

of

Local Historical Interest


To access the individual articles

click the green link below the appropriate description.

1.  Trade Directories provide a wealth of information about residents and business in Town, Cities and Villages. Here we provide a collection of transcriptions of Kidderminster directories dating from 1820 to 1948.

Kidderminster Trade Directories


2.  George Edward Roberts was a member of a family of drapers whose business was in the Bull Ring from the early 1830s until 1887 when it became 'Holders'. George was an interesting character and liked to share his deep interests in Geology, Botany and Local History with others in his writings and his collaborations with self-education institutions. You can access many of his unpublished works here: 


3.  Walter William Law was born in Kidderminster in late 1837 and emigrated to New York in 1860. He had extremely successful career and became a wealthy man numbering Andrew Carnegie amongst his friends. Read about him here: 

Walter Law


4.  Sir Frederick Banting a 1923 Nobel Prized winner for developing Insulin for treatment of diabetes was killed in a air crash during the Second World War. The Navigator and Radio operator had connections to Kidderminster. Both were killed in the crash. The story of the crash is told here:

The Death of Banting


5.  Alphonse Joannin Bouët came to Kidderminster in 1855 from France to work as a Carpet designer. He built French Villa in Comberton Road and he and his family lived there for many years. Read about the family and house here: 

French Villa and the Bouët family


6.  In 1843 Henry Brinton went on a working expedition to the Port Phllip area of Australia. This Henry was the son of the Henry Brinton who founded the Brintons carpet factory on its site near the Stour behind Vicar Street in central Kidderminster, and the brother of his better known and longer lasting John. This is a story based on his diary for 1843 and includes details of the long and sometimes difficult voyage to Australia.

Henry Brinton 'Down Under'


7.  Dave Berry grew up in Hoo Road in the 1940s and 1950s. This item records the his story of that area at that time before it became a casualty of the ring road built in the 1970s.


8.  Articles entitled 'Recollections of Old and New Kidderminster' by Henry Bennett appeared in the Kidderminster Shuttle between 11th December 1909 and the 16th April 1910. You can examine these articles here:

Henry Bennett's Recollections of Old & New Kidderminster


9. Sister Gregory was a very influential nurse in Kidderminster between 1914 and 1936. This is her story.  

Nurse Gregory


10. Alderman Thomas Pensotti was a Hatter & Hosier in the Bull Ring and a Town Councillor for many years. In 1902 he was largely responsible for organising a dinner for elderly townsfolk to celebrate the Coronation of Edward VII. In recognition of this he was presented with an commemorative album which he later augmented with paintings of local school children. You can inspect a copy of this album here: 

Pensotti's Coronation Album


11. When the central premises of the Kidderminster Cooperative Society were rebuilt in the late 1950s this commemorative brochure was produced in November 1958.  

Co-op Brochure


12. Walter Willetts lived in Wilden and survived his service during WW1 including being involved in the Battle of the Somme.  

'The WW1 Diaries of Private Walter Willetts'    


13. 'Kidderminster and Neighbourhood' is a book published c1903 by J B Beasley of Station Hill. It contains a collection of photographs related to Kidderminster and surrounding districts.

Kidderminster & Neighbourhood


14. In 1897 the Kidderminster Shuttle published an illustrated business directory under the title 'Views and Reviews Kidderminster. It contains an interesting collection of photographs (many of them by local photographer Thomas Ball) and associated information.

Views & Reviews


15. Plans have recently been submitted (February 2018) for a new railway station to be built in Kidderminster. The first station was built when the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway (O.W.W.R.) opened on 1st May 1852.  The present undistinguished station is the fourth on the site but was preceded by a building of some merit. This account considers the history of the earlier station buildings.

Kidderminster Railway Station


16. From February 1916 until June 2018 The Kidderminster Civic Society ran a series of articles by Melvyn Thompson relating his experiences in St George's Choir from the 1940s onwards.  These articles have been collected together and, with a few added illustrations, are available on this website. Click the link below.

Melvyn & St George's Choir


17. From almost 40 years in the mid 19th Century  the Misses Sarah and Charlotte Shenton ran a small school in or near Church Street. This is the story of that school embellished with letters written by two of the young boarders written to their parents between 1840 and 1842.

The Shenton School


18. Daniel Wagstaff Goodwin came from Holt to Kidderminster in 1844. Originating from an established family of flour millers in Holt he bought Town Mills in Mill Street and developed it into a modern (for those times) successful business. He was also active in the town as Mayor and Magistrate and a generous benefactor. The well known Fountain at Blakebrook was donated by him but demolished in 1954. His historical background and details of his descendants via his eldest son John Rowland Goodwin have been recorded by his grandson David Burrard Smith in a genealogical study entitled 'Goodwin Family History.'

'Goodwin Family History'


19. The WW2 Memorial Plaque that once was in the Hall of King Charles I Grammar School at Woodfield, and is now at the King Charles I School on Comberton Road, has on it the names of twenty nine Old Boys of the School inscribed in Gold lettering. These were the Old Carolians who laid down their lives for the Country in the second World War. 

The Old Carolians named on the Memorial Board


20. An 1875 Parish Magazine of St Georges's Church contains an article describing the preparations and execution of the Church's celebrations for Whitsunday. 

St George's Whitsuntide celebrations 1875


21. As part of a data collecting exercise by the Kidderminster & District Archaeological & Historical Society in preparation for its 2006 publication of "Kidderminster & District in World War 2" by Bill Wood, Bob Millward & Robert Barber, many local people provided personal recollections of life in and near Kidderminster in those times. You can listen to their various stories by using the link:

Oral Recollections of WW2 in Kidderminster


22. The Victory Tea Company was formed in Kidderminster in 1931 by Ernest Hill, a local man who had earlier been the Leicester representative for the Ceylon Tea Growers Association Ltd. of Nottingham. The business first opened in Sutton Road before moving to a purpose built warehouse and office in Holman Street where tea was blended, packed and stored. Ernie, as he was generally known, also delivered tea, coffee and confectionaries to private customers and businesses throughout Worcestershire and neighbouring counties.

When the company closed in 1965 a large collection of the Victory Tea Company documents was left in a store room and  survived the occupation by subsequent businesses until they were donated to Bewdley Museum in 2014. They were subsequently transferred to the 
Kidderminster & District Archaeological & Historical Society and since then Bob Millward has been sorting the documents into some sort of order and has begun to write up the history of this small local tea delivery company.

You can read the story as far as it has presently been developed by following this link to the appropriate page:

The Victory Tea Company


23. In 1969 Ian Walker gave a talk to the Kidderminster & District Archaeological & Historical Society about conservation of buildings, or otherwise, with particular reference to Kidderminster. Have a look at his talk by using the link below:

Vanishing Kidderminster 1969


24. In 1957 the BBC broadcast a pre-recorded 'Sunday Half Hour' from St George's Church. You can examine the service sheet by using the link below: 

Sunday Half Hour


25. A copy of the brochure detailing the arrangements for the local celebrations for the Coronation of 1937 can be viewed via the following link:

Coronation 1937


26. Caldwall Tower was restored in 1970 by the Borough Council and the link below will take to a leaflet giving details of the re-opening ceremony:

Reopening of Caldwall Tower in 1970


27. Sir Herbert Smith founder of Carpet Trades Ltd. died in 1943. You can access a transcription of his obituary via this link:

Herbert Smith's Obituary


28. Mike Loftus has written a fascinating account of the history of bathing facilities in Kidderminster since Victorian times. Indoor swimming pools in Mill Street and Castle Road and an outdoor pool in Foley Park all feature in this story; as well as the politics that inevitably comes with provision of facilities by local authorities: money is always part of the equation. Read all about it at:

Getting into the Swim

29. Read about the discovery, many years later, of an unexploded bomb dropped by a Zeppelin raider in 1916.

A Zeppelin bombed Kidderminster in 1916


30. In 1929 T. C. Grove, a Kidderminster man and Old Carolian who had worked at the South Kensington Museum gave an illustrated lecture to the Kidderminster Field Society. The meeting was reported in the Kidderminster Shuttle and a transcript of that article can be accessed here:

Historical notes on Kidderminster


31. The old Free Library in Kidderminster was demolished in 1992 but its foundation stone survived in the Council's Green Street depot where it was recently discovered by Mike Loftus. You can read about this finding and the Free Library Library by clicking the link below:

Library Foundation Stone


32.  On VJ day 1945 the old wooden police traffic pulpit at the bottom of High Street disappeared. Margaret Phelan was a witness to what happened to it and this is her story.

The Disappearance of the Wooden Pulpit


33. In 1781 the Rev Treadwell Russell Nash published "Collections for the History of Worcestershire". This was followed in 1799 by a second edition. To access a transcription of the section pertinent to Kidderminster use the link below:



34. So, what do the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool (less politely known as Paddy’s Wigwam), the Ritz Hotel in Paris and Kidderminster have in common? Give up? They are all among the many places across the world where you can experience the creative and innovative talents of sculptor and artist, William Mitchell. 

In Kidderminster’s case we are talking about the huge retaining wall that Mitchell conceived and crafted which skirts part of the ring road between the Comberton Hill and Worcester Road junctions. It is 300 metres long, 7 metres tall on average, 11 metres at its highest point and covers a total area of 2100 square metres. When it was built in 1973 it was regarded as the largest feature faced retaining wall in the country – and may still hold that accolade. One element of the Wall which has endured in popular memory was the (now disabled) waterfall. 

To read about this fascinating huge piece of art in concrete use the link below:

The Great Wall of Kidderminster


35. William Wadely was organist and choir master for 66 years at St John the Baptist's Church, Kidderminster. An obituary in the Shuttle 1st mat 1943 records many details of his life and career. One interesting fact was that he came to Kidderminster aged 10 as a member of the Christie Minstrels, in the care of Mr. William Ball, the father of that famous music hall star, Miss Vesta Tilley.  Read more in



36.  During a strike by carpet weavers in 1884, the police from Birmingham were brought in to protect factory owners and non-striking workers. The importation of 'foreign' policemen only exacerbated the situation and there were violent clashes between local men and the police. In one of these disturbances William Wheeler of Hill Street was arrested and, after a brief trial, was sentenced to two months in Worcester Gaol - with hard labour. He always denied the charges and was supported in this by the Carpet Weavers' Association and many other local inhabitants. When he was discharged from prison he was met by family, friends and Association officials who arranged a celebratory, but peaceful, procession with a band leading the way. Read the story here:

William Wheeler


37. Mr I L Wedley published the book 'Kidderminster and its Borderland' in 1936 after featuring related serialised articles in the Kidderminster Shuttle. The material is a general historical account of Kidderminster but with an emphasis on Churches and the development of Nonconformity, Music and Friendly Societies; and contains information (particularly about the latter two topics) that would be difficult to source elsewhere.

Kidderminster and its Borderland


38.  Kidderminster born Richard Eve became a successful solicitor in Aldershot and was an eminent Freemason. He twice stood as the Kidderminster candidate for Parliament but failed on each occasion. A distinctive monument to him has stood in Brinton Park since 1901. Read his story here:

Richard Eve

39.  Mike Loftus has been studying the development of Sutton Park Road from its beginnings. His account (which can be accessed by clicking the link below) delves into the political and business shenanigans accompanying the evolution of this leafy residential street.

Sutton Park Road















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