Kidderminster shown within Worcestershire
|OS grid reference|
|- London||131.1 m|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||DY10, DY11|
|Fire||Hereford and Worcester|
|EU Parliament||West Midlands|
|UK Parliament||Wyre Forest|
Kidderminster is a town in the Wyre Forest district of Worcestershire, England. It is located approximately seventeen miles south-west of Birmingham city centre and approximately fifteen miles north of Worcester city centre. The 2001 census recorded a population of 55,182 in the town. The town is twinned with Husum, Germany.
The land around Kidderminster may have been first populated by the Husmerae, an Anglo-Saxon tribe first mentioned in the Ismere Diploma, a document in which Ethelbald of Mercia granted a "parcel of land of ten hides" to Cynebehrt. This became the settlement of Stour-in-Usmere, which was later the subject of a territorial dispute settled by Offa of Mercia in 781, where he restored certain rights to Bishop Heathored. This allowed for the creation of a monastery or minstre in the area, and the earliest written form of the name Kidderminster (Chedeminstre) was not seen until it appeared in the Domesday Book of 1086. It was a large manor held by William I with 16 outlying settlements (Bristitune, Fastochesfeld, Franche, Habberley, Hurcott, Mitton, Oldington, Ribbesford, Sudwale, Sutton, Teulesberge, Trimpley, Wannerton and Wribbenhall). Various spellings were in use – Kedeleministre or Kideministre (in the 12th and 13th centuries), Kidereministre (13th–15th centuries) – until the name of the town was settled as Kidderminster by the 16th century. Between 1156 and 1162 Henry II granted the manor to his steward, Manasser Biset, and as the settlement grew a fair (1228) and later a market (1240) were established there. In a visit to the town sometime around 1540, King's Antiquary John Leland noted that Kidderminster "standeth most by clothing". King Charles I granted the Borough of Kidderminster a Charter in 1636.
A parliamentary report of 1777 listed Kidderminster Borough as having a parish workhouse accommodating up to 70 inmates. Under the so-called Gilbert's Act of 1782 Kidderminster Union was established for the purpose of relieving the indigent poor.
Kidderminster has two Commissioners' churches. The first was St. George's church, on Radford Avenue. This was designed by Francis Goodwin and built in 1821–1824, finally being consecrated in April 1824. It had the third largest grant by the Commission, of just over £17,000.00, of any church outside London. The second church was St. John's Church, on the Bewdley Road. This church was built in 1843 and the architect was Matthew Steele, although the grant in this case was just over £4,000. Under the Local Government Act 1972, a proposal for Kidderminster to be part of the West Midlands metropolitan county was disbanded following a trimming of the county boundary back to Stourbridge.
To the south by the river Stour, dating from the 15th century, is a single surviving tower of Caldwall (or Caldwell) Castle, a fortified manor house.
|Climate data for Kidderminster|
|Average high °C (°F)||6
|Average low °C (°F)||0.3
|Precipitation mm (inches)||56
The modern carpet industry was founded in the area in 1785 by Brintons, and the carpet industry became extremely important to the local economy, so much so that the local newspaper is still named The Shuttle after the shuttles used on the carpet looms. Although much declined in recent years, the industry is still a significant employer in the area, with Brintons Carpets still employing several hundred people and is one of the biggest employers in the town. Kidderminster is also the home of Victoria Carpets Limited. The "Vic" has factories in Kidderminster and in Dandenong, Australia and is a worldwide exporter of bespoke carpets for hotels and large commercial venues. One notable user of Victoria carpet is the Eiffel Tower. The red carpet used for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Katherine was manufactured by Victoria Carpets.
The Wyre was the town's first local commercial radio station and began broadcasting on 12 September 2005 from studios in Kidderminster. Other radio stations providing local coverage are Free Radio, Sunshine Radio, and BBC Hereford & Worcester. The Wyre ceased broadcasting in 2012 and Signal 107 launched on 26 March 2012.
With the opening of the commercial retail area of "Weaver's Wharf" in March 2004, the town centre area had been substantially redeveloped. Shops include TK Maxx, Next,Th Baker Marks and Spencer, SportsDirect.com, Brantano, DW Sports Fitness & Clarks. Eateries Frankie & Benny's, McDonald's and Pizza Hut. 'Slingfield Mill', a Grade II listed building, houses a Debenhams store. There is The Co-operative Food and a doctor's surgery on Franche Road (A442) in Franche, a Morrisons on Green Street in the centre of the town, a Sainsburys and The Range on Carpet Trades Way near the river, and Tesco, Asda and Aldi are in the town centre on either side of New Road. Other popular stores in kidderminster include Bridge55 (Mens Clothing Store) and Wild heart which are located on Oxford Street.
Solid-fuel rocket motors are manufactured in Summerfield on the outskirts of Kidderminster on the ROXEL site where the motors for the Rapier missile, Seawolf missile, Starstreak and ASRAAM missile systems were manufactured. The site has had several owners including IMI, Royal Ordnance and British Aerospace, and is now part of the Roxel Group, headquartered in Paris and with a sister site outside Bordeaux.
The SEALINE yacht company manufactures boats for the luxury market and is Kidderminster's second largest single employer. On the edge of the town used to be the two storage silos sited on the former British Sugar Corporation site on the Stourport Road, that could be seen from the Malvern Hills, nearly thirty miles away. These however, were demolished in mid-2012.
Kidderminster is an unparished area within Wyre Forest District, but Charter Trustees maintain the traditions of the town and elect a Mayor. The Wyre Forest District Council is currently run by a Conservative Party group, who hold 23 of the council's 42 seats. In addition there are eight Kidderminster Health Concern Councillors on the council. The area (initially as Kidderminster, then after 1983 as the Wyre Forest constituency) has been represented by Conservative MPs Gerald Nabarro 1950–63, Sir Tatton Brinton 1964–74, Esmond Bulmer 1974–87, Anthony Coombs 1987–97, and Labour MP David Lock 1997–2001. In the United Kingdom general election, 2001, the town returned Dr Richard Taylor as an independent MP for the Wyre Forest parliamentary constituency. Taylor had fought the election to protest against the proposed reduction in services at Kidderminster Hospital. He held his seat at the 2005 election, the first independent MP to do so since 1949. In the May 2010 General Election Taylor lost to Conservative candidate Mark Garnier.
- Captain H.W.R. Alger, who flew the inaugural air mail flight from England to Australia for Imperial Airways' Empires Air Routes, in February 1937. He flew the Short "C" class Seaplane (named Castor) from Calshot near Southampton to Marseilles, Brindisi, Alexandria, South Africa, India and Australia.
- The Puritan minister Richard Baxter, (born 12 November 1615 – died 8 December 1691) began his ministry in Kidderminster in April 1641 and spent the next 19 years in the town. There is a statue to him outside Saint Mary's parish church, where he was based. It states his wish "for unity and comprehension in religion".
- Walter Nash, former Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand, was born in the town.
- Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, known also as James Albert, lived with his family in the town in the 1760s and 1770. An African prince and freed slave, he worked on his autobiography in Kidderminster, with a secretary from Leominster. Published at Bath in about 1772, this was considered the first Black African autobiography published in Britain.
- Lant Carpenter was born in Kidderminster on 2 September 1780.
- Sir Josiah Mason, an English pen-manufacturer, was born in Mill Street on 23 February 1795.
- Sir Rowland Hill, the inventor of the Penny Black and the modern postal system, was born in Blackwell Street on 3 December 1795. There is a statue, sculpted by Sir Thomas Brock, to him in Vicar Street outside the Town Hall. There is a pub in the Bull Ring called The Penny Black in his honour.
- Edward Bradley, the English humorist of the mid-Victorian era, was born in Kidderminster in 1827. He died on 11 December 1889.
- Captain Eustace Jotham and Private John Francis Young were Victoria Cross winners in 1915 and 1918 and were born in Kidderminster
- Roger Laverne Keyboard player with The Tornados
- Robert Plant the front man of the rock band Led Zeppelin has close associations with Kidderminster, particularly Kidderminster College of Further Education.
- Andy Edwards, drummer, was born in Kidderminster, and worked with Plant between 1999 and 2001 before becoming a member of the progressive rock band IQ in 2005.
- Robbie Blunt, solo guitarist, another Robert Plant collaborator, has associations with Kidderminster.
- Taylor Parkes, journalist and broadcaster, was born in West Bromwich but grew up in Kidderminster.
- Jess Roden, singer, was born in Kidderminster.
- Tony De Vit, Birmingham DJ, was born in Kidderminster.
- Alf Tabb, Kidderminster cycle maker rider of miniature cycles
- Peter Bradley-Fulgoni, Concert Pianist
- Stan Webb, blues guitarist and founder of Chicken Shack, resides in the town.
- Kevin Keelan, Footballer Played for Norwich City F.C
- Paul Frampton, theoretical physicist, was born in Kidderminster, and educated at King Charles I School.
- Robert Hamer, film director and screenwriter, known for his 1949 comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets, starring Dennis Price and Alec Guinness, was born in Kidderminster on 31 March 1911.
- Peter Collins, former Formula One driver was born in Kidderminster on 6 November 1931. During his career Collins drove for the HWM, Vanwall, Maserati and Ferrari teams and won 3 of his 33 Grands Prix. Tragically his promising career was cut short during the 1958 German Grand Prix, when Collins spun off the track and sustained a fatal head injury in the accident that followed.
- Tom Watson (born 8 January 1967), is the Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) for West Bromwich East. He was educated at King Charles I High School in Kidderminster. In September 2006 Watson was the subject of national media attention after resigning his junior ministerial post in an effort to force Prime Minister Tony Blair to name the date he would step down from office.
- Jon Turley (born 26 April 1971), an author who writes children's books, has lived in Kidderminster since the mid-1990s and was born some fifteen miles away in Worcester.
- Ewan Pearson, DJ and record producer, grew up in Kidderminster.
- Sammi Davis, film actress was born in Kidderminster in 1964.
- Rachel Jones, the former live producer of BBC Radio 1's The Chris Moyles Show and working on a new show for Sir Aled Hayden Jones, was born in the town.
- Rustie Lee, Celebrity chef also lives in the town.
- Mike Sanchez, Rhythm and blues pianist and vocalist is a long-time resident of Kidderminster.
- Ernest Perry, first-class cricketer, died in Kidderminster in 1996.
- Alun Evans, English soccer's first £100,000 teenager, was born in Kidderminster.
- Jowe Head, (born Joe Hendon in Kidderminster in 1956) bass guitarist, singer and visual artist was a member of Swell Maps before joining the Television Personalities.
- Mark Birch, former guitarist with Wishbone Ash was born and raised in Kidderminster.
Two railway stations in the town share the same approach road. The main Network Rail station operated by London Midland is Kidderminster, from where trains run to Birmingham, Worcester and London. The other station, Kidderminster Town, is that of the preserved Heritage Railway line, Severn Valley Railway; trains run from here to Bridgnorth.
Several major routes run through the town including the A456 which runs from Birmingham to Woofferton, Shropshire, a few miles south of Woofferton, the A451 which runs from Stourbridge to Abberley, the A442 which runs from Droitwich to Hodent, Shropshire, a few miles north of Telford, the A449 road which runs from Newport in south Wales to Stafford and crosses the A456 at the Land Oak, and the A448 road which starts in the town and goes to Bromsgrove. A major change in the town centre road infrastructure was the construction of the ring road in the 1970s and 1980s, which relieved the town's growing congestion problem. Unusually, the final phase of the ring road was never completed which results in it having a ring road that does not form a complete ring.
The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal passes through the town.
As part of educational restructuring in the Wyre Forest district, Kidderminster's schools were reorganised from a three-tier system of first, middle and high schools to the two-tier system more common in the UK as a whole with primary schools and secondary schools. Several first and middle schools were closed or merged into new primaries, with the three high schools of King Charles I School, Wolverley C E Secondary School, and Baxter College (formerly Harry Cheshire High School) becoming secondary schools with sixth forms. Independent schools include Heathfield School in Wolverley, and the Holy Trinity International School school for girls. Kidderminster College is located in Market Street in the town centre, having moved from older premises in Hoo Road in 2003. Other local secondary schools include The Stourport High School & VIth Form Centre, and The Bewdley School and Sixth Form Centre.
Formed in 1886, Kidderminster Harriers F.C. is the town's professional football club. Local rivals of the Harriers were traditionally Worcester City and Bromsgrove Rovers, and in recent years also Cheltenham Town and Hereford United, although as of 2013 Cheltenham are in a division above Kidderminster. In 2005 the Harriers were relegated to the Conference National after five years in the Football League Two division. They had reached the Football League as Conference champions in 2000, and remain as Worcestershire's only-ever representative in the league. They had won the title in 1994 but were denied promotion then as their stadium did not meet Football League capacity requirements – this came the same year that they eliminated Birmingham City from the FA Cup.
The Town is home to the Rose Theatre  with its resident company "The Nonentities" who recently celebrated their 25th Anniversary at the Rose Theatre with a performance of Twelfth Night, the play they first opened with at the site. This starred David Wakeman as Feste with Laurie Pollitt and Michael Harvey as Viola and Sebastian. The Theatre is still going strong today and is home to many amateur and professional companies. A Stagecoach[clarification needed] was set up in Kidderminster in 2003. Students From Stagecoach Kidderminster have performed in London's West End.
Kidderminster Operatics & Dramatics Society (KODS) was founded in 1916 and is affiliated to the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA). The Society puts on a show and a musical each year. Shows have included My Fair Lady, Anything Goes and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Shows are normally performed at "The Rose Theatre". The Society used to be known as Kidderminster amateur operatic society (KAOS) and performed at the Playhouse. Carpet Trades Operatic Society (CTOS) was founded in 1945 and is also affiliated with the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA). This society puts on a musical each year and is predomiately made up of performers from Kidderminster Operatics and Dramatics Society (KODS). Both Societies hold rehearsals at the New Meeting Hall in Kidderminster Town Centre. Shows for Carpet Trades (CTOS) are performed at the Stourport Civic Centre.
Closest cities, towns and villages
||Arley, Highley, Alveley, Bridgnorth, Telford||Wolverley, Cookley, Kinver, Enville, Wolverhampton||Blakedown, Hagley, Stourbridge, Dudley, Birmingham|
|Tenbury Wells, Leominster||Stourport, Hartlebury, Worcester||Bromsgrove, Droitwich|
- John Blair, The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society (New York, Oxford University Press, 2005)
- The Buildings of England: Worcestershire, Nikolaus Pevsner, 1968 Penguin. p206
- A History of Kidderminster, Nigel Gilbert, 2004 Phillimore. p89 and p102
- "Caldwall Castle". britishlistedbuildings.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-03-08.
- "Kidderminster historic weather averages in the United Kingdom". Intellicast. Retrieved 27 March 2009.
- "The Wolf, The Severn and The Wyre to merge as signal 107". BBC News. 7 February 2012.
- Blanchard, Jack (19 May 2009). "Taylor in contention to be new Speaker". Worcester News. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- Norris, Geoffrey (1966). The Short Empire Boats. Profile Publications. p. 10. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- Public Monument and Sculpture Association National Recording Project
- Burton, John Richard (1890). A history of Kidderminster, with short accounts of some neighbouring parishes. London: E. Stock.
- Kidderminster Workhouse
- Parish church
- The Rose Theatre
- Kidderminster news - Express & Star
- The Shuttle Local Kidderminster weekly newspaper
- River Stour
- S&W Canal
- Wyfopedia, on-line encyclopaedia for the Wyre Forest district
- Boys' Brigade The 1st Kidderminster Boys' Brigade Company
- Exploring Roxel Rocket Site, Wyre Forest
- Russell Perks Martial Arts Academy
Radio stations in Kidderminster: