From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Kidderminster is located in Worcestershire
 Kidderminster shown within Worcestershire
Population 55,348 
OS grid reference SO831767
   – London  131.1 m 
District Wyre Forest
Shire county Worcestershire
Region West Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district DY10, DY11
Dialling code 01562
Police West Mercia
Fire Hereford and Worcester
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament Wyre Forest
List of places

Coordinates: 52°23′19″N 2°14′56″W / 52.3885°N 2.2490°W / 52.3885; -2.2490

Kidderminster is a town in the Wyre Forest district of Worcestershire, England. It is located approximately 17 miles (27 km) south-west of Birmingham city centre and approximately 15 miles (24 km) north of Worcester city centre. The 2001 census recorded a population of 55,182 in the town. The town is twinned with Husum, Germany and it forms the majority of the Wyre Forest Conurbation, an urban area of 99,000.


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 Cyneberht.[1] 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.[2] 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.[2] 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.[2] In a visit to the town sometime around 1540, King's Antiquary John Leland noted that Kidderminster "standeth most by clothing".[2] King Charles I granted the Borough of Kidderminster a Charter in 1636.[2] the original charter can be viewed at Kidderminster Town Hall

Caldwall Castle

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.

Canal lock, with St Mary and All Saints' Church, Kidderminster in the distance

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,[3] 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.[4] 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.[4] 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. In recent years Kidderminster has emerged as a major retail destination and is designated one of "25 strategic centres within the West Midlands". Despite this Kidderminster faces strong competition from the Merry Hill Shopping Centre in Brierley Hill and from Worcester City. Kidderminster town centre also suffers from a lack of evening and nighttime activity and so is largely a no gone zone for residents. 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.[5]


The River Stour and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal both flow through Kidderminster town centre.


Climate data for Kidderminster
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6
Average low °C (°F) 0.3
Precipitation mm (inches) 56
Source: [6]


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.[7] By 1951 there were over thirty carpet manufacturers in the town,[8] including, for example Quayle & Tranter (now defunct) who commissioned notable artists including George Bain for their traditional designs.[9][10] Although much declined by the end of the 20th century, the industry is still a significant employer in the area including such as Brintons and Victoria Carpets, manufacturers of global importance. 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.[citation needed] The red carpet used for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Katherine was manufactured by Victoria Carpets.

Aided by a 2004 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a museum dedicated to the Kidderminster carpet industry was officially opened by Lord Cobham in 2012.[11]

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 was launched on 26 March 2012.[12]

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,, 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.

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.[citation needed] 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 30 miles (48 km) 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.[13] 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.[14] In the May 2010 General Election Taylor lost to Conservative candidate Mark Garnier.

Notable residents[edit]

  • 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.[15]
  • The Puritan minister Richard Baxter, (12 November 1615 – 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". Prior to him beginning his ministry in Kidderminster he previously lived in Bridgnorth from 1640, until 1641.[16]
  • 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.
  • 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,[17] 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.
  • 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.
  • Tony De Vit, Birmingham-based nightclub DJ and singer, was born in Kidderminster, died in Birmingham in 1998.
  • Alf Tabb, Kidderminster cycle maker rider of miniature cycles
  • Paul Frampton, theoretical physicist, was born in Kidderminster, and educated at King Charles I School.
  • 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 15 miles (24 km) away in Worcester.
  • Ewan Pearson, DJ and record producer, grew up in Kidderminster.
  • Sammi Davis, (born 1964), film actress was born in Kidderminster.
  • Rustie Lee, TV personality and celebrity chef, used to live on the outskirts of the town.
  • Ernest Perry, first-class cricketer, died in Kidderminster in 1996.
  • Alun Evans, English footballs first £100,000 teenager, was born in Kidderminster.



Two railway stations in the town share the same approach road and are located less than fifty metres apart. 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 the terminus of the preserved Heritage Railway line, Severn Valley Railway from where trains run 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 Hodnet, 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.


There are direct bus links with towns including Worcester, Halesowen, Bewdley, Stourport, Bridgnorth, Bromsgrove and Redditch. The majority of the services in Kidderminster are operated by Diamond Bus (previously First Midland Red), with the rest operated by Whittle's.


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. Formerly independent, Holy Trinity School became a state-funded free school in 2014. 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.



Kidderminster Victoria CC is a local cricket club.


Aggborough is the home ground of the professional club Kidderminster Harriers, formerly of The Football League.

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 Premier 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 Kidderminster & District League has operated since 1984 and draws teams from Worcestershire and South Staffordshire.


Kidderminster Carolians RFC is a local rugby union club, currently playing in Midlands Division 2 West Northern Section.

Field hockey[edit]

Kidderminster Hockey club was founded in 1892 and in 2010 there are five men's hockey teams, a ladies team and a junior team.


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[citation needed].

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[edit]


  1. ^ John Blair, The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society (New York, Oxford University Press, 2005)
  2. ^ a b c d e
  3. ^ The Buildings of England: Worcestershire, Nikolaus Pevsner, 1968 Penguin. p206
  4. ^ a b A History of Kidderminster, Nigel Gilbert, 2004 Phillimore. p89 and p102
  5. ^ "Caldwall Castle". Retrieved 8 March 2011. 
  6. ^ "Kidderminster historic weather averages in the United Kingdom". Intellicast. Retrieved 27 March 2009. 
  7. ^ Parker, Mike (2010). Map Addict. London: Collins. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-00-735157-2. 
  8. ^ "Wyre Forest carpet industry doyen retires at 80". The Shuttle (Newsquest (Midlands South) Ltd,). 24 August 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "GEORGE BAIN FOR QUAYLE AND TRANTER". Christie's. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "George Bain, A Celtic pattern hunting rug". Bonhams. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "Carpet Museum". The Carpet Museum Trust. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "The Wolf, The Severn and The Wyre to merge as signal 107". BBC News. 7 February 2012. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Blanchard, Jack (19 May 2009). "Taylor in contention to be new Speaker". Worcester News. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  15. ^ Norris, Geoffrey (1966). The Short Empire Boats. Profile Publications. p. 10. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Public Monument and Sculpture Association National Recording Project
  18. ^ Cheever, Mary (1990). The Changing Landscape: A History of Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough. West Kennebunk, Maine: Phoenix Publishing. ISBN 0-914659-49-9. LCCN 90045613. OCLC 22274920. OL 1884671M. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Radio stations in Kidderminster: