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|— Town and Borough —|
|Nickname(s): The Ditch|
Borough of Redditch shown within Worcestershire
|State Party||United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
Leader & Cabinet
|• Executive (2006)||Cllr Bill Hartnett(C)|
|• Mayor Alan Mason (LD)|
|• Admin (Borough)||54.25 km2 (20.95 sq mi)|
|Population (Ranked 275th)|
|• Admin (Borough)||84,300|
|• Density||1,554/km2 (4,020/sq mi)|
|• Ethnicity||94.8% White
|ONS code||47UD (ONS)
Redditch is a town and local government district in north-east Worcestershire, England, approximately 15 miles (24 km) south of Birmingham. The district had a population of 79,216 in 2005. 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.
Redditch lies just south of the West Midlands urban area but is not part of it (being in Worcestershire), northwest of Studley on the A435, which skirts it to the east. The main route of access is the A441, a trunk road from Birmingham to Cookhill, via junction 2 of the M42 Motorway. 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)||3
|Precipitation mm (inches)||37.6
Districts of Redditch
The Borough of Redditch is divided into many districts. To the east of the town are 'New Town Districts' built between the 1970s and 1980s. To the west of the Borough there are older 'Former Village Districts' that dominant the more affluent south and west.
Since 2011, Redditch has formed part of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership along with neighbouring authorities Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Solihull, Tamworth and Wyre Forest.
The first recorded mention of Redditch ("Red-Dych", 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 latter notably by Herbert Terry and Sons. It was designated a new town in 1964 and the population increased dramatically from 32,000 to around 77,000. Housing developments such as Church Hill, Matchborough, Winyates, Lodge Park and Woodrow were created to accommodate the large overspill from an 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) in Redditch 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 of Redditch), and the remains of a medieval moated settlement called Moons Moat is situated within the Church Hill estate.
The parliamentary constituency of Redditch is represented by Karen Lumley of the Conservatives, who defeated the Labour incumbent and former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith in the 2010 General Election.
Redditch Borough Council
In 2012 the Labour regained overall control of the borough council from the Conservatives. The current mayor for 2012-2013 is Alan Mason.
|Composition of Redditch Borough Council as of 2011|
|Party||Group Leader||Seats||Change (on 2010)|
|Liberal Democrat||Malcolm Hall||0||-1|
|This section's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (May 2011)|
|Council Ward||Constituency Boundary||Party in Power||Opposition Party||Councillors||Parish/Village|
|Abbey||Abbeydale, Riverside & Beoley||Liberal Democrat Party & Conservative Party||Lib Dem & Conservative||Diane Thomas & Colin MacMillian|
|Astwood Bank & Feckenham||Astwood Bank, Bradley Green, Feckenham, Hunt End & Ham Green||Conservative Party||Liberal Democrat Party||Michael Chalk & Brandon Clayton||Feckenham Parish|
|Batchley & Brockhill||Batchley, Brockhill & Enfield||Conservative Party & Labour Party||Labour Party||Jack Cookson, Brenda Quinney & Jinny Pearce|
|Central||Redditch Town Centre, Church Green, Southcrest & Smallwood||Labour Party||Conservative Party||Greg Chance & Debbie Taylor|
|Church Hill||Church Hill & Moons Moat||Labour Party||Conservative Party & Liberal Democrat Party||David Hunt, Bill Harnett & Robin King|
|Crabbs Cross & Rural||Crabbs Cross, Walkwood & Callow Hill||Conservative Party||Labour Party||Jack Field & David Smith||Feckenham Parish Callow Hill ONLY|
|Greenlands||Greenlands, Wire Hill, Woodrow & Park Farm||Labour Party, Conservative Party||Labour Party & Conservative||Wanda King, William Norton & Phillip Mould|
|Headless Cross & Oakenshaw||Headless Cross, Oakenshaw * Oakenshaw South||Conservative Party||Labour Party||Gay Hopkins, Peter Anderson & (Leader of Council) Carole Gandy|
|Lodge Park||Lodge Park, St. Georges, Lakeside & Greenlands||Labour Party||Conservative Party||Andrew Fry & Mark Shurmer|
|Matchborough||Matchborough, Ipsley & Washford||Conservative Party||Labour Party||Juliet Brunner & Anita Clayton|
|West||Webheath, Elcocks Brook, Cruise Hill & Norgrove||Conservative Party||Labour Party||Kath Banks & Michael Braley||Feckenham Parish - Elcock's Brook, Norgrove & Cruise Hill ONLY Webheath not included|
|Winyates||Winyates||Liberal Democrat Party & British National Party||Labour Party||Malcolm Hall, David Enderby & Nigel Hicks|
Redditch Student Council
Redditch has its own Student Council, set up by the Borough Council in 1993 to help the Council to get in touch with young adults. The Student Council is made up by representatives from the four main High Schools. They are democratically elected every year.
In November 2006 - February 2008, the Student Council won funding to deliver a series of multi-cultural events: two in Redditch and a further five across the County of Worcestershire.
Redditch was to be the new designation of reorganised prison HMP Hewell, due to be created from the merger of three prisons at Hewell Grange in nearby Tardebigge: Hewell Grange, Brockhill and Blakenhurst prisons. This is one of the first mergers along the Titan Prison concept. It was originally to be called 'HMP Redditch' but the name was changed due to a public outcry, especially as the prison was not to be located in the town. The prison will lie in the neighbouring town of Bromsgrove. The new name was announced in March 2008.
Located in the heart of England, Redditch is an ideal point of departure for destinations in the surrounding region. 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. 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 Red Diamond, First and other operators (including Hardings Coaches, Johnsons Excel 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. A campaign group called The Redditch Foundation is being set up to campaign for better safety on the bus routes.
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. Due to the self-similar appearance of the road layout, some drivers find it disorientating, although the story of an elderly couple admitted to hospital with severe dehydration after spending more than sixty hours trying to navigate the highway system is an urban legend. 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 schools operate a three-tier system, where students attend first school from the age of five, middle school from the age of nine, 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.
North East Worcestershire College (often referred to locally as "NEW College") is a large general further education college: one of its two campuses is in central Redditch; the other is in Bromsgrove.
Companies based in Redditch include Bullivant Media, publisher of weeklies such as the Stratford Observer.
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 mentioned in the John Cooper Clarke song, 'Burnley'.
Rik Mayall's Kevin Turvey — The Man Behind The Green Door was set and filmed in Redditch.
2012 film Sightseers is partly set 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.
- Morton Stanley Park: A public park in the village of Callow Hill with views of the Malvern Hills and wider Worcestershire.
Kingfisher Shopping Centre
Kingfisher Shopping Centre was opened in 1976 by the then Prime Minister James Callaghan and now forms the town's primary retail centre. It is well known for its palm trees in the centre's Worcester Square.
The centre has over 1,100,000 square feet (100,000 m2) of retail space, with stores like Debenhams, Argos, Boots UK, Clarks, H&M, The Perfume Shop and Warren James Jewellers making it one of the largest covered shopping centres in the United Kingdom. In 2007, a cinema opened on the new upper floor.
Arrow Valley Country Park
Redditch benefits from 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 from 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 4 beautiful way marked trails used 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 the length of the river Arrow through the Country Park to the Forge Mill Museum in the north. There are interactive events and family activities to get involved in 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 through the sixties, the last model being the Interceptor. The Redditch factory was closed in 1967 and production was moved to the Bradford on Avon factory, which also ended in 1970 thereby ending English Enfield manufacturing. In the mid fifties, 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
- Lionel Britton (1887–1971), novelist and writer of science fiction plays
- Russell Brookes (born 1945), British rally champion
- Nigel Clarke from band Dodgy grew up in Redditch and went to The Leys High school, now Kingsley College
- Stacy Coldicott (born 1974), footballer, West Bromwich Albion and Grimsby Town F.C.
- Charles Dance (born 1946), actor, born in Redditch
- Jimmy Davis (1982–2003), footballer, Manchester United, Swindon Town and Watford F.C.
- Jonathan Dow, actor
- Ruth England (born 1970), TV presenter, educated in Redditch
- Declan Fitzpatrick Irish international rugby player.
- Luke Johnson, musician, Lostprophets
- Zoë Lister, actor Hollyoaks
- Karen Lumley, MP
- Tony Martin (born 1957), singer, Black Sabbath frontman 1987–1991, 1994–1997
- Rik Mayall (born 1958), comedian and actor, spent his early life in Redditch
- Tom Paddock (1822–1863), also known as the "Redditch Needlepointer", champion heavyweight bare-knuckle boxer of England in 1856
- Corinne Russell former Page 3 model.
- Freddie Starr (born 1943) lives in Mappleborough Green, just outside of Redditch.
- Jacqui Smith, former MP for Redditch and first female British Home Secretary
- John Taylor (born 1960), musician, Duran Duran, went to Abbey High School in Redditch
- Raymond Thompson, scriptwriter and TV producer, born in 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.
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 Roller Sports Club Roller Derby and Recretational Roller Skating Instruction
- Redditch United F.C. playing Football in the Southern Football League
- Redditch Ravens RLFC playing Rugby League
- Bromsgrove and Redditch Athletic Club
- Redditch Rockets Skater Hockey Club
- Redditch Swimming Club Swimming
- The Redditch Road and Path Cycling Club
- Redditch Arrows American football Team
Redditch RFC Redditch CC
- Forge Mill museum Retrieved 28 May 2011
- "Averages for Redditch".
- England Divided into Separate Kingdoms: no one wants Redditch, p49
- "Former home secretary Jacqui Smith loses seat to Tories". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "New name for prison chosen". Redditch Advertiser. 1 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- "Marching for safer bus route" (PDF). Redditch Standard. 20 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-08.[dead link]
- "Major UK Shopping Transaction with Prudential" (PDF). Liberty International. 2005-03. Archived from the original on 2007-10-27. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
- Redditch Borough Council web site - Arrow Valley Park habitats
- 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 web site
- TV.com - Rik Mayall Biography
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- 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.
- More Information on "Friendship Links"
- "Redditch Roller Sports Club homepage".
- "Bromsgrove and Redditch Athletic Club homepage".
- Redditch Swimming Club web site
- Redditch Road and Path Cycling Club web site
- Website of Redditch
- Redditch Standard – Local Redditch weekly newspaper
- Redditch Advertiser – Local Redditch weekly newspaper
- Radio Redditch – Local Community Radio for Redditch
- www.1stredditch.com –1st Redditch Boys and Girls Brigade Companies
- Redditch Local History Group - Local History Group based at Forge Mill Museum