High Street, Bromsgrove
|Bromsgrove shown within Worcestershire|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||119 miles (192 km) SE|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||B60, B61|
|Fire||Hereford and Worcester|
|EU Parliament||West Midlands|
Bromsgrove is a town in Worcestershire, England. The town is about 16 miles (26 km) north-east of Worcester and 13 miles (21 km) south-west of Birmingham city centre. It had a population of 29,237 in 2001 (39,644 in the wider Bromsgrove/Catshill urban area). Bromsgrove is the main town in the larger Bromsgrove District.
- 1 History
- 2 Governance and local politics
- 3 Demography
- 4 Geography
- 5 Economy
- 6 Facilities
- 7 Entertainment and arts
- 8 Clubs and societies
- 9 Notable residents
- 10 Further reading
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Bromsgrove is first documented in the early 9th century as Bremesgraf. Later in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 909 AD Bromsgrove is mentioned as Bremesburh. Then in the Domesday Book Bromsgrove is referenced as Bremesgrave. The Breme part of the place name is almost certainly an Anglo-Saxon personal name.
In the Anglo-Saxon times, Bromsgrove had a woodland economy consisting of hunting, maintenance of haies and pig farming. At the time of Edward the Confessor, the manor of Bromsgrove is known to have been held by Earl Edwin. After the conquest, Bromsgrove was held by the King. Among the manor's possessions were 13 salt pans at Droitwich, with three workers, producing 300 mits. The King had the right to sell the salt from his pans before any other salt in the town.
It was at the centre of a very large parish and its church of St John the Baptist was certainly of minster status. Bromsgrove, along with all the towns in north Worcestershire, was committed to defending the city of Worcester and is recorded to have contributed burgesses to Droitwich in 1086. There may also have been Anglo-Saxon or Norman fortifications in Bromsgrove, but other than in literature no physical archaeological evidence remains.
Bromsgrove was first granted the right to a market day in 1200, and in 1317 was given the right hold a Tuesday market and three-day fair every 29 August at the Decollation of St John the Baptist. Market day changed several times over the period, settling on Tuesday from 1792 onwards. Fairs were held twice yearly, in June and October by the eighteenth century, with the modern pleasure fairs originating from the June horse and pleasure fair.
Bromsgrove and the area surrounding it was put under forest law when the boundaries of Feckenham Forest were extended hugely by Henry II. Forest law was removed from the Bromsgrove area in 1301 in the reign of Edward I, when the boundaries were moved back.
In the later Middle Ages, Bromsgrove was a centre for the wool trade. Manufacture of cloth, particularly narrow cloth and friezes is first recorded in 1533. It fell into decline by the 1700s. By 1778, 140 hands (i.e., people) were employed in the manufacture of linsey and linen employed 180. By comparison, nail making employed 900 hands by this time.
Nail making was introduced by the French Huguenots in the 17th century and became a thriving industry. At one point Bromsgrove was the world centre of nail making. Mechanisation quickly put the industry into decline.
The Bromsgrove Union Workhouse, on the Birmingham Road, was opened in 1838 and closed in 1948 and is in use as an office building today.
In 1841, Bromsgrove railway works was established. It was primarily a maintenance facility but also built steam locomotives. The works provided employment for people in Bromsgrove. In 1964, following a reorganisation of railway workshops, the works closed and was demolished. The site is now a housing estate. One of the turntable pits still remains.
Major restoration of the Norman and 13th century St. John the Baptist church was carried out in 1858 by Sir George Gilbert Scott. In the churchyard here are the graves of two railwaymen, Tom Scaife and Joseph Rutherford who were killed when their steam locomotive blew up while climbing the steepest mainline railway gradient in England, at the nearby Lickey Incline, on 10 November 1840. The driver and his number two died instantly. St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Worcester Road was built by Gilbert Blount in 1858.
Bromsgrove was home for many years to the famous Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts, a company of craftsmen who produced many fine works of sculpture, ironwork, etc., including the gates of Buckingham Palace (whose locks are stamped with the Guild's name), the lifts on the Lusitania and the famous statue adorning the Fortune Theatre in Drury Lane.
Governance and local politics
Bromsgrove's Member of Parliament is Sajid Javid. As a largely rural constituency with affluent residential areas, Bromsgrove District is strongly Conservative-supporting area with further seats being won by the party in the local elections at the expense of 'other' candidates.
Bromsgrove constituency was last represented by Labour by Terry Davies, who defeated Conservative Hal Miller as the result of 10.1% swing in a by-election in 1971. Miller was elected to the new Bromsgrove and Redditch constituency in 1974, and represented Bromsgrove constituency from 1983 to 1992. He was succeeded by Roy Thomason, who was censured by the House of Commons Select Committee on Standards and Privileges for failing to declare loans made to him. He decided not to re-stand after the local Conservative Association opened nominations to other candidates. He was succeeded by Julie Kirkbride in 1997. She did not contest the seat in 2010 following the Westminster expenses scandal, in which she was found to have over-claimed by £29,243.
Bromsgrove has its own youth branch of Conservatives called Bromsgrove Conservative Future, a Labour Party and Labour club and Liberal Democrat Party. Labour voting is strongest in the Whitford, Sidemoor and Charford wards of the town.
According to the 2001 census the population of Bromsgrove is 29,237 and the population for the larger Bromsgrove District is 87,837.
The solid geology of Bromsgrove is that of the Triassic (late Scythian to early Ladinian) Bromsgrove Sandstone. It shows red bed facies and was probably laid down by rivers flowing through an arid landscape or in ephemeral, shallow lakes. The uppermost beds were deposited by a brief marine transgression. The soil is very good for market gardening and growing vegetables due to Marl bands. The district is at a general elevation of between 200 feet (61 m) to 300 feet (91 m) above sea level.
|Climate data for Bromsgrove|
|Average high °C (°F)||7
|Average low °C (°F)||3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||37.6
There is a statue of Alfred Edward Housman in the high street, which was erected in 1985. There is also a sculpture of a dryad and boar in the high street, commemorating the work of the Bromsgrove Guild.
Bromsgrove is home to Grafton Manor which dates back to the 14th century. It has a rich history, with one of the daughters of John Talbot married to Robert Wintour, who was involved in the Gunpowder plot.
Many of Bromsgrove's residents find employment in Birmingham, Redditch, Worcester and other places along the motorway network. MG Rover was a major employer of Bromsgrove residents until its collapse in May 2005. Bromsgrove is still home to LG Harris Ltd, a paint brush manufacturer in Stoke Prior (known locally as "Harris Brush" or just "The Brush"). Business parks in Aston Fields and Buntsford Hill are helping to revitalise the local economy, in addition to newer developments such as Saxon and Harris Business Parks. Bromsgrove District Council is aiming to create a technology corridor along the A38 to take advantage of the area's road links.
Bromsgrove has a public community library situated in the centre of the town. The library offers not only books but also music CDs, spoken word, foreign language tapes and videos & DVD for adults and children. There are 25 computers available with internet access.
Bromsgrove has a municipal park, Sanders Park. Facilities include: basketball courts, tennis courts, a skate park, children's play area and football pitches. A bonfire night is held annually with a large fireworks display and fairground rides. Other events are held such as big band afternoons featuring bands playing in the bandstand.
There is a large public leisure centre and sports centre in the town called The Dolphin Centre. It has two swimming pools and a large sports hall. Numerous activities and clubs are held here, such as the Bromsgrove Swimming Club. It is run by Wychavon Leisure and owned by Bromsgrove District Council.
Bromsgrove railway station is situated to the south of the town. It sits at the foot of the Lickey Incline which is the steepest Incline on the British mainline network meaning most freight trains require assistance from a locomotive at the rear. Between 1919 and 1956 this was operated by a purpose built locomotive known by drivers as Big Bertha. There are frequent trains to Birmingham New Street, Worcester Foregate Street and Hereford. On 4 May 2007, Network Rail announced that a new station would be built, to replace the existing structure, at a cost in the region of £10–12 million. The station opened in July 2016.
Bromsgrove has 15 first schools in its district: Lickey End First School, Finstall First School, Charford First School, Dodford First School Milfields First School, St. Peters Roman Catholic First School, Stoke Prior First School, Blackwell First School, Sidemoor First School, Catshill First School, Tardebigge CofE First School, Fairfield First School, Hanbury CofE First School and Meadows First School.
There are two high schools, North Bromsgrove High School and South Bromsgrove High School opposite Charford. South Bromsgrove is a specialist school in foreign languages and I.T, noted for its extensive use of information technology. A previous headteacher, Philip McTague, was heavily involved in political action to reduce the gap in funding between Worcestershire state schools and others across the country. North Bromsgrove High School has now been classed for a specialist status in media and Creative Arts. Both were rebuilt by BAM in 2007.
Bromsgrove is also home to Bromsgrove School, a co-educational independent school founded in 1553 with three campuses catering for pupils from nursery to sixth-form that offers boarding facilities. Former pupils include Digby Jones, head of the CBI for many years and the actors Ian Carmichael, Richard Wattis and Trevor Eve.
There are two special schools in Bromsgrove, one is Chadsgrove School and Specialist Sports College the other Rigby Hall School.
Bromsgrove is the main site of Heart of Worcestershire College, formerly North East Worcestershire (NEW) College until 1 August 2014 following a merger. In May 2011, NEW College built a motorcycle academy with a £1.7 million grant from Advantage West Midlands, it has been extensively equipped by Harley Davidson.
Bromsgrove is home to:
- Bromsgrove Rugby Football Club, one of the oldest rugby union clubs in the country. It was formed on 28 September 1872.
- Bromsgrove Sporting Football Club. A fan owned club formed in 2009 by fans of the dissolved Bromsgrove Rovers club.
- Bromsgrove Cricket, Hockey and Tennis Club.
- Mercian Divers Scuba Diving Club – affiliated to the BSAC (British Sub-Aqua Club).
- North East Worcestershire Ravens rugby league club, who play in the Midlands Rugby League.
- Bromsgrove Indoor Bowls Club (also providing outdoor bowls) based in Charford
- Bromsgrove and Redditch Athletics Club based at the Ryland Centre athletics track.
The Worcester and Birmingham Canal which runs close to Bromsgrove, is a destination for leisure activities such as walking and coarse fishing and there are several narrowboat hire centres situated in nearby villages. The Tardebigge lock flight, with 30 locks, is the longest in the UK. Bromsgrove is 5 miles (8.0 km) away from the historic country house Hanbury Hall, which is open to the public. The town's leisure venues include a nightclub featuring a mixture of styles, and pubs in the town centre include a Wetherspoons pub, a Slug and Lettuce pub and a number of traditional pubs. Bromsgrove is close to the countryside attractions of the Lickey Hills, the Clent Hills, the Waseley Hills.
Entertainment and arts
Bromsgrove is host to a centre for the arts, Artrix, located on Slideslow Drive. Artrix is a multi purpose arts centre that provides theatre, cinema screening recently released films and National Theatre Live performances, rock concerts, folk music, comedians and classical music concerts from Bromsgrove Concerts, ESO and Midland Sinfonia. Artrix also has a vibrant youth theatre group and a new arts outreach team. From 2012 the dance studio has been converted to hold a maximum of 90 people and provides a space for intimate music, comedy and small theatre.
The World War II film Our Father was partially filmed on location in Hanbury Woods outside Bromsgrove.
Clubs and societies
Although with no official function, Bromsgrove's Court Leet continues to exist as a ceremonial body, being sanctioned under the Administration of Justice Act 1977. The Bromsgrove Society is a charity formed in 1980 to protect the built and natural environment of the town. The Bromsgrove Society of Model Engineers was formed in 1982 and operates a track at the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings. The Bromsgrove Photographic Society was formed in 1950 and organises talks in Stoke Prior. Bromsgrove has a Rotary Club formed in 1936 and chartered in 1937.
In May 1980, Bromsgrove was twinned with the German town of Gronau. A formal friendship link document was signed between Bromsgrove and the district of Saint-Sauveur-Lendelin in Normandy, France, in July 1999. Annual exchange visits are made by Bromsgrove and District Twinning Association members to each town.
- Gronau, Germany
The notable residents of Bromsgrove include those educated at Bromsgrove School (see People educated at Bromsgrove School). Among the Old Bromsgrovians are a field marshal, five winners of the Victoria Cross and one winner of the George Cross.
- Edmund de Grafton, Member of Parliament for Worcestershire in several early Parliaments.
- Richard Bromsgrove, Abbot of Evesham
- Sir Humphrey Stafford of Grafton, died 1449 fighting the Cade rebellion and character in Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2.
- Sir Humphrey Stafford of Grafton, executed in at Tyburn in 1486 for the rebellion against Henry VII.
- Sir Gilbert Talbot, KG (died 1517/18), owner of Grafton Manor
- Sir John Talbot (died 1549), owner of Grafton Manor, buried in St John the Baptist Church, Bromsgrove
- Sir John Talbot (died 1611), owner of Grafton Manor, Catholic recusant suspected wrongly of involvement in the Gunpowder Plot
- Gertrude Wintour, née Talbot, daughter of Sir John Talbot. She was the wife of the Robert Wintour executed for his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot
- Francis Talbot, who died as the result of a duel at Barn Elms with the Duke of Buckingham over his wife
- Anna Talbot, wife of Francis and famous beauty
- William Dugard, schoolmaster, seventeenth century
- Sarah Bache, hymn writer, born in Bromsgrove about 1771
- Charlotte Badger, considered to be the first Australian female pirate, born in Bromsgrove in 1778
- Benjamin Bomford, farmer
- George Cadbury, creator of Cadbury chocolates.
- Sir Thomas Frederick Chavasse (1854-1913) surgeon, member of the Chavasse family, buried in Bromsgrove. His daughter Gladys (1893-1962) was engaged to her cousin Noel Chavasse VC and Bar, MC
- John Corbett, the Salt King, lived in Bromsgrove prior to building Chateau Impney.
- Alfred Edward Housman, 1859, poet.
- Clemence Housman, sister of Alfred, author and suffragette
- Laurence Housman, brother of Alfred, illustrator, playwright, writer and left-wing political activist
- John Lisseter Humphreys, Governor of North Borneo
- Benjamin Maund, botanist and chemist, publisher and bookseller
- Mabel Tolkien (1870–1904), mother of J. R. R. Tolkien, buried in Bromsgrove
- Elijah Walton, artist, lived in Lickey, died there in 1880
20th and 21st century
- Singer/actor, Michael Ball, was born in Bromsgrove.the Official Woodstock Site |publisher=Woodstock.com |date= |accessdate=3 August 2009}}</ref>
- Michael Buerk, BBC News presenter and journalist, once worked for the local 'Bromsgrove Messenger' newspaper.
- Dan Bull, internet activist and musician was born in Bromsgrove.
- Joyce Carpenter (1930-1973), of Charford, smallest woman in Britain (29 inches); subject of ATV Today interview recently[when?] reviewed as part of Disability Film Festival Day
- Nicola Charles, actress, was born in Bromsgrove in 1969.
- Lisa Clayton (born 1958), sailor, lived in Bromsgrove with her parents
- Jonathan Coe, author, was born in Lickey in 1961.
- Jimmy Davis (1982–2003), footballer with Manchester United, Swindon Town and Watford F.C. was born in Bromsgrove.
- Fyfe Dangerfield, musician grew up in Bromsgrove and attended Bromsgrove School
- Nicholas Evans, author, best known for The Horse Whisperer. was born in Bromsgrove and attended Bromsgrove School
- Declan Fitzpatrick was born in Bromsgrove.
- Craig Fagan, Hull City footballer. Lived in Bromsgrove in his childhood.
- Walter Gilbert (sculptor) of the Bromsgrove Guild
- Rear-Admiral Sir David William Haslam (1923–2009), Royal Navy officer and Governor of Bromsgrove School, died in Bromsgrove
- Geoffrey Hill, (1932-2016) poet. 
- Anthony E. Pratt (1903–1994), the inventor of the board game Cluedo, is buried in Bromsgrove Cemetery.
- Mathew Priest, Musician of the Indie rock band Dodgy.
- Pat Roach (1937–2004), wrestler and actor is buried in Bromsgrove Cemetery.
- Gary Rowett former professional footballer and former Manager at Birmingham City FC.
- David Rudkin, playwright, taught at North Bromsgrove High School in the early 1960s. His play Afore Night Come (1962) was inspired by his experiences in the countryside close to Bromsgrove.
- Alan M. Smith, 1962, footballer.
- Andy Smith, 1967, a professional darts player with a nickname known to fans as the 'pie-man', was born here.
- Trudie Styler was born in Bromsgrove.
- Jim Swire, 1936, doctor and father of Lockerbie victim.
- Matt Teale, 1975, newsreader and journalist was born in Bromsgrove.
- Sir John Vane (1927–2004), pharmacologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1982); born in Tardebigge
- Mark Williams, 1959, actor, famous for portraying Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter film franchise, along with the title character in the BBC's Father Brown television series based on the books by G.K. Chesterton.
- Russell Williams was born in Bromsgrove.
- Bromsgrove (Images of England) – ISBN 0-7524-1146-2
- Glory Gone: The Story of Nailing in Bromsgrove – ISBN 0-9513525-1-2
- Bygone Bromsgrove, a collection of essays about aspects of local history, including Grafton Manor, local watermills, railways, canals and the nailmaking industry, first published in 1981. ISBN 978-0-9509471-4-3
- The Extraordinary Adventures of Benjamin Sanders, Buttonmaker of Bromsgrove ISBN 978-0-9509471-2-9
- The Bromsgrove Guild – an Illustrated History, edited by Quintin Watt ISBN 978-0-9509471-6-7
- "Census 2001: Key Statistics for urban areas in England and Wales" (PDF). Office for National Statistics. June 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 March 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
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- "Property in Barnt Green, Bearwood, Bromsgrove, Kings Heath, Moseley, Northfield, Redditch". Oulsnam. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
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- "Parishes: Bromsgrove - British History Online". Retrieved 13 June 2016.
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- The Buildings of England: Worcestershire, Nikolaus Pevsner, 1968 Penguin. p109
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Bromsgrove.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bromsgrove.|
- Bromsgrove Standard Local Bromsgrove weekly newspaper
- Bromsgrove Advertiser Local Bromsgrove weekly newspaper
- The Bromsgrove Society
- Bromsgrove Workhouse, History and Information[permanent dead link]
- Bromsgrove District Council
- Bromsgrove Online
- BromsgroveTown.com (Town Centre Directory)
- St John the Baptist Church
- St Andrews Church
- All Saints Church
- St Godwalds Church