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—  Town and Borough  —

Shown within Worcestershire
State Party United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Constituent Country England
Region West Midlands
Ceremonial County Worcestershire
District Redditch Borough
Government Leadership
Leader & Cabinet
 - Type Borough
 - Executive (2006) Cllr Carol Gandy (C)
 - MP(2006) Jacqui Smith
 - Mayor Malcolm Hall (LD)
Area (Ranked 267th)
 - Admin (Borough) 54.25 km2 (20.9 sq mi)
Population (Ranked 286th)
 - Admin (Borough) 79,900
 Density 1,473/km2 (3,815.1/sq mi)
 - Ethnicity 94.8% White
2.7% S.Asian
Geographic coordinates 52°19′N 1°56′W / 52.317°N 1.933°W / 52.317; -1.933
ONS code 47UD

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, and 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.


Redditch experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) similar to almost all of the United Kingdom.

Climate data for Redditch
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7
Average low °C (°F) 3
Precipitation mm (inches) 37.6
Source: [1] 2009-05-23


Commemorative pavement plaque in Alcester Street
Church Green and St. Stephen's Church in central Redditch

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 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.

Redditch is featured in a section heading in An Utterly Impartial History of Britain by John O'Farrell.[2]


The constituency of Redditch is represented by Jacqui Smith of the Labour Party. The borough council became Conservative controlled in the 2008 local elections after being under either Labour control or no overall control for 26 years. From 2008-2009 Cllr Jack Field(C) was the mayor of the town and now Cllr Malcolm Hall(LD) is the newly chosen mayor for 2009-2010.

Redditch Borough Council

Composition of Redditch Borough Council
Party Group Leader Seats Change (on 2007)
Conservative Carole Gandy 15 +4
Labour Bill Harnett 10 -4
Liberal Democrat Malcolm Hall 3 0
British National Party David Enderby 1 0
Total Seats 29

A by-election occurred in 2009, giving the Conservatives 15 seats, Labour 10 seats, Liberal Democrat 3 and the BNP 1 seat; and hence the Conservatives gained overall control.


Council Ward Constituency Boundary Party in Power Oppostition 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 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 Pary & British National Party Labour Party Malcolm Hall, David Enderby & Nigel Hicks

Abbey - Diane Thomas (Liberal Democrat), Colin MacMillan (Conservative)

Astwood Bank & Feckenham - Michael Chalk (Conservative), Brandon Clayton Conservative)

Batchley & Brockhill - Jack Cookson (Labour), Jinny Pearce (Conservative), Brenda Quinney (Conservative)

Central - Greg Chance (Labour), Debbie Taylor (Labour)

Church Hill - Bill Harnett (Labour), David Hunt (Labour), Robin King (Labour)

Crabbs Cross - David Smith (Conservative), Jack Field (Conservative)

Greenlands - Wanda King (Labour), Phil Mould (Labour), William Norton (Conservative)

Headless Cross & Oakenshaw - Peter Anderson (Conservative), Carole Gandy (Leader of the Council) (Conservative, Gay Hopkins (Conservative)

Lodge Park - Andrew Fry (Labour), Mark Shurmer (Labour)

Matchborough - Juliet Brunner (Conservative), Anita Clayton (Conservative)

West - Kath Banks (Conservaive), Michael Braley (Conservative)

Winyates - David Enderby (British National Party), Malcolm Hall (Mayor 2009-2010) (Liberal Democrat), Nigel Hicks (Liberal Democrat)

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 people. The Student Council is made up by representatives from the four main High Schools. They are democratically elected every year.

In the last year (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.

HMP Hewell

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[3].


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 opened, 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.


The former Redditch Bus Station, circa 1996

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[4]. A campaign group called The Redditch Foundation is being set up to campaign for better safety on the bus routes[4].

Road system

Redditch is occasionally noted for its confusing road system dominated by a system of dual carriageways built when it became a New Town, including one of only two cloverleaf interchanges in England (the other being in Livingston) 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 for a tongue-in-cheek calendar featuring its "picturesque" roundabouts created by a local printing company. The calendar was called, unsurprisingly, 'Redditch Roundabouts,' and it proved so successful that it sparked a national series.


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 back to the traditional 5-7 infant, 7-11 junior and 11-16/18 secondary schools.

Redditch currently has four secondary schools, Saint Augustine's High School, Kingsley College, Trinity High School and Arrow Vale High School.

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.

Places of Interest

Kingfisher Shopping Centre

Worcester Square
One of the mosaic panels

The 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 original trees and their accompanying fountain were removed by the centre's management after health and safety fears relating to the age of the trees , which were nearly thirty years old. More appropriate palm trees were planted after the 2002 redevelopment, and remain as of 2009. The centre is also well known for its large mosaic panels designed by famous Scottish artist and sculptor, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi. The centre has over 1,100,000 square feet (102,000 m2) of retail space[5], with anchor stores Debenhams & Primark 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

View across Arrow Valley Lake

Redditch benefits from 900 acres (3.6 km2) of public open space in Arrow Valley Country Park. This incorporates the 27 acre Arrow Valley Lake, fed from the River Arrow. It features a countryside centre, which was opened in 2000 and features countryside and wildlife displays and has a cafe and conferencing facilities.

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. In the mid fifties the Company established a partner, Madras Motors in Madras, India, who manufactured the Bullet model. The Indian factory is still very successful, with new Indian models and has taken Royal Enfield into its third century of manufacturing. English Enfield manufacturing ended in 1970. Many of the original factory buildings still remain, most remain in a derelict state and can been seen at the beginning of Bromsgrove Road and opposite the town railway station. Some buildings have been taken over and now make the old part of Enfield Industrial Estate closest to the town centre on Hewell Road.

Notable residents

Town twinning

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.

In 1986 Redditch was twinned with Mtwara in Tanzania. Frequent events are organised with assistance from the community of Tanzanian students at Birmingham University and Selly Oak College.

Friendship Links

Redditch also has formal “Friendship” links[13] with:


Redditch sport teams include:

See also


  1. ^ "Averages for Redditch". 
  2. ^ England Divided into Separate Kingdoms: no one wants Redditch, p49
  3. ^ "New name for prison chosen". Redditch Advertiser. 2008-03-01. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  4. ^ a b "Marching for safer bus route" (PDF). Redditch Standard. 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  5. ^ "Major UK Shopping Transaction with Prudential" (PDF). Liberty International. 2005-03. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  6. ^ Bonham, Mick. Bonham by Bonham: My Brother John (Solihull: Icarus Publications, 2003). ISBN 0-9545717-0-3
  7. ^ Clute and Nicholls's Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1993)
  8. ^ Rallybase web site
  9. ^ British Swimming (2008-05-03). "Senior Age Group Records". British Swimming Website. British Swimming. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  10. ^ - Rik Mayall Biography
  11. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  12. ^ See Jacqui Smith MP's web site, Biography. Note though Ms Smith's actual place of residence was subject to some controversy in 2009, see her article.
  13. ^ More Information on "Friendship Links"
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ [3]

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

REDDITCH, a town in the eastern parliamentary division of Worcestershire, England, situated on an eminence near the Warwickshire border, 151 m. S. of Birmingham by the Midland railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 13,493. It is the centre of a district producing needles and fish-hooks. There are also motor-engineering works. The town possesses a literary and scientific institute (1850). In the modern church of St Stephen (1854) are preserved tiles from the former Cistercian abbey of Bordesley, founded in 1138, of which the site may be traced at Bordesley Park, 2 m. N.

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