Redditch is a town, and local government district
in north-east Worcestershire
, England, approximately south of Birmingham
. The district has a population of 85,000 as of 2019. 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
The first recorded mention of Redditch (''Red-Ditch'', 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 last of which was notably undertaken by Herbert Terry and Sons. Redditch was designated a new town
on 10 April 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 a large overspill from the 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) 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By the 21st century needle-making and other traditional industries had been replaced by modern light industry and services, with Redditch also functioning as a dormitory town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, and the remains of a medieval moated settlement called Moons Moat
are within the Church Hill estate.
The parliamentary constituency of Redditch
is represented by Rachel Maclean
of the Conservatives
, elected in the 2017 General Election
Redditch has a Borough Council
with councillors elected from the Wards of Redditch, which manages lower-tier local government services. Worcestershire County Council manages upper-tier services.
The foundation stone for Redditch Town Hall was laid in 1981. It cost £7.5 million to build and it was opened in 1982.
Redditch is in Worcestershire
, just south of the West Midlands
urban area. It is 15 miles (24 km) north of Evesham
on the A435
, which skirts it to the east. The main access routes are the A441
via junction 2 of the M42 Motorway
, the A435
from junction 3 of the M42 and the A448
via junctions 4 or 5 of the M5
. The Roman Road
known as Icknield Street
is prominent, running north to south through the eastern side of the town.
Districts of Redditch
The Borough of Redditch is divided into several districts. To the east of the town are "New Town Districts" built in the 1970s and 1980s. To the west of the Borough are older "Former Village Districts" that dominate the south and west.
See: Districts of Redditch
Since 2011, Redditch has participated in the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
along with neighbouring authorities Birmingham
, Cannock Chase
, East Staffordshire
and Wyre Forest
Redditch is within a green belt
region that extends into the wider surrounding counties, and is in place to reduce urban sprawl
, prevent the towns in the nearby West Midlands conurbations centred around Birmingham and Coventry, discouraging further convergence, protect the identity of outlying communities, encourage brownfield
reuse, and preserve nearby countryside. This is achieved by restricting inappropriate development within the designated areas, and imposing stricter conditions on permitted building.
The main urban area up to the Webheath, Walkwood, and Hunt End suburbs, Astwood Bank and the southernmost extent of the borough are exempt from the green belt area, bar small adjacent green belt 'wedges', but surrounding smaller villages, hamlets and rural areas such as Feckenham, Littleworth, Old Yarr and Ham Green up to the B4090 Salt Way road are 'washed over' by the designation. The green belt was first drawn up under Worcestershire County Council
, and the size in the borough in 2017 amounted to some .
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
. There are regular bus services to Studley, Bromsgrove, Catshill
The Cross-City Line
provides a regular train service via Birmingham New Street
to Lichfield Trent Valley
. 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 Diamond West Midlands
and other operators (including Stagecoach, Johnsons Excel Bus and a community run 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.
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. 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 is one of the few areas of the country where the three-tier system
of first, middle and high schools still exists. Students attend first school
from the age of 4, middle school
from the age of 9, 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.
Redditch currently has four high schools (RSA Academy Arrow Vale
, Saint Augustine's Catholic High School
, Tudor Grange Academy
, Trinity High School
) and six middle schools.
Heart of Worcestershire College
(often referred to locally as "HOW College") is a large general further education
college: one of its four campuses is in central Redditch; the other three are in Bromsgrove, Worcester and Malvern.
Since June 2013 the swimming pool at Abbey Stadium leisure centre has been heated using waste heat diverted from Redditch Crematorium. Redditch Borough Council expects the scheme to reduce the leisure centre's gas bill by more than 40%, equivalent to an annual saving of about £15,000.
In popular culture
'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
It is also sometimes reported as being mentioned in the John Cooper Clarke
song, 'Burnley', however Reddish
(a district in Greater Manchester) is the more likely interpretation.
's ''Kevin Turvey – The Man Behind The Green Door'' was set and filmed in Redditch.
The 2012 film ''Sightseers
'' is partly set in Redditch.
Redditch is featured in a section heading in ''An Utterly Impartial History of Britain
'' by John O'Farrell
Birmingham and national TV comedian Jasper Carrott
makes Redditch a repeated butt of his jokes, for example over the difficulty of escaping the Redditch ring road.
There is thriving listed theatre
in Redditch called the Palace Theatre
Places of interest
: remains of a former Cistercian
abbey, later used as a Royal Swannery.
*Forge Mill Needle Museum
: exhibition of traditional needle making.
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.
The centre has over of retail space, with stores like Debenhams
, Next plc
, Boots UK
, The Perfume Shop
and Warren James Jewellers
. It is one of the largest covered shopping centres in the United Kingdom. In 2007, a cinema opened on the new upper floor and is now owned by Vue Cinemas
Arrow Valley Country Park
Redditch has of public open space in Arrow Valley Country Park
. This incorporates the Arrow Valley Lake, fed by 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 four waymarked trails 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 along the river Arrow through the Country Park to the Forge Mill Museum
in the north. There are interactive events and family activities 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 until the 1960s, the last model being the Interceptor
. The Redditch factory was closed in 1967 and production was moved to the Bradford on Avon
factory, which closed in 1970, ending English Enfield manufacturing. In the mid 1950s, 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.
(1948–1980), musician with Led Zeppelin
, was born in Redditch and attended Bridley Moor High School.
(1887–1971), novelist and writer of science fiction plays was born at Astwood Bank
now a suburb of Redditch.
(born 1945), British rally champion
from band Dodgy
grew up in Redditch and went to The Leys High school, now Tudor Grange Academy Redditch
, soap actress who is best known for her role as Imogen Hollins
in the BBC soap, ''Doctors
''. She grew up in Astwood Bank
* Stacy Coldicott
(born 1974), footballer, West Bromwich Albion
and Grimsby Town F.C.
was born in Redditch.
(born 1946), actor, born in Redditch
(1982–2003), footballer, Manchester United
, Swindon Town
and Watford F.C.
. Born in Bromsgrove
, his funeral took place at Redditch Crematorium.
* Jonathan Dow
, actor was born in Redditch.
(born 1970), TV presenter, educated in Redditch
, musician, Lostprophets
was born in Redditch.
, author, was raised in Redditch.
, actor ''Hollyoaks
'' trained at the Starlight School of Dance in Winyates, Redditch.
, footballer, Nottingham Forest
, ex-Huddersfield Town
and Kidderminster Harriers
was born in Redditch.
(born 1957), singer, Black Sabbath
frontman 1987–1991, 1994–1997
(1822–1863) was born in Redditch, and known as the "Redditch Needlepointer", champion heavyweight bare-knuckle boxer
of England in 1856
(1943-2019) lived in Mappleborough Green, just outside Redditch.
(born 1994) born in Redditch. Raised in Holmes Chapel
. Member of boy band One Direction
, former MP for Redditch and first female British Home Secretary
, (1925–1970) D'Oyly Carte Opera Company baritone, 1947–1968 was born and raised in Redditch.
(born 1960), musician, Duran Duran
, went to Abbey High School
, scriptwriter and TV producer, born in Redditch. Creator of hit New Zealand teen/sci-fi television series ''The Tribe
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
Redditch also has formal "Friendship" links with:
, West Indies
Redditch sport teams include:
*Redditch United F.C.
*Redditch Borough F.C.
playing Rugby league
in the Midlands Rugby League Premier Division
playing Rugby Union
in the Midlands 4 West (South)
in the Worcestershire County Cricket League
*Redditch Arrows American football Team
*Longmeadow Redditch Badminton Club
with 8 teams in the Worcestershire and Solihull Leagues.
*Redditch Roller Sports Club
Roller Derby and Recretational Roller Skating Instruction
*Bromsgrove and Redditch Athletic Club
*Redditch Rockets Skater Hockey Club
*Redditch Swimming Club
*The Redditch Road and Path Cycling Club
Redditch has an oceanic climate
(Köppen climate classification
''Cfb'') similar to almost all of the United Kingdom.
*Districts of Redditch
Website of RedditchRedditch Local History Group
– Local History Group based at Forge Mill Museum
Category:Towns in Worcestershire
Category:New towns in England
Category:Non-metropolitan districts of Worcestershire
Category:Radburn design housing estates
Category:New towns started in the 1960s