Kidderminster town centre, with the Town Hall, fronted by a statue of Sir Rowland Hill.
|Area||16.25 km2 (6.27 sq mi)|
|• Density||3,417/km2 (8,850/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||131.1 miles (211.0 km) SE|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||DY10, DY11|
|Fire||Hereford and Worcester|
|Website||Kidderminster Town Council|
Kidderminster is a large market and historic minster town and civil parish in Worcestershire, England, 17 miles (27 km) south-west of Birmingham and 15 miles (24 km) north of Worcester. Located north of the River Stour and east of the River Severn, in the 2011 census, it had a population of 55,530. The town is twinned with Husum, Germany.
Situated in the far north of Worcestershire (and with its northern suburbs only 3 and 4 miles from the Staffordshire and Shropshire borders respectively), the town is the main administration centre for the wider Wyre Forest District, which includes the towns of Stourport-on-Severn and Bewdley, along with other outlying settlements.
See also: History of Worcestershire
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. This developed as the settlement of Stour-in-Usmere, which was later the subject of a territorial dispute settled by Offa of Mercia in 781, when he restored certain rights to Bishop Heathored. This allowed for the founding of a monastery or minstre in the area.
The earliest written form of the name Kidderminster was first documented in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as Chideminstre, meaning 'Cydda or Cydela's minster or monastery'. It was a large manor held by William the Conqueror, 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), Kyderemunstre (13th–15th centuries) – until the name of the town was settled as Kidderminster by the 16th century. Between 1156 and 1162 Henry II granted the manor to his steward, Manasser Biset. By six decades later, the settlement grew and a fair (1228) and later a market (1240) were established there.
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.
Kidderminster owes its growth to the early development of the cloth industry, which was aided by its position upon the River Stour, and its location at the congruence of four main roads to Birmingham, Dudley, Worcester and Bewdley and Bridgnorth. In a visit to the town sometime around 1540, King's Antiquary John Leland noted that Kidderminster "standeth most by clothing". Over the following centuries the town specialised in textile trades such as weaving, fulling, cloth working and milling, and was also home to numerous other trades including shoemaking, haberdashery, saddle making, dyers, tailors, tanners and glovers.
King Charles I granted the Borough of Kidderminster a Charter in 1636. the original charter can be viewed at Kidderminster Town Hall.
Kidderminster's position at the junction of several main roads made it a place of strategic importance during the English Civil War, with several skirmishes taking place in and around the town.
In 1670–1 Kidderminster's cloth industry obtained a guild by act of parliament and by 1677, the town had as many as 459 weavers and perhaps 3,000 spinners. Following King Louis XIV's revocation of the Edict of Nantes in October 1685 and the subsequent renewed persecution of French Protestants in France, many Huguenots emigrated to Britain. The immigration and settlement of waves of industrious Huguenots brought the benefits of skilled artisans, merchants and manufacturers to Britain. They contributed to a preexisting but basic cloth weaving industry in towns and cities throughout England, in some cases establishing new businesses. In Worcestershire, the Huguenots established themselves at Worcester, Evesham, Droitwich and Kidderminster.
In the early 18th century, carpet weaving was introduced to Kidderminster, and this rapidly became the staple trade of the town. Its growth was aided by the opening of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal in 1771, and later the arrival of the railway to the town in 1852.
Poor trade conditions in 1828, when 2,000 looms were not working for an 18-week period, led to riots where £3,000 of damage was done during one night.
The town's local government was reformed by the Municipal Reform Act 1835, which incorporated Kidderminster as a municipal borough. This superseded the charter of 1636, and divided the borough into three wards represented by six aldermen and eighteen councillors, the number of wards was doubled in the 1880s. The current Town Hall on Vicar Street was built in 1877.
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, finally being consecrated in April 1824. Its grant of just over £17,000.00, was the third-largest given by the commission to any church outside London. The second church was St John's Church, on the Bewdley Road. This was built in 1843 and the architect was Matthew Steele; its grant was just over £4,000.
The Shrubbery was converted into a military headquarters towards the end of the 19th century.
In 1974 the old borough of Kidderminster was abolished and merged into the new Wyre Forest District. In December 2015 Kidderminster was established as a civil parish with a new Town Council, following a public referendum.
The carpet industry went into decline in the 1970s, but still continues on a reduced scale.
The River Stour and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal both flow through Kidderminster town centre.
The modern carpet industry was founded in the area in 1785 by Brintons. 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. A type of carpet was known as Kidderminster carpet or, in the United States, Ingrain carpet: this was a reversible carpet with no pile, with the pattern showing in opposite colours on the two faces, and was popular from the 18th to early 20th centuries. By 1951 there were over thirty carpet manufacturers in the town, including, for example, Quayle & Tranter (now defunct). They commissioned such notable artists as George Bain to create their traditional Celtic designs. 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.
Kidderminster Town Council
Cllr Kevin Gale
Cllr Darren Chambers
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|Multiple non-transferable vote|
|5 May 2016|
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|Kidderminster Town Hall, Kidderminster|
Kidderminster Town is a civil parish within Wyre Forest District, with Kidderminster Town Council created in the early 21st century to take on the duties of a parish council, following a referendum in May 2015. Prior to this, Charter Trustees maintained the traditions of the town and elected a Mayor. As of the last election in 2019 for the Wyre Forest District Council, the Conservatives lost their majority and now no group dominates the council.
The area (initially as Kidderminster, then after 1983 as the Wyre Forest constituency) has been represented by Conservative Members of Parliament (MPs) Gerald Nabarro 1950–64, Tatton Brinton 1964–74, Esmond Bulmer 1974–87, Anthony Coombs 1987–97, and Labour MP David Lock 1997–2001. In the 2001 United Kingdom general election, 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. Mark Garnier has held the seat of Wyre Forest since the 2010 election increasing his majority each time.
At the 2011 census there were 55,530 residents in Kidderminster in 24,869 households, the median age of Kidderminster residents was 41.
Kidderminster's population at the 2011 census was predominantly White (96.8%). The largest non-white groups were Asian at 1.7%, and mixed race at 1.2%.
67% of Kidderminster residents identified as Christian, with 24.7% stating they had no religion, and 6.6% not stating any religion. The largest non-Christian group were Muslims at 0.8%, followed by Buddhists at 0.2% and Hindus and Sikhs at 0.1% each, with others at 0.4%.
Kidderminster's parish church of St Mary and All Saints' is a grade I listed building dating mostly from the 15th and 16th centuries. Another notable church is St John's Church, which is grade II listed, and dates from 1843. Other listed buildings of note in the town include the Town Hall of 1877. The Shrubbery, a 19th-century mansion, and the Kidderminster Register Office. Many of Kidderminster's historic buildings were lost from the 1960s onwards, this led to the creation of the Kidderminster Civic Society in 1993 to promote preservation of the town's heritage.
In the 1968 Buildings of England volume on Worcestershire, Pevsner described the town as; "uncommonly devoid of visual pleasure and architectural interest." Crown House, an early 1970s office block was particularly criticised, and was once rated among the top 10 ugliest buildings in Britain. Demolition was completed in April 2020, improving the Kidderminster skyline. In the 2007 revision of this volume, Alan Brooks wrote; "the 19th century mill buildings, together with the churches, provide most of the architectural interest in a town otherwise uncommonly lacking in visual pleasures."
Two railway stations in the town share the same approach road and are located less than fifty metres apart. The main National Rail station, operated by West Midlands Trains, 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 just south of Woofferton, Shropshire; 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 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 Studley in Warwickshire, via Bromsgrove and Redditch. A major change in the town centre road infrastructure was the construction of the ring road in the 1970s and 1980s. This relieved the town's growing congestion but diverted traffic outside the centre, drawing off customers for businesses. The final phase of the ring road was never completed, which results in the town 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 West Midlands (previously First Midland Red), while the rest is operated by Arriva Midlands, Finesse and Yarranton Brothers and Services 291 and 292 were operated by R & B Travel prior to the company surrendering its licence in January 2020. Services 15A/C, S15, 294, 580 and 133were operated by Coniston Coaches prior to surrendering its licence in October 2020. 15A/C, S15 & 294 were passed onto Astons until 2021 and 2022.
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, featuring primary schools and secondary schools. In this process, several first and middle schools were closed or merged into new primaries. The three high schools of King Charles I School, Wolverley C E Secondary School, and Baxter College (formerly Harry Cheshire High School) became secondary schools that included sixth forms.
Independent schools include Heathfield Knoll 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.
Kidderminster CC is a local cricket club at whose home ground of Chester Road North Ground Worcestershire County Cricket Club play occasional County Championship and county 2nd XI games.
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. 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 are Worcestershire's only 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. That same year they eliminated Birmingham City from the FA Cup; they eventually reached the 5th round of the competition (just missing the quarter-finals), where they hosted Premier League side West Ham United, narrowly losing 0–1. Prior to Lincoln City's run in the competition in 2017, Harriers were the last non-league side to reach round five of the FA Cup. Harriers were relegated to the National League North in 2016.
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 at level 6 in Midlands 1 West.
Kidderminster Hockey club was founded in 1892 and in 2010 there are five men's hockey teams, a women's team and a junior team.
Located in Kidderminster is the Severn Valley Railway a heritage railway. The Museum of Carpet opened in 2012, showcases the town's contribution to the carpet industry. To the west of Kidderminster towards Bewdley is the West Midlands Safari Park.
The local newspaper covering Kidderminster is The Shuttle.
The Wyre was the town's first local commercial radio station; it 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 (it now broadcasts as Greatest Hits Radio Black Country & Shropshire).
The town is noted for its particularly high record lows. Despite an average July low of 11.7 °C, the temperature has never fallen below 5 °C in that month. The coldest and warmest July nights were both recorded in 2015.
|Climate data for Kidderminster|
|Record high °C (°F)||18.0
|Average high °C (°F)||6.8
|Average low °C (°F)||1.3
|Record low °C (°F)||−8.0
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||65.6
|Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||12.5||9.6||11.0||10.5||10.4||9.7||9.4||9.8||9.6||12.0||12.0||11.8||128.3|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||53.4||73.6||109.2||151.6||190.8||191.3||200.7||186.0||140.4||107.1||62.4||46.7||1,513.2|
|Source 1: Met Office|
|Source 2: MyWeather2.com|
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