Kidderminster is a town in the Wyre Forest district of Worcestershire, England. It is located approximately seventeen miles south-west of Birmingham city centre. The 2001 census recorded a population of 55,182 in the town. The town is twinned with the town of Husum, Germany.
The town centre area has undergone substantial redevelopment in recent years, with the commercial retail area of 'Weaver's Wharf' attracting many visitors and shoppers. 'Slingfield Mill', a Grade II listed building, has been converted into a retail outlet and incorporated into 'Weaver's Wharf'.
Kidderminster has two so-called "Commissioner 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. It had the third largest grant by the Commission, of just over £17,000.00, of any church outside London. The second church was St. John's church, on the Bewdley Road. This church was built in 1843 and the architect was Matthew Steele, although the grant in this case was just over £4,000.
Under the Local Government Act 1972, it was proposed for Kidderminster to be part of the West Midlands metropolitan county, but it was scrapped after the proposed county boundary was trimmed back to Stourbridge.
Kidderminster is also the home of Victoria Carpets plc. The "Vic" has factories in Munster, Ireland and in Dandenong, Australia and is a worldwide exporter of bespoke carpets for hotels and large commercial venues. One notable user of Victoria carpet is the Eiffel Tower.
The local commercial radio station is The Wyre, which started broadcasting on 12 September 2005, and broadcasts from studio's in Kidderminster. It competes alongside Wyvern FM, whose presence is minimal in the town, Sunshine Radio, and BBC Hereford & Worcester.
There are several things which are key parts of the unique make-up of the town, one of these are the huge former British Sugar Corporation silos sited in their now redundant site on the Stourport Road, these silos can be seen from the Malvern Hills, nearly thirty miles away.
There is Co-op and a doctors surgery on Franche Road (A442) in Franche, a Morrisons on Oxford Street in the centre of the town, a Sainsburys on Carpet Trades Way near the river, Tesco and Aldi are in the town centre on either side of New Road.
In Summerfield on the outskirts of Kidderminster is the ROXEL site where solid rocket motors are manufactured. The site has manufactured the motors for the Rapier missile, Seawolf missile, Starstreak and ASRAAM missile systems. Over the years the site has been owned by IMI, Royal Ordnance and British Aerospace but is now part of the Roxel Group, headquartered in Paris and with a sister site outside Bordeaux.
The SEALINE yacht company manufactures boats for the luxury market and is Kidderminster's second largest single employer.
It is notable that in the United Kingdom general election, 2001, the town returned Dr Richard Taylor as an independent MP for the Wyre Forest parliamentary constituency. Only a handful of independent MPs have been elected since World War II and 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.
Sir Josiah Mason, an English pen-manufacturer, was born in Mill Street on February 23 1795. Sir Rowland Hill, the inventor of the Penny Black and the modern postal system, was born in Blackwell Street on December 3, 1795 . There is a statue, sculpted by Sir Thomas Brock, to him in Vicar Street outside the Town Hall. There is a pub in the Bull Ring called The Penny Black in his honour.
Solo guitarist Robbie Blunt, another Robert Plant collaborator, also has association with Kidderminster.
Singer Jess Roden was born in Kidderminster.
Birmingham DJ Tony De Vit was born in Kidderminster.
Roger LaVern, keyboard player with pop group The Tornados of 'Telstar' fame was born Roger LaVern Jackson in November 1938 in Kidderminster.
Noted film director and screenwriter Robert Hamer, perhaps best known for his celebrated 1949 comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets, starring Dennis Price and Alec Guinness, was born in Kidderminster on 31 March, 1911.
Former Formula One driver Peter Collins was born in Kidderminster on November 6, 1931. During his career Collins drove for the HWM, Vanwall, Maserati and Ferrari teams and won 3 of his 33 Grands Prix. Tragically his promising career was cut short during the 1958 German Grand Prix, when Collins spun off the track and sustained a fatal head injury in the accident that followed.
Tom Watson (born 8 January, 1967), is the Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) for West Bromwich East. He was educated at King Charles I High School in Kidderminster. In September 2006 Watson was the subject of national media attention after resigning his junior ministerial post in an effort to force Prime Minister Tony Blair to name the date he would step down from office.
The film actress Sammi Davis was born in Kidderminster in 1964.
A major change in the town centre road infrastructure was the construction of the ring road in the 1970s and 1980s, which relieved the town's growing congestion problem. Unusually, the final phase of the ring road was never completed.
The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal passes through the town.
Kidderminster College is based on Market Street in the town centre, having moved from older premises in Hoo Road in 2003.
Radio stations in Kidderminster:
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