You may be aware that we are working to set up and run a Redditch Local History Museum and we hope we can count on your support of this initiative. Plans are progressing well, and our next stage is to begin an extensive publicity campaign. Initial indications confirm that many Redditch people are interested in the town’s history and heritage and think it would be valuable to preserve and display historical artefacts and records on a more permanent basis in a building dedicated to that purpose.
Whilst we have an excellent museum at Forge Mill, this is mainly for the preservation of our needle making and fishing tackle industry. Currently, there is a huge treasure trove of local artifacts relating to many other aspects of Redditch history being stored by local amateur historians. Situated in garages, private houses and numerous other locations, they are in danger of disappearing as the holders pass away and house clearers consign them to a skip. Some Redditch residents who may have been born elsewhere - or be too young to remember - may have limited knowledge of the part Redditch has played in the history of Britain and the planned museum will allow all residents and visitors to appreciate this heritage.
It is our intention to mount an awareness and promotion programme over the next six months. This will include an exhibition in a prominent town-centre location that will not only details our future to create the museum but also give same examples of who information would be presented at the museum. Our fundraising is under way to raise £5,000 to cover the costs of this first phase.
With the support of volunteers and potential sponsors gained in phase 1 we then intend to set up an interim museum site to be used for two to three years until a permanent site is established, ideally in the town centre.
Funding of that permanent site will always be a challenge, and the current is already having to be very selective as to which charities it supports. However, the council has ambitious plans to “Unlock Redditch” and, we understand, government finance is available to Redditch if a good case can be put forward. Preserving the town heritage and linking the achievements of the town in the past to the prosperous and vibrant town you envisage in the future through a heritage centre/museum would strengthen that case. Making a start on this project now would enable provision for a museum space to be integrated into those plans.
We believe we have a very strong case that supports the need for a Redditch Local History Museum.
The town of Redditch took the Industrial Revolution ‘by the horns’ and became one of the most diverse and productive areas in the country, helping to bring prosperity to the people of the town. The ingenuity of local entrepreneurs meant that Redditch became famous for a whole range of manufactures. Factories sprang up making a variety of goods and famous national companies sourced Redditch products from all over the town.
The famous Royal Enfield Motorcycle Company and the fishing tackle and spring industries are well known all over the world. Not many people know that the BSA produced thousands of their machine guns in Redditch factories. Where would the Battle of Britain, (which has just celebrated its seventieth anniversary) have been without the Spitfire whose Merlin engines contained crankcases and pistons forged at High Duty Alloys, and other aircraft components such as joystick firing buttons? Later, High Duty Alloys would be forging Concorde’s tremendous landing gear, and Hymatic would be supplying the valves that enabled the Harrier not only to hover, but to fly backwards. The history of all this and much more needs to be saved and celebrated and that means we need a local history museum. Without a museum, Redditch will lose much of its history and heritage.
For all the good works of the Redditch Development Corporation in building the green, prosperous and vibrant Redditch we have today, unfortunately preserving the tows history and heritage does not seen to have been given a high priority. Many historic sites were lost, the traditional communities were diluted, and as new industries were welcomed old, established crafts declined.
There was also an impact on the social life of the townspeople. Gone are the old areas of the town. Gone are many of the old shops and street markets. Gone are the big old factories with all their social opportunities. Most of all, we are rapidly losing first-hand memories of the pre-new town Redditch as those old characters with those memories are also lost. If these memories are not recorded and preserved, they will be lost forever.
A town centre Redditch Local History Museum would complement the work of Forge Mill by providing storage for archive material, facilities for research and documentation, displays to interest both residents and visitors and a resource to educate future generations of Redditch residents.
A permanent local history exhibition, a library of the many books that have been written on the town’s history, new publications from new interpretations of archive material, interactive displays using new technology, a video booth showing historic films which bring to life past times, places and individuals. The scope of the museum is tremendous. It will also be a very valuable addition to what we currently offer visitors to the town.
To achieve this ambition, we need your help.
We need your confirmation of support for such a museum
We need volunteers to help promote, design, build and operate the museum
We need donations and sponsorships to fund its creation and operation
Please also join, like and follow the new Redditch Local History Museum facebook group to show your support for these plans. Visit our web site at www.rlhm.uk to see how you can help. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07860 326582 to share your ideas on what you would like to see in the museum and tell us how you can help us realize this ambition.