EVERYONE knows about Redditch being the heart of the needle and spring industries – but the home of Dunlop Tyres, car makers and a catalogue of other companies?
Redditch even used to make batteries for electric cars in America – in 1906 – plus lawnmowers, and of course motorcycles.
It’s been the dream of local man Tom Bough, a veritable walking encyclopaedia of the town’s history, to create a heritage centre where the true value of Redditch’s contribution to the world, and that of its people, is put on display.
“There’s more history in this place than people know about and they’ll never know about it unless we put it on display,” said Tom.
And it’s not all industrial history either. Tom can relate the founding of Bordesley Abbey back in 1134, how the monks drained the land around the River Arrow and built a wooden abbey before stone was hauled from Hewell to make the building more permanent.
“I’ll make no bones about it, I’ve been looking to set up a heritage centre,” said Tom.
“Everyone thinks it’s all about the needlemakers but Redditch was built on other items too like pushbikes and motorbikes, back in 1904 we were even producing cars here.
“Dunlop started in Hunt End in Redditch, but there was a fire at the factory and with car making starting up in Coventry they moved to Fort Dunlop to be central between Coventry, Birmingham and Redditch,” said Tom, “even de Lorean cars were built here at one time.”
Tom himself has no end of artifacts that paint a picture of a thriving town of cinemas, shops and factories, the workshop of the world in microcosm.
He is ideally looking for a town centre location and is anxious to recruit as many helping hands as possible to make the Redditch Heritage Centre a reality.
Tom can be contacted on 01527 523352.