27th Nov, 2020

Hopes are high for new local history museum showcasing Redditch achievements

Ross Crawford 12th Nov, 2020 Updated: 12th Nov, 2020

HOPES are high that a new local history museum showcasing the considerable achievements of Redditch and its residents could become a reality.

The Redditch Local History Museum has been awarded charity status by the Charity Commission and plans for a museum in the town centre are progressing well.

The group is currently contacting interested parties both to set up and manage the facility as well as local businesses to sponsor it.

Derek Coombes, one of the trustees of the new venture said: “Ten years of local history exhibitions and events all well supported by residents, confirms that many Redditch people are interested in the town’s history and heritage and think it would be valuable to preserve and display historical artifacts and records in a permanent local history museum.”

Another trustee, Peter Harris added: “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.

“These are 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 also 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.”

Products made in Redditch have gone all over the world, the famous royal Enfield Motorcycle Company was based here while BSA produced thousands of their machine guns in Redditch.

HDA – High Duty Alloys – made crankcases and pistons for Spitfires while Hymatic supplied the valves that allowed the Harrier jump jet to not only hover, but fly backwards.

Councillor Matt Dormer, Leader of Redditch Borough Council said he would welcome the opportunity to talk with trustees on their proposals.

“It’s great that Redditch has so much history and this should be preserved for future generations,” he said.

“We need to look long and hard at location though – Redditch already has a museum in Forge Mill – and I would like to get round a table and discuss these proposals whether it’s with Forge Mill in mind or any other location the trustees have in mind.”

A report from the Royal Society of Arts identified Redditch as third in the top ten of towns in the UK which have under-utilised the potential of their history and heritage.

The trustees say the museum would be staffed entirely with volunteers and fundraising is already underway.

To get involved or to make a donation email contact@rlhm.uk

For more details visit http://www.rlhm.ukor call 07860 326582.

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