Website offers a glimpse of 'lost Redditch'

By Ian Dipple Thursday 07 February 2013 Updated: 08/02 14:38

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Buy photos » A view of Redditch Town Centre in the 1970s. The Kingfisher Shopping Centre is being built in the background. Picture courtesy of RLHS 2012, Geoff Holmes Collection. (s)

A WEBSITE revealing details of the swathes of Redditch lost during the new town development has been launched.

The Remembering Lost Redditch site primarily focuses on the streets which disappeared as a result of building work in the 1970s, particularly during the creation of the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, and the residents who lived in them.

Over the last 12 months historians from Redditch Local History Society have been collecting and cataloguing information from census records, trade directories and other records as well as photographs, memorabilia and memories from local residents.

But Derek Coombes, from the society, said they needed more people to come forward with their memories to help bring the data to life.

"The designation of Redditch as a new town brought fundamental changes to the area, none more so than in the town centre. Whole streets were lost in the rebuilding of the town centre and those residents with first hand memories of these streets are reducing year-by-year," he said.

"Many residents today, including myself, have no memories of what we are calling 'Lost Redditch' and so the society is keen to ensure we record the history of the town as it was. By making these links with our past we believe we can encourage a sense of belonging and community in the town today.

"Although the website is live now there is still more data to collects and more information to publish. What we need is photographs, artefacts, personal stories and memories.

"Talk to any original Redditch resident over fifty and they will recall shopping in Evesham Street, perhaps going to the Methodist Chapel or even working in one of the many factories in the area. With these we create an interactive view of lost Redditch which residents can explore, learn from and enjoy."

On March 16 a special event is being held at Redditch Library between 10am and 4pm where residents will be able to drop in and contribute their photographs, artefacts and personal stories, as well as helping to identify areas in photographs already submitted. The Palace Theatre will also be collecting memories as part of its 100th anniversary events later this year.

The site is available to view at www.redditchheritage.org.uk and forms part of the society's work to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Redditch as a new town in 2014.

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