The AN Aladdin Discovery Cave awaits visitors to the Redditch Local History Museum which opens to the public next Wednesday, November 3.
Located in the Market Square opposite St Stephen’s, it is packed with city history spanning the past 250 years.
Indeed, a story hangs on, as one of the Trustees’ most treasured possessions is a second edition of the 1700s Worcestershire Nash Story.
Inside you’ll find Ipsley, Bordesley, Tardebigge, and all the surrounding villages, but there’s no mention of Redditch.
Administrator Derek Coombes says it was the Industrial Revolution and the explosion in needle manufacturing that led to the city’s dramatic growth.
However, he does try to point out that for the history of the needle industry, you have to go to the Forge Mill Needle Museum in Bordesley.
“We see ourselves as a complement to Forge Mill which perfectly covers the history of the needle industries at Redditch,” he said.
Indeed, the Redditch History Museum has enough riches in itself.
There is the history of the town itself, of a chapel in Bordesley that was moved to where St Stephen’s is today.
As the city grew, St Stephen’s was built and then expanded as more and more people arrived.
There are exhibits showing personalities who have shaped the city through the centuries and bringing it up to date, there is the arrival of the new city and all the changes that brought it about.
And for anyone wondering what old ‘Evesham Street’ looked like, put yourself to the test as there is a scale model on one side in the museum.
It’ll be like stepping back in time to old Redditch hands and an intriguing look into the past for those who arrived later.
It’s amazing, Redditch with a traditional main street, stretching from what is now Evesham, up through the Kingfisher and out through Primark.
Work is currently underway on the model for the other side of Evesham Street and the plan is to alternate displays every three months or so.
The new city is not being ignored either.
“I think there have always been people born and raised in Redditch who thought the new town was a disaster,” Derek said.
“Now there is a generation brought up in the New Town era who say ‘the kingfisher is not as good as it used to be”.
“For me, Redditch’s story didn’t end with the New Town, it continues, and it’s been over 50 years since Redditch was named the New Town.”
The museum also has a lot of information and artifacts from the city’s industrial past, from Royal Enfield bikes and motorcycles to the work of Terry’s spring maker, who also dedicated himself to making all kinds of things.
They even have a working magic lantern, thousands of photographs of the city on a rolling screen, and countless other artifacts to discover.
And that’s only half, because the volunteers downstairs are busy cataloging everything they have and saving it for posterity.
“We started this project three years ago, because we felt so much was lost and the memories of the city and everything it did last forever,” said Derek.
“We were very fortunate that the Kingfisher Shopping Center was able to support us by making these premises available.
“And we’ve been lucky with the donations we’ve received, but we still have to bring in £ 12,000-15,000 a year to stay open.
“So any help from volunteers and donations would be more than welcome. “
The Redditch Local History Museum officially opens its doors on Wednesday, November 3, and will then initially be open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission is just £ 2, not bad for a trip back in time and there is so much to see that you will come back again and again.
To learn more about volunteering and for donations, email [email protected], visit: www.rlhm.uk or call 07486 882181 or 07860 326582