About the Society

Our Society Today

If you are interested in history you will enjoy and be welcomed at our meetings. You don’t have to live in Kidderminster, and no academic qualifications or interests are required.

Between October and March we have regular meetings for talks from specialists on a wide range of historical and archaeological subjects, including from some of our own members.

During the summer we usually organise two or three visits to places of historical interest in the vicinity, often with input from local experts.

Occasionally groups of members get together to research and publish books on the local history of the area.

During the enforced break in our activities caused by almost two years of Covid restrictions we have made a number of changes:

To mark these changes, we are relaunching the Society at a special event at the Museum on Saturday 1st October 2022 at 10.30 a.m. – you are very welcome to join us there.

From the start of the 2022/23 season we will usually be meeting twice a month, on the second Wednesday evening and the last Thursday afternoon, between October and March each year – there will be no meeting in late December, so please check our programme for exact dates and details.

The full Annual Membership subscription is presently £20.00. A reduced membership fee for those only attending on Wednesday evenings or only on Thursday afternoons will be £10. An additional entrance fee of £1 is payable at the door to all our meetings.

Visitors are always welcome for a small fee (normally £4.00).

Our Honorary President

We are proud and delighted to welcome Dr Malcolm Dick B.A., P.G.C.E., Ph.D. as our new Honorary President in 2022. He is based at the University of Birmingham where he is Director of the Centre for West Midlands History and Convenor of the M.A. in West Midlands History.

He has a particular interest in the Midlands Enlightenment of the late eighteenth century which was dominated by the Lunar Society of Birmingham whose members included James Watt, Matthew Boulton, Erasmus Darwin and Joseph Priestley.

Dr Malcolm Dick, Honary President

Malcolm managed and directed the research for the Revolutionary Players Project for Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, a digital resource for research on the West Midlands in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It can be found at: www.revolutionaryplayers.org.uk.

He has published widely on these and other interests which include schooling for the poor and the history of ethnic minorities in the region.

He works collaboratively with heritage organisations, community groups and independent scholars who have an interest in historical research and its dissemination.

Malcolm was made O.B.E. in the 2019 New Year Honours List for his services to history in the West Midlands.

Our Origins

We were founded as the Kidderminster and District Archaeological and Historical Society by volunteers excavating the Roman Fort at Larford near Astley, as part of a WEA archaeology course.

Our inaugural meeting was convened at the old Kidderminster Museum and Art Gallery in Market Street on Thursday 28th March 1957 and reported in the Kidderminster Shuttle of 5th April 1957. The meeting was chaired by Dr Graham Webster of Birmingham University who advised that members should study the town's history and various place names, generally trying to find out more about the area in which they lived [and that] information should be published for people to study in days to come.

Our Archaeological Activities

In the early days, under the guidance of local amateur archaeologist and founder member of the Society, Ian Walker, members were involved in archaeological investigations including:

Sadly, amateur archaeology is now discouraged, however high the expertise, and the Society has not been able to conduct its own digs for many years.

Our Past Honorary Presidents

From the Society's inception, until his death in 2001, Dr Webster honoured the Society by holding the Office of President. He was an acknowledged specialist and pioneer in the archaeology of Roman Britain, conducting digs in Lincoln, Chester, Wroxeter and other places. In 1954 he had become the Archaeology Tutor in the Extra-Mural Department at Birmingham University where he initiated archaeology training schools, such as that at Larford, and most famously at Wroxeter, where he dug for thirty years. He published widely on Roman Britain.

Dr Simon Penn, Director of the Avoncroft Museum, Bromsgrove, assumed the Presidency in March 2003. His inaugural lecture entitled 'Medieval Builders and Workers' was received by Society members with warmth and great enthusiasm. We were all saddened by his sudden early death in 2004.

In 2005 he was succeeded as our President by the eminent archaeologist, Simon Buteux B.A. (Hons.), M. Phil., M.I.F.A.L. Simon was associated with the Society for many years, starting when he was part of and then head of the Birmingham University Archaeology Field Unit. He moved on to Warndon Court near Worcester and the restoration of the Reader’s House in Ludlow. He then became Director of the Birmingham Conservation Trust, where he oversaw the restoration and opening of the Newman Brothers Museum, better known as the Coffin Works. All of these places were the subjects of talks and outings for the Society. Simon’s most recent move to Historic England, in eastern England and then in London, has been the source of further fascinating talks. However, it also meant that the distance he had to travel to Kidderminster became prohibitive and he reluctantly decided he had to step down as our President. We said goodbye in 2022. His interest and support have been much appreciated by all of our members.

Simon Buteux with the picture presented to him by the Society and the artist
Simon Buteux with the picture presented to him by the Society and the artist

Our Meeting Places

At first the Society met at the Kidderminster Museum in Market Street and in 1970 moved to Caldwall Tower. When this historic and particularly apt building was no longer available, meetings were transferred to the library of the old King Charles 1st Grammar School. When that became the local registry office, we met at St George’s Church Annex in Radford Avenue. We moved from there to the Museum of Carpet in 2022.

2016: Visit by a member of the Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough Historical Society (New York State, USA) on 1st September
2016: Visit by a member of the Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough Historical Society (New York State, USA) on 1st September

The story of Kidderminster born Walter William Law, and his involvement in the founding of the village of Briarcliff Manor some 40 miles north of New York on the river Hudson can be found under Local History on this website. For some time we have been in correspondence with the Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough Historical Society much to our mutual benefit in establishing the historical details of this interesting and successful man who numbered among his friends the famous philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

We felt privileged that a member from Briarcliff was able to make a 'flying' visit to Kidderminster in September and that we were able to provide a brief guided tour of places that Walter would have known as a young man including the Town Hall Music Room, St Mary's Church, and Baxter Church where the minister kindly showed us around.

The current Baxter Church was not built when Walter Law emigrated to New York in 1860, but he and some of his siblings were baptised in its predecessor the Old Meeting and had been members of its congregation. When the Old Meeting was demolished, Walter Law purchased the wooden panelling taken from the building and installed it in his house in Briarcliff Manor.

We have been sent some beautiful photographs of stained glass windows related to Walter Law installed in the Congregational church in Briarcliff Manor. These fascinating windows may be seen in our story of 'Walter William Law'.

We all had an excellent and interesting time and our visitor was able to go away with a new connection between Kidderminster and USA: the Whittall family.

The photograph shows our visitors with members of our Society in front of the Richard Baxter statue and St Mary’s Church in Kidderminster.

2017: Our 60th Anniversary

The year 2017 marked 60 years since the founding of the Society.

On Sunday 9th July 2017 a lunch was held at the Brasserie Restaurant in Kidderminster as part of the Society's 60th Anniversary celebrations.

Attending were past and present members and invited guests - all made welcome by Chairman Sally Dickson and President Simon Buteux.

The principal guest was Mark Garnier MP for Wyre Forest who gave a most entertaining and interesting talk about the life and work of a constituency MP.

He concluded by proposing a toast to the Society to which Sally Dickson responded, mentioning some of the highlights of the Society's 60 years of various activities associated with local history and archaeology.

Our 60th aniversary cake
Our Anniversary Cake

Our commemorations also included an exhibition of the Society’s work at the Heritage Day opening of Kidderminster Town Hall on Saturday 9th September 2017 organised by the Heritage Opportunities Group.

Our focus was the history of the Society including:

2018: The Centenary of the End of the First World War

2018: The Centenary of the End of the First World War

The Society was present at the 'Worcester Remembers the Great War’ event at the Guildhall in Worcester on Saturday 4th August 2018.

Our display table is pictured above. It was manned by Sally Dickson, Sue and Bill Wood and Catherine Guest, who were all involved in researching the Society’s book on Great War Kidderminster – see our publications page, copies are still available if you would like to purchase one.

2020: The 75th Anniversary of the End of the Second World War

Kidderminster and District in the second world war

2020 was the 75th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War on the 8th May 1945, Victory in Europe or VE-Day. Unfortunately, planned commemorations had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. However, you can read all about how the day was celebrated locally in 1945 in our book 'Kidderminster and District in the Second World War'. If you don’t already have a copy, you can buy one for £10 (+ £1.50 for delivery) by using the 'contact us' page to get further details.


Videos of Stourport

Have you seen the excellent videos produced by Albert Mogg exploring a variety of aspects of Stourport over the years?

If you have problems playing the video above, you can view the video using this link

School Festival, 1875

School Festival, 1875

This recent addition to our collection of historical articles is an account describing the 'School Festival' held by St George's Parish Church on Whit Monday in 1875.

View the full article by clicking: School Festival

Latest edition of an earlier publication

One of our earlier publications: 'Caldwall Hall' by Don Gilbert and Richard Warner (1999) has been 'out of print' for some time. It is now available as a digital download on the website of the Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy & Heraldry.

Caldwall Hall

Download digital copy of Calwall Hall

New addition to our historical documents

The latest addition to our collection of documented memorabilia is a transcription of the Botanical notebook of George Edward Roberts. Two pages from this 1850s notebook are given below.

Botanical notebook of George Edward Roberts

Download Botanical Notes

Can you Help?

The French Society

In August 2020 we had a request for information about the Kidderminster French Society from the granddaughter of Sir George Eddy. She had recently been given the cup pictured below.

Kidderminster French Society Tennis Cup 1931

It is engraved:

Kidderminster French Society
Tennis Final 1931
E.G. Eddy M.J. Eddy
11-9   3-6   6-6


E.G Eddy would have been Sir George and M.J Eddy his daughter.

If you have any further information about the Kidderminster French Society please use our 'Contact Us' page to get in touch.

Short Brothers in Kidderminster during WW2

Jeff James has asked if anyone has any memories of the aircraft manufacturer Short Brothers' stay in Kidderminster during WW2. They were located in the offices of Victoria Carpets in Green St.

The Victoria Carpets Ltd building in Green Street, Kidderminster during WW2

Short Bros designed and made the Sunderland flying boat and the RAF's first four-engine bomber the Stirling, before the Lancaster and Halifax came into service. Short Bros were located in Belfast and Rochester, Kent, but due to heavy bombing, they relocated drawing office staff to Kidderminster during the latter part of 1940 and stayed for over two years. 

No Stirling aircraft exists. However, 'The Stirling Project' charity is building from scratch a forward fuselage section as a fitting memorial to this under-rated and over-shadowed aircraft. The Stirling aircraft was converted to glider-towing and played a major role in Operation Market Garden and the attempt to capture Arnhem bridge.

If you can help with this query please use the 'Contact Form'.