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Redditch is an attractive town in the north-east of Worcestershire, not far from the county border with Warwickshire and the southern suburbs of Birmingham. Redditch does not quite have the history associated with its near-neighbours Bromsgrove or Henley-in-Arden as it only appears in historical records in the 14th century, however in the centuries that followed the town became known as the leading centre for the manufacture of needles and fishing tackles and hooks in the entire world.

By the 19th century the town was making over 90 per cent of all needles used worldwide. Today the National Needle Museum in Redditch is testament to the trade and its importance to the growth of the town. In the first half of the 20th century Redditch was also known as the manufacturing site of Enfield motorcycles.

In 1964 Redditch was designated as a New Town, leading to new housing developments, ambitious new road systems, and new shopping and commercial opportunities. Banked roads were introduced to reduce levels of noise from passing traffic and new houses built in what is now the eastern area of the town. The older parts of Redditch are those that today form the southern and western parts of the town.

In the new millennium much of the traditional manufacturing associated with the town has gone, though Redditch is the headquarters of leading nationwide companies such as Halfords Automotive, and the aerospace engineering firm GKN Driveline.

Redditch stands on the old Roman road Icknield Street that runs north-south through the Midlands. To the west lies the town of Bromsgrove, and Alcester to the south. The surrounding towns and villages include Studley, Astwood Bank, Beoley, and Tanworth-in-Arden. Redditch station is in the centre of the town – from here it is around 40 minutes’ journey to Birmingham city centre, and around an hour to Worcester. The M42 and the M40 are nearby and only a few minutes’ drive away, making the town a popular choice with professionals commuting to Birmingham.

Redditch is home to rugby, cricket, hockey, athletics, football and American football clubs, and in the Arrow Park Country Park in the south of the town there is a considerable lake for sailing and bird-watching. In the town is the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, opened in the mid-1970s and home to a cinema and various major retail stores.


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