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An Autumn Day Out

 

Redditch once produced 90% of the world’s needles.  One of the most unique museums in the area is The Forge Needle Museum and a short walk from there are the ruins of Bordesley Abbey.

One of the most unique museums in the West Midlands is The Forge Mill Needle Museum in the town.  It is a fascinating place to visit and illustrates Redditch’s heritage of the needle and fishing tackle industries.

The needle industry began in the United Kingdom in the 16th Century when it was introduced into the country by Flemish refugees.  By the 17th Century the manufacture reached Redditch and in 1730 Henry and Milward and Sons was established.  By the end of the century 2000 people in the area were employed making needles.  This caused the population of the town to grow and in the mid 1850s it was almost 5000.  By the end of the 19th Century the company had the largest factory in England for the manufacture of needles.  With cheaper products available from the Far East the needle industry ran into trouble and sadly declined.   Redditch still has one factory producing needles and carrying on the centuries of production, John James Needles.

A very short walk from Forge Mill Museum, are the ruins of Bordesley Abbey - a medieval Cistercian Abbey which has been extensively excavated. Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre, which is set in an original reconstructed 16th century barn, tells the extraordinary story of the Abbey from its development in the 12th century to its destruction in 1538 by Henry VIII during the dissolution.

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