Pictures of Kidderminster
This town was once the carpet capital of England, with carpets from its mills transported to all parts of the world. It is no longer the carpet empire it once was, but as late as the end of the 20th century carpet made in Kidderminster was being laid throughout Hong Kong's Airport. Many of the old mills have gone, some have been converted for other usage, but fortunately those that are left continue to be busy.
The towns history stretches back into the mist of time. Certainly it was a busy centre in medieval times, but not much remains from then save for a couple of buildings, one being the parish church.
Today, Kidderminster is a busy commercial centre with suburbs. It is now best known for its Severn Valley Heritage Steam Railway, which transports visitors in restored carriages pulled by perfectly restored steam engines through the delightful Worcestershire countryside along a full-sized standard gauge line. The journey follows the course of the River Severn, thus travellers have the opportunity to experience scenic views only possible from the railway. One of the "highlights" of the trip is crossing the Victoria bridge, high above the meandering waters of the Severn. From beginning to end the journey is joyous, there are glimpses of wildlife, old country stations reflecting the tranquil charm of yester-year and refreshment cars are provided on most of the trains just as they were in the past.
In and around Kidderminster there are plenty of historic houses to see, some of these remain in private ownership but are converted to provide luxury hotel accommodation, these include the 300 year old Brockencote Hall situated in 70 beautifully landscaped acres, overlooking a lake, and the charming timber-framed Stone Manor. Apart from these the area has many gracious Victorian and Edwardian properties ranging from cottages to picturesque inns.
Harvington Hall is a magnificent moated medieval and Elizabethan manor house lying to the south-east of Kidderminster. This is a wonderful "picture postcard" building, a confection of gables, red brick chimney's and bays. It is all the more surprising inside, for within there are Elizabethan wall paintings and the finest series of priest-holes anywhere in the country. For sheer atmosphere alone - this is a place not to be missed!
Leisure facilities include cinema, theatre, fishing-the fishery at Shallerford is good for carp, barbell and cat-fish, and there are several golf clubs in the region, including one at nearby Ombersley. Pepper Wood is a great place for country walks, as is Waseley Hills Country Park and the Clent Hills.
The town's carpet heritage is illustrated from when it first began in 1735 in The Carpet Museum Trust at New Road. This excellent museum has preserved machinery, interactive displays, a picture gallery, weavers loft and holds regular events.
St.Mary's and All Saints Church is one of the two medieval buildings left in the town. It lies in a pleasant location with its tower looking towards the canal. It is especially known for its stained glass windows, one depicting a number of saints and for its peal of 12 bells. The churchyard is littered with graves and outside on the plaza in front of the church visitors can see impressive war memorials.
Kidderminster has excellent shopping facilities, apart from shops along its main and side streets there are two premier shopping centres - the Josiah Mason Mall and the Swan Centre. In both you can find food chain stores, major retail outlets and restaurants.
With much to see and do, Kidderminster makes the ideal base for anyone wishing to uncover the history and heritage of this part of the lovely heart of England. It is in close proximity to Birmingham, Britain's second city and to the wealth of interest awaiting you in the towns and villages noted for their part in the Industrial Revolution.