Theatre group awarded £28,400 for project investigating the industrial heritage of Redditch

REDDITCH-based Jestaminute Community Theatre has been awarded a grant of £28,400 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for an exciting project investigating the industrial heritage of Redditch.

The project, focussing on the town from the start of the Second World War in 1939 until it was incorporated as a New Town in 1964, is supported by Worcestershire County Council Archive and Archaeology Service, Mettis Aerospace, Redditch Borough Council, Redditch Local History Society, Age UK and a number of local schools.

The main part will be an event at Forge Mill this weekend which will feature information from residents about their working lives in the town at that time.

There will be a living exhibition entitled One Back of Nineteen, featuring a series of linked readings created from local testimonies and delivered by community members.

This will be accompanied by a static exhibition, showing how the theatre group collected and used the stories, featuring extracts of the actual interviews and music from the time period.

For people interested in understanding how to record living family history there will be a drop in workshop run by Worcestershire County Council Archive and Archaeology Service.

A spokesman from Jestaminute Community Theatre said: "The research period between 1939 and 1964 represents an important time for our town.

"Many industries in Redditch played a significant role during the Second World War and in the immediate post war period. Redditch is well known for its work with needles and fishing hooks, but less seems to be known about this other important industrial heritage.

"Names like High Duties Alloys (HDA) , British Small Arms (BSA), Royal Enfield, Terry’s Springs and many more Redditch based companies had huge international reputations.

"It is important that to celebrate this industrial history and record the personal memories of those who worked at this time.

"Like the incorporation of the new town, this period saw a lot of people move into Redditch to work in the new factories and the expanding existing companies."

The event, which is free, is at Forge Mill this Saturday and Sunday, April 12 and13.

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