HALF a century ago, Redditch Development Corporation planners sat down and created a vision of how they saw Redditch developing to accommodate an increase in population from 24,000 to 80,000 after being designated a 'New Town'.

After 20 years of focused expansion, and 30 years of further evolutionary development under various borough councils, Redditch was the town people know today.

An exhibition, the History of Redditch 1964 to 2014, the third in a series from Redditch Local History Society (RLHS), runs from March 12 until March 30 with special drop-in sessions each Wednesday when RLHS members will be present to discuss their work and local history topics.

The exhibition, based upon Redditch Development Corporation material and contemporary data sources, looks at seven focused areas of the development and sets out the planners vision, examples of the plan execution and an analysis of the success of the plans.

The exhibition has been put together with the help of RLHS member, Brian Stallard, who worked for the Development Corporation and so has first hand knowledge of the challenges faced by the corporation.  His input has been invaluable in providing this insight and the RLHS therefore believes this exhibition will be very interesting and informative to all Redditch residents interested in their town's history.

The society has also not forgotten the last 30 years of Redditch history, a period which has not yet found its way into local history books.  It has taken the first steps to rectifying this by creating a time line for the last 30 years and starting an archive of local newspaper headlines and stories.  Visitors to the exhibition will have an opportunity to add their input to this archive.

The mayor has been invited to open the exhibition on March 12 at 11am.  The exhibition is open during Forge Mill opening hours and Forge Mill admission charges apply, but admission on Wednesdays is free for Redditch residents.

The exhibition is also the first event of the SO-Redditch programme being organised to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the town's designation as a New Town.  The programme challenges organisations to hold 50 similar events with a 50 theme and Redditch residents to attend as many of these events as possible during the period from April to September 2014.

More details of the Forge Mill exhibition, and the Redditch Local History Society's activities, are available from RLHS on 01527 404365, email contact@redditchhistory.org.uk or see redditchhistorysociety.org.uk.