Blackwell Street c1967, Kidderminster
Memories of Blackwell Street c1967, Kidderminster
If you followed this street to the end and turned left it brought you to one of the oldest pubs in Kiddy. I'm pretty sure it was The Seven Stars but my memory is not what it was ( ain't old age a wonderful thing ? NOT ! ) It was one of my favourite watering holes and I worked there as a barman for a while. It was here I had my one and only encounter with a ghost. Going back the other way, (behind camera) up Blackwell Street, on the right was Brooks Bros. fruit and veg merchant. It was here that I got my first driving job delivering produce around Worcestershire and leading me into the haulage industry where I spent most of my working life.
Kidderminster & local memories
Read and share memories of Kidderminster and Worcestershire inspired by Frith photos.
Dear old Kiddy. My youth and teenage years during the late 1950s and early 1960' spent here. I remember a busy medium sized market town. Full employment was provided by the numerious carpet factories, Adams, Brintons, Carpet Trades, CM Co., Victoria and many more. Dozens and dozens of thriving shops all the way from the railway station, down Station Hill, along Oxford Street and Vicar Street. The High Street, Blackwell Street. Mill Street and Worcester Street. Dozens of great pubs and, in those days, four cinemas to choose from The Central, The Futurist, The Grand and The Empire, the last one with the reputation as the town "flea pit". These provided a wealth of entertainment for Friday and Saturday nights not to mention a large choice of dance venues everywhere from The Baths (during the winter ) to The Florence Ballroom, from Frank Freeman's dance studios to The Black Horse Hotel plus various church halls. Lord, we just didn't know how lucky we were. Does anyone out there remember... Read more
Being A Nuisance in The Tower
Aged about 12, I remember once creeping up the spiral staircase in the tower and banging on the door of the 6th form common room, just to annoy the prefects, then legging it and being chased by some big ugly mush. About 15 years later, I was back, with my elder brother, registering my dad's death in what had been my classroom in my first year at KC1. They used to seat us alphabetically: Tyler, Walker, Whittingslow: we had the 3 desks right by the windows.
My First Trip to England
My parents were both born in Kidderminster, one in 1937 and the other in 1938. They married in 1957 and came to America in 1958, my first trip was to Kidderminster in 1965. So I have many fond memories as a child being there and meeting my family for the first time. I traveled back many times and have heard numerous stories of Kiddy. My mother was a colour picker and my father a weaver at Brintons. Perhaps you know the last name of Conway, that is my father. The whole family worked at Brintons. Though I did not grow up there the stories of my parents home and growing up there are too numerous to mention. Actually my mom passed in 1998 and I came to England, to Broadwaters Park and scattered her ashes in the dingle. My granddad's favourite pub was the Yew Tree and many a cold pint I had in that pub. My plan is to travel once agan to Kidderminster with my 10... Read more
Then & Now
I remember during my teens to early twenties there always seemed to be gigs on. From The Green Man (where it must be said, I really shouldn't have been, not then being 18), where it was very bluesy music, plus of course the mighty Monty Woodpigs disco. With Joe boogying away behind the bar whilst serving. Obviously the Black Horse was another favourite along with Frank's just up the road, ah heady memories. I cannot leave out the Farmer's Boy, (now a vets; - duh WTF?), where bands were a regular event. Ok most of them were the same guys playing under different hats, Streets Ahead, Liquid Lil & The Lillettes, among others. I think it was probably there that I first met John Combe, a great man who almost single handidly helped make Kidder a great place to be, (and whom I helped out with at the Irish Club along with Mick Vaux (hope I spelled that right man).) I recently returned to Kidder after a long spell... Read more
Ah. 1965. I was 23 when this photo was taken. How many times did I walk up this street? MacFisheries on the left, a little further up on the same side was the Futurist Cinema with its long entrance lobby with a number of display cases featuring stills and posters from forthcoming films, does anyone remember them? Many a pleasant evening was spent in the back row of the stalls with various girlfriends. Happy days. Woolworths and (I think) W.H. Smiths a little further up still.
My dear old hometown. I was 18 when this picture was taken. The Swan pub is on the left, and the Co-Op is where the blinds are. Just around the corner from The Swan was a broad flight of steps leading up into the market hall. Just past those steps, in the corner, was a narrow alleyway leading into Worcester Street. Just out of shot, on the right are The Town Hall and The Corn Exchange where early pop concerts were staged. I must have seen a few acts there but the only ones I can remember now were: Gene Vincent, Screaming Lord Sutch and Brian Poole and the Tremaloes. Carry on past the Corn Exchance and you came to Brinton's carpet factory. Many a Friday (or was it Saturday?) night was spent at the dances in their large canteen. Happy days and oh, my lost youth ! Does anyone else remember those days?
My first job after leaving school at 15 was at Lipton's grocers. Their shop was at the top of the High Street on the right, between Marks & Spencer and Timothy Whites. The top of the street was a t-junction, you turned left for Blackwell Street and right for Worcester Street. I think the building at the end with the pillars was The Red Lion pub. I may be wrong but I seem to have a memory of a bank near the pub being robbed by a gang who broke through from an adjacent building over a weekend. Did I dream that one or does anyone else recall it ?
Several of my Tarbox ancestors were baptised at St. Mary's. William Tarbox, b. 1849 (wife Helen Pitt Cooke) lived on Broad Street and he worked as a weaver. He left for NYC in 1880, leaving his wife and 5 children in the workhouse! She followed several years later. I was lucky enough to be able to visit Kidderminster and the church in 2001 and the cemetery where some of my relatives are buried.
St Mary's Church, Kidderminster
Research into my Family History tells me that my great, great, great grandfather (John Henry Erskine) was baptised at St Mary's Church on 30th December 1836. His parents, John Erskine and Sarah Cook were married in the same church on 25th October 1829. John, husband of Sarah, was born in 1798 and worked locally as a Weaver. I know that John Henry had many children who were eventually orphaned around 1874 when he died in a Typhus Epidemic in Manchester. Some survived though, including a son which led to my branch of the family. If anyone knows of any further information regarding this family, I would love to hear from them.
Walking Home in The Dark
Before we were married my then fiance used to live on the Birmingham road and this scene was on my route home often around midnight. Then it was in the process of change from the road works that resulted in the ring road. The scene resembled terrific desolation and required careful negotiation of the canal bank being unlit and very slippery.
In 2006 we rented a canal cruiser and wanted to stay here for a couple of days right where that barge is in the photo. The rental company warned us away because it was unsafe due to the risk from local vandals. Poor old Kiddy and poor old England have not fared well over the last 40+ years.
I once found the long lost "Blackwell" in Blackwell Street, Kidderminster......It was very large, and very deep..... it was around 1967-68 time! We had to locate it as it was somewhere beneath the location of the proposed Swan Shopping Precinct! It turned out to be right where one of the extreme corner posts of the project was.....I then supervised the heavy duty capping of it, prior to erecting the corner column up from it! When located, we excavated down, and found that it was covered in long 12" x 12" timber baulks, laid side by side, and covered in heavy duty steel plates.....
Lived Wolverley - Just a few items on Kiddr from dim recall
-town cinema - a screening of a western, Jeff Chandler as Indian warrior - Cochise?
-a bigtop circus - Billy Smart or similar, at top of the big hill nr rly Station
-dentist in the dip between hospital and main square - vile experience of gas
-entire Stour valley flooded across its full width, circa 1952?
-plenty of barges still pop-pop-popping along the canal, farmers trailers full of sugarbeet
-the quaint BR diesel railcars at the Station
I met my very first girlfriend on the - swings wonder if she remembers, Gillian Farmer, lived in Brinton Crescent I think.
My father used to sell ice-cream in Brinton Park, Dennis Keen was his name. We lived off Hoo Road on Vicarage Crescent. I remember visiting my grandmother on Baxter Avenue, and there was a sweet shop on the corner; does anyone remember this shop? My grandfather, John Keen, worked for the Corporation, does anyone remember him? Kidderminster is not the prettiest town in England and has been vandalised by so called town planners over the years but I still visit often and it means a lot to me.
Kidderminster Year of Being A Resident
Towards the end of 1968 my husband had to complete a year's site experience and his placement was at Kiddie. We left our home in Kent and moved up. After searching for rented accommodation we were lucky enough to be able to rent a council flat on the 11th floor of the blocks of flats down at Hoo.
We moved in and I went to the job centre looking for work. They had nothing and I was surprised when they told me I could sign up for unemployment pay. Every Friday I would join the queue to sign and collect my money - I hated this as I did not like being on the dole.
I applied for a job I found in the local paper with Thompkinson Carpets - I was thrilled when I was given he position to assisting Mrs Dawes the personnel officer.
I worked in the office which was in the gate keeper's lodge. One of my weekly jobs was writing names on the cards... Read more