Heritage Open Days 2020

Amongst my many involvements in Redditch history, I am a volunteer at Forge Mill Needle Museum, and I organise, on behalf of the museum volunteers, our Heritage Open Day in September as part of the National ‘Heritage Open Days’ events calendar.

This has been active for many years and we have had a linked event for more than 5 years.

Heritage Open Days 2020 can be found at https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/

This year, due to the current Covid19 situation, it is not possible to have a live event.

However, Heritage Open Days decided that this year’s festival should still go ahead, as virtual on-line open days.

We have followed this route and we have a ‘virtual’ Heritage Open Day at Forge Mill Museum with virtual tours of the Abbey Site and the Needle Museum, we have showcased our regular community group supporters and there are also other activities.

Unlike the live event, the Open Day will be more than one day and will run over the full Heritage Open Day period from 11th -20th September 2020.

The link can be found on the Heritage Open Days site at

https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting/event/forge-mill-museum

Topics include:

  • Virtual guided walk around the Bordesley Abbey site
  • Virtual tour of Forge Mill Needle Museum with its working waterwheel and scouring beds
  • Online songs and music by Indigo Arts ‘lock down choir’
  • Slideshow of previous displays of motorcycles by the regional Royal Enfield Owners Club
  • Slideshow of working model boats by the Little Radford Model Boat Club
  • Slideshow of an exhibition of local art by members of the Redditch Art Circle
  • Plus ‘make your own needle maker worker’s hat’ from a newspaper, and other activities

There is a direct link to the site at http://www.hod2020.redditchmuseum.org.uk/

Anthony Green,

Redditch in the Snow – Winter 1962/63 – new book

When the snow hit Redditch, I was 19, and at the Dunlop Research Centre, near Fort Dunlop, Birmingham. Getting there was impossible, so I set out with my brother Vince to record the effect on Redditch at this time.

The winter of 1962–63, known as the Big Freeze of 1963, was one of the coldest winters on record in the United Kingdom.

Vince, at that time had a Land Rover, not a yuppie one but a real one, and we drove around the town and took photographs.

This modest book records a selection of the photographs I took with my first 35mm camera and I have added some descriptive text to give a view of the town where I grew up.

Although it is nice to wallow in nostalgia, and, despite the obvious advantages which were created by the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, a road system which was ‘fit for purpose’ and the introduction of many new businesses, it is difficult not to look back at a simpler time.

The book can be viewed at http://www.exploreredditch.org.uk/publications.htm and is the third of the, currently, five books, which I am working on.

New Publications

I am currently working on several books related to Redditch History. I am making these available as a free ‘flipbook’ or pdf download or as a printed wire loop bound book for those who want a physical copy. The prices quoted do not include p&p as I expect these to be purchased (or not) when I do a talk.

I have now published the first two of these books which are:

Redditch History Walks which is eight circular walks around Redditch ranging in length from 1 mile to 3.5 miles. There are five circular walks starting from Redditch Town Centre and three for the Arrow Valley Park. This is produced in A5 Landscape – 210mm (wide) * 148mm (high) has 38 pages with colour illustrations, the printed book (loop wire bound) is £5.00.

Essays on Redditch History which has a range of essays covering different aspects of the history of Redditch. It includes a timeline of the history of the town and one relating specifically to WW2. This is in A5 Portrait – 148mm (wide) * 210mm (high) with 110 pages with b/w illustrations the printed Book (loop wire bound) £7.00.

The books can be viewed at http://www.exploreredditch.org.uk/publications.htm

WW2 Redditch Manufacturers

I managed to complete the third of the documents produced by Redditch manufacturers showing their work during WW2 for today, VE Day.

This concerns the new factory built by BSA on the Studley Road to manufacture the BESA machine gun for the British military. They had the contract in early 1938 and began building the same year. By July 1939 they had produced the first working machine gun off the production line.

This document was produced by the BSA to mark that event and I scanned it to images about 10 years ago for a WW2 event.  I do not have an original version and so I am not sure if I have the correct page order.nevertheless, from the images I produced a PDF and, converted that to a ‘flip book’.

You can find and read these documents from Britannia Batteries, the Royal Enfield and the BSA at:

http://redditchhistory.com/publications.htm

Royal Enfield WW2 Document

I have created a new ‘flip book’ from a document produced by the Royal Enfield during WW2.

Royal Enfield had an important role to play during WW2 in producing, as well as bicycles and motorcycles, much specialised equipment . To meet the demand they established satellite factories both within and outside the local area.

I have scanned this 44 page document to produce a PDF and, finally to a ‘flip book’ which gives the appearance of a book.

I have now placed both this and the Britannia Batteries document on my Redditch History site at http://redditchhistory.com/publications.htm

WW2 Document ‘Front Line Current’ Britannia Batteries.

We are approaching 75 years since we celebrated the end of war in Europe and plans were in place to have a celebration this year. Before coronavirus, these were in place to mark the event, both in the UK and our European colleagues, and the government changed the Early May Bank Holiday to the VE weekend of the 8 May.

However, now we have other, more pressing problems to consider, and the preferred method of contact is via the internet.

I have therefore been looking at my personal archives to see what I have which may be relevant to this situation and I have some documents produced by our local manufacturers which may be of some interest.

The first of these, and the smallest file size, is a document entitled ‘Front Line Current’ from Britannia Batteries which describes the activities in WW2. I have produced this as a ‘flip-book’ which you can download at http://www.alcadhistory.org.uk/extras.htm

If you have problems with this not working as a link, and I have found a problem with the link from the smartphone version then you can view directly at http://alcadhistory.org.uk/flipbook_front_line_current/mobile.html

I have more downloads which I plan, always subject to ‘problems’, before VE Day.

New ‘Flip-Book’ of NiCad Manual

I have continued to work on the document supplied to me by Jean Asher, the daughter of W.S. Thomson who worked at ‘The Batteries’ at Hunt End and Union Street from 1938 to 1972. He produced a manuscript ‘Nickel-Cadmium vented pocket plate storage batteries.’ for the publisher McGraw Hill which was never published. Jane supplied me with a photocopy of the manuscript which I have scanned and using OCR (Optical character recognition) converted to a Word file and then to a PDF.

I have now gone a step further and converted the PDF into an on-line ‘flip book’ which gives the look and feel of a ‘real’ book.

You can view this from a link on the ‘extras’ page on the website.

http://www.alcadhistory.org.uk/extras.htm

Please scroll down to the bottom to find it and let me know if you find that this interesting.

Nickel-Cadmium vented pocket plate storage batteries.

I have been working on a document supplied to me by Jean Asher who is the daughter of W.S. Thomson who worked at ‘The Batteries’ at Hunt End and Union Street from 1938 to 1972.  He produced a manuscript ‘‘Nickel-Cadmium vented pocket plate storage batteries.’  for the publisher McGraw Hill which was never published. Jane has supplied me with a photocopy of the manuscript which I have scanned and using OCR (Optical character recognition) converted to a Word file and then to a PDF.

With plenty of time to spare as I am self-isolating, I have now finished this and it is now available as a downloadable pdf.

This is rather a specialist area and there will be only limited interest, but I think that it is important that technical information of this type should not be lost and will be available for future historians. I have added a short history of the ‘batteries’ over this period and Jane has produced a biography of her father.

It is a pdf file with bookmarks to all the major topics and is best viewed with a desktop pdf reader such as Adobe Acrobat Reader rather than a browser pdf reader.

You can download the document (pdf size 6.2 MB) from the ‘extras’ page on the website.

http://www.alcadhistory.org.uk/extras.htm

scroll down to the bottom to find it.

V2 rocket battery 1945.

I am currently working on converting a document supplied to me by Jean Asher who is the daughter of W.S. Thomson who worked at ‘The Batteries’ at Hunt End and Union Street from 1938 to 1972. He produced a manuscript ‘‘Nickel-Cadmium vented pocket plate storage batteries.’  for the publisher McGraw Hill which was never published. This is rather a specialist area and there will be only limited interest, but I think that it is important that technical information of this type should not be lost and will be available for future historians. Jean has supplied me with the original manuscript which I am scanning and using OCR (Optical character recognition) to convert to a Word file and then to a PDF. This is quite time consuming, but I plan to publish this as a downloadable pdf later in the year.

Meanwhile, Jean has passed to me several communications received by her father including the post war tests carried out on the V2 rocket.

The communication says…

‘T am writing to thank you for your efforts in supplying batteries for the rocket experiments made in Germany. The batteries arrived on time, gave the desired performance and created a very favourable impression amongst the German staff. Will you please accept the enclosed with my very best wishes, as a small memento of your co—operation.’

This was probably ‘Top Secret’ at the time but is significant that our Redditch battery manufacturer was called upon to supply batteries to support the initial development of the post war rocket development.

As we all know, Wernher von Braun and over 100 key German engineers were moved to the United States and others moved to the United Kingdom and , particularly, the USSR, where they further developed the V-2 rocket for military and civilian purposes. The V-2 rocket also laid the foundation for the liquid fuel missiles and space launchers used later.

Anthony Green

Alcad History News

Two things concerning my Alcad History site http://www.alcadhistory.org.uk/

I had this nice e-mail from India….

‘I am Sunil Trikha from India. I visited Alcad thrice in 1980s in connection with transfer of technology for Punjab Power Pack. I have many pleasant memories.

I still remember my friends Mr. David Way, Mr. Cummins & Mr Tony Gray. I learnt a lot from them.

During my first visit Alcad was at its peak with Carpentry shop, component production shop & tool room.   It is great to find that you are keeping memories of ALCAD alive.

Wishing you best of health. SUNIL TRIKHA’

I well remember visiting India in the 1980s to resolve a battery problem in a nuclear power station and visiting important customers such as the railways. I found the people there friendly and helpful and it has some good memories. I still have some mementos which live in my living room to remind me of the time.

I have also been working on a document supplied to me by Jane Asher who is the daughter of W.S.Thomson  who worked at ‘The Batteries’ at Hunt End and Union Street from 1938 to 1972. He produced a manuscript ‘‘Nickel-Cadmium vented pocket plate storage batteries.’  for the publisher McGraw Hill which was never published.

Jane has supplied me with the original manuscript which I am scanning and using OCR (Optical character recognition) to convert to a Word file and then to a PDF. I will have to recreate the graphs, etc, into a modern format and I will then publish this as a downloadable pdf.

This is rather a specialist area and there will be only limited interest, but I think that it is important that technical information of this type should not be lost and will be available for future historians.

I plan to work on this over the winter when there is less to do in the garden and at Forge Mill Needle Museum.

Tony Green