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.
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:
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 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.
‘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.
Andy Green sent me a nice picture of his mother’s Snooding
Hook which is used to create the incredible range of fishing flies which were
produced in the town.
Andy told me that she used to tie the tiniest of hooks by
the gross on this, working for Taylor (Taylor Made) as ‘out work’ in the
I have seen fly tying demonstrations at Forge Mill Needle
Museum and at Redditch Local History Society from retired Redditch exponents
and it is fascinating and highly skilled.
Andy contacted me as he found my ‘Brief Introduction to the Fishhook Industry in Redditch’ presentation in my Industry page of my History of Redditch website, and, I am pleased to say, how much he enjoyed it. http://redditchhistory.com/industry.htm
It is always very gratifying to get feedback from visitors.
I had an interesting morning on Saturday 25th May with the Scour team and artist Andrew Howe exploring the historic landscape of the Bordesley Abbey site. This one of the range of workshops organised by the Scour team which can be found at http://www.forgemill.org.uk/web/events/
The participants were a nice group and it was a pleasure to
explain the history of the area during the walk. The walk is only 2 miles (3 km)
but we took about 2 hours to cover the terrain as the purpose was to thoroughly
explore the terrain and the relationship to its history. For me, it was
excellent to interact with such a motivated group.
In the afternoon they went on to make some interesting
artwork and it is planned to publish a small magazine about the walk which will
include these and some of the history.
I am involved in the one day art work and workshop at Forge
Mill on the 25th May 2019 where we explore the local landscape with
a gentle 2 hour walk with myself and artist Andrew Howe followed by a workshop.
Details can be found on the poster and from the Scour website (above)
The image was taken by the late Philip Davis, who was for
many years the Local Historian at Redditch Public Library (a post that has long
since disappeared), and a stalwart supporter of the history of our town.
This is specifically designed to support the activities of
the Forge Mill Needle Museum http://www.forgemill.org.uk/
from the point of view of the volunteers at the museum who are active in
promoting the Abbey ruins.
Next year we are planning to have a special weekend; Bordesley Weekend’, linked to the ‘Festival of Archaeology; organised by the Council for British Archaeology http://www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk/