Redditch, is a town and local government district in north-east Worcestershire, England, approximately 15 miles (24 km) south ofBirmingham. The district had a population of 84,300 in 2011. In the 19th century it became the international centre for the needle andfishing tackle industry. At one point 90% of the world’s needles were manufactured in the town and its neighbourhoods. In the 1960s it became a model for modern new town planning. It is known locally by the nickname The Ditch.
The first recorded mention of Redditch (“Red-Ditch”, thought to be a reference to the red clay of the nearby River Arrow) is in 1348, the year of the outbreak of the Black Death. During the Middle Ages it became a centre of needle-making and later prominent industries were fish-hooks, fishing tackle, motorcycles and springs, the last of which was notably undertaken by Herbert Terry and Sons. Redditch was designated a new town in 1964 and the population increased dramatically[when?] from 32,000 to around 77,000. Housing developments such as Church Hill, Matchborough, Winyates, Lodge Park and Woodrow were created to accommodate a large overspill from the industrially expanding Birmingham. Redditch was built as a “flagship” town using new methods and new town planning: all the main roads (mostly new dual carriageways as well as a ring road for the town centre) were banked to reduce noise to the new housing estates, and the whole of Redditch was landscaped.
By the 21st century needle-making and other traditional industries had been replaced by modern light industry and services, with Redditch also functioning as a dormitory town for Birmingham. The automotive retailer Halfords and engineering giant GKN both have their headquarters in Redditch. Manufacturer of precious metal contacts Samuel Taylor Ltd has manufacturing plants within the town. Following the redevelopment of the flagship Kingfisher Shopping Centre in 2002 Redditch is undergoing an economic and cultural renaissance.
The town is home to several historical sites. The National Needle Museum and the ruins of Bordesley Abbey are located in the Abbey Ward district, and the remains of a medieval moated settlement called Moons Moat are within the Church Hill estate.