The Info List - Droitwich Spa

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DROITWICH SPA (often abbreviated to Droitwich or D'town) is a town in northern Worcestershire
, England, on the River Salwarpe .

The town was called Salinae in Roman times, then later called Wyche, derived from the Anglo Saxon Hwicce kingdom, referred to as "Saltwich" according to Anglo Saxon charters, with the Droit (meaning "right") added when the town was given its charter on 1 August 1215 by King John . The "Spa" was added in the 19th century when John Corbett developed the town's spa facilities. The River Salwarpe running through Droitwich is likely derived from Sal meaning "salt" and weorp which means "to throw up" i.e. "the river which throws up salt" which overflows from the salt brines.

Droitwich is within the Wychavon
area – the only Midlands area to be in the Halifax 'Quality of Life Survey' of 2011. It was 6th overall.

On 4 November 2013 Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
Town Council made Max Sinclair an honorary Freeman of the town in recognition of the major role he played in the restoration of Droitwich Canals .

The town is situated on massive deposits of salt, and salt has been extracted there since ancient times. The natural Droitwich brine contains 2½ lbs. of salt per gallon – ten times stronger than sea water and rivalled only by the Dead Sea
Dead Sea


* 1 History

* 1.1 Salt and brine * 1.2 Asylums and workhouses

* 2 Industry and commerce

* 2.1 Transport * 2.2 Broadcasting * 2.3 Retail

* 3 Amenities

* 3.1 Lido
* 3.2 Entertainment * 3.3 Arts in the area * 3.4 Droitwich Spa High School and feeder establishments plus other schools

* 4 Places of worship * 5 Sport * 6 Location * 7 Notable residents * 8 Twin towns * 9 References * 10 Further reading * 11 External links


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During the Roman era the settlement was known as Salinae and was located at the crossroads of several Roman roads . Railway construction in 1847 revealed Roman mosaic pavements, and later excavations unearthed a Roman villa or corridor house some 44 yards (40 metres) long.

Droitwich remained a fairly small town until the 1960s, when the population was still barely 7,000, but since then it has grown considerably from overspill from Birmingham
with many housing estates being developed in the 1970s and '80s. In 2014, new housing consent was granted to large developments at Copcut (750 houses) and Yew Tree Hill (765 houses) with a number of other in-fill developments

In July 2007, Droitwich was hit heavily by the UK-wide flooding caused by some of the heaviest rainfall in many years. The flooding was pictured in UK-wide news, having flooded the majority of the heavily subsided high street. Many shops in the high street remained closed almost a year later. The flooding crossed from the stream and canal in Vines Park, crossed Roman Way, and spilled across to the High Street some 110 yards from the source stream.

Following specialist inspections at Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
Brine Baths on 12 December 2008, the facility was closed to allow further building investigations to take place and to avoid any potential hazard to the public or staff.


Saltworkers by British sculptor John McKenna in the town centre.

Rock salt and brine was extracted by the Romans and this continued through to the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
. A salt tax was levied by the king until it was abolished in 1825. A local family named Wintour
owned up to 25 salt evaporating pans in the area by the 1600s.

Brine rose naturally to the surface at three sites along the River Salwarpe within Vines Park in the centre of Droitwich. Unusually the brine was fully saturated with sodium chloride, and was extremely valuable because it was economic to boil, and the yield of salt was high. Because of its value the brine was divided into shares, one share comprising 6,912 gallons which produced eight tons of salt annually in the set boiling period. When it rained, particularly in the winter when brine was not being boiled, the rain water which is less dense that saltwater, settled on top of the brine and was readily removed.

Originally brine for boiling was extracted with buckets lowered into the pits which were naturally replenished. Upwich, the deepest of the three pits at 30 feet, supplied most of the brine, while the pit at Netherwich was only 18 feet deep. The Middlewich pit, located between the two, was adversely affected by brine extraction at the other two pits and fell into disuse. Steynor in the 17th century discovered the pit and set up business for himself, but eventually due to the lack of brine he failed to compete with the town monopoly.

The underground brine reservoirs were only 200 feet deep and in 1725 bore-holes were sunk to the base of the pits, accessing brine in almost unlimited quantities and independent of the natural brine flow, and the monopoly ceased. With this production increased and pumps were used to draw brine, however, as a result parts of the town succumbed to subsidence.

In the mid-19th century, Droitwich became famous as a Spa town . Unlike other places, the medicinal benefits were not derived from drinking the spa water, which is almost saturated brine, but from the muscular relief derived from swimming and floating in such a dense, concentrated salt solution, at the town's brine baths (first opened in 1830). The spa water at Droitwich is the warmest in the United Kingdom outside Bath , but it does not meet the most common definition of a hot spring as the water is below standard human body temperature.

The original Brine Baths have long since closed, but a new brine bath (part of the Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
private hospital) opened to the public for relaxation and hydrotherapy. But this too was closed in December 2008 due to a dispute between the operator and Wychavon
District Council over health and safety inspections.

The salt industry was industrialised and developed in the 19th century by John Corbett who built the nearby Chateau Impney
Chateau Impney
for his Franco-Irish wife in the French 'château' style. He was responsible for the redevelopment of Droitwich as a Spa.

Opened in the 1930s was the town's lido , a large open-air swimming pool, which used diluted brine from beneath the town. After many years of closure it was reopened in 2006. See: Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa


Droitwich's first workhouse was set up on Holloway in 1688 and were finally abolished in the 1920s.

Droitwich Lunatic Asylum was established in 1791. Records at the Worcestershire
County Record Office show its presence in 1837 to 1838. An advert in the Transactions of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association (the forerunner of the British Medical Association
British Medical Association
) in 1844, records that Martin Ricketts, of Droitwich, was the Surgeon and Sir Charles Hastings from the Worcester
Infirmary was the Physician.



Droitwich transmitting station , Wychbold Droitwich Spa High Street on St. Richard\'s Day 2009

In 1714 the first Turnpike in Worcestershire
was opened to Worcester . A commemorative plaque was unveiled by Lt. Col. Patrick Holcroft the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire
in Victoria Square on 1st June 2014.

Collectively known as the Droitwich Canal , two canals met in the town centre. These are the Droitwich Barge Canal
built by James Brindley in 1771 and the Droitwich Junction Canal
built in 1854. The Junction canal linked Droitwich to the Worcester
and Birmingham
Canal . The canals were abandoned in 1939 but a restoration program saw them re-opened in 2011.

The railway station , formerly on the Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway
, is just outside the town centre with trains to Birmingham
, Worcester
, Kidderminster
and Stourbridge


3 mi (5 km) north-east of Droitwich is the central longwave broadcasting facility for the UK, ( Wychbold BBC
transmitter), which is also used for transmissions in the medium wave range; see Droitwich transmitting station . It was sited near Droitwich because the huge block of underground salt provided a good ground earth and increased signal strength.


Droitwich shopping is mainly focused in the traditional town centre around Victoria Square, leading to the St Andrew's Square shopping centre and down to the original High Street, with its local pubs and an eclectic mix of traditional shops. Farmers\' markets are also held regularly in Victoria Square.

In the central St Andrew's Square shopping precinct are several chain stores. On 14 July 2005, Waitrose opened a new supermarket in the grounds of the old covered market, directly behind the heavily-subsided High Street. Also, in early 2008, a new Aldi store opened on the small retail park by Roman Way while the new Parkridge Retail Park was opened in late autumn 2007 with two new stores, Carpetright and Land of Leather . There is now also a Horsatack Saddlery store on the same park, which was opened in 2009. The park already has DFS and Homebase
stores. There is also a Spar on Oakland Avenue, a Tesco Express on Primsland plus a new Sainsbury\'s store and petrol station and Marks "> Chateau Impney
Chateau Impney
, near Droitwich.


The Norbury Theatre hosts regular shows year-round, including an annual pantomime, and also shows films. The Norbury has an active youth theatre for ages 12 to 18.

On the outskirts of the town is the famous Chateau Impney
Chateau Impney
, built in the style of a traditional French chateau , which is now a hotel, restaurant and conference centre. In Droitwich, the Raven Hotel is a wattle and daub hotel that holds a central position within the town.

Most of the entertainment taking place throughout the year in the town can be found on the website www.droitwichspa.com, a portal for the town of Droitwich.


Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
is rich in artistic talent, with a lively theatre, many skills active including musicians, singers, artists, sculptors, authors and poets plus numerous crafts people. The Droitwich Arts Network exists to advocate and champion the arts and crafts in Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
and to act as a collective voice for the arts. See the website: http://www.droitwichartsnetwork.org

The scope of the network includes visual arts, performing arts, photography, media, written and crafts.

The network provides an opportunity to be involved in the various events and projects that are planned in the town, and to take the opportunity to display your work, etc.


The Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
pyramid of schools works on a three tier system , with one high school : ( Droitwich Spa High School ); two middle schools (Witton Middle School and Westacre Middle School); and nine first schools (Chawson, Cutnall Green, Hindlip, Ombersley, St. Peter's, St. Joseph's (a Primary School feeding into Blessed Edward Oldcorne High School, Worcester), Tibberton, Westlands—originally Boycott Farm First School—and Wychbold First Schools). There is also the private Dodderhill School (formerly named Whitford Hall and Dodderhill), an independent school for girls from 3 to 16 years. (Some boys are present in the nursery school).

Droitwich children are also educated at schools outside the town including Worcester
's Royal Grammar School and the King\'s School , Hawford Lodge, the Grange, Bromsgrove
School with others typically travelling to Birmingham, Kidderminster, Hagley and Stourbridge
by rail.


St Peter's Church, Droitwich

There are six churches in Droitwich including the Anglican church of St Andrew's, a Norman building where St Richard was probably baptised. The church tower was demolished in the 1920s after becoming dangerous due to land subsidence . St. Augustine 's at Dodderhill , completed in 1220 and rebuilt in the 18th century on a hill, was the site of a former Roman fort and a later Anglo-Saxon church. St Peter's, built on the site of a former Saxon church, has parts, including the chancel, that date from Norman times, and has a memorial to Edward Winslow , one of the Pilgrim Fathers , who was born in the parish.

St Nicholas
St Nicholas
was built in Victorian times near the railway station ; and the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
Church of the Sacred Heart and St Catherine of Alexandria , on a building styled on the Roman basilica churches of Ravenna
in Italy, has the feature of the interior walls being covered almost entirely of mosaic and marble designed by Gabriel Pippet . There are also a number of other chapels including Methodist, Baptist and a vibrant Salvation Army
Salvation Army


Droitwich leisure centre at Briar Mill has gym facilities, sports halls, a swimming pool and squash courts . There are also outside football and astroturf pitches with floodlighting. The centre also runs a squash league. Droitwich Archery Society, based at the Droitwich Rugby Football Ground, is a target archery club that was formed in 1967, and is affiliated to The Grand National Archery Society . Other local sports include boxing , football, judo, Tae Kwon Do , Karate , Ju Jitsu and tennis.

Vines Park Bowling Club is a green bowling club situated by the canal in Vines Park. Bowling also available in the Lido
Park Droitwich Spa Pool League is headquartered at the Fox and Goose pub on Westlands.

Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
also has a cricket club in which they support four Saturday teams and two on a Sunday.


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, BRIDGNORTH Bromsgrove

Leominster , Llandrindod Wells

Studley , Stratford-upon-Avon


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* Thomas Rainsborough
Thomas Rainsborough
, a prominent figure in the English Civil War , and was the leading spokesman for the Levellers
in the Putney Debates , became MP for Droitwich in 1647. * John Bickerton , European Tour golfer * John Corbett , "Salt King" * Ashley Giles England
cricketer lives in Droitwich and in 2005 was made an honorary citizen of the town * John Heminges , born in Droitwich in about 1566, was an actor in William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
's company * Rik Mayall – actor and writer in The Comic Strip , The Young Ones , Bottom and other TV programmes, lived in Droitwich when he was a child * Matt Neal , Touring Car champion lives in Droitwich. * St Richard , Bishop of Chichester , was born in Droitwich in 1197 * Edward Winslow , one of the Pilgrim Fathers , was born in the town in 1595 * Graham Oakey , professional footballer for Coventry City
Coventry City
in the 1970s born in Droitwich in 1954 * Cyril Harrison , professional cricketer who made 17 first-class cricket appearances for the Worcestershire
County Cricket
Club in 1934 and 1935 * Charlie Green , singer known for his appearance on Britain's got talent in 2008 and now touring with Jimmy Osmond * Dean Holdsworth , former professional footballer for Wimbledon * Wesley G Clarke , Fellow CIPD * Dairy Crest Milkman , Commme onnnn commmme onnnn


See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
is twinned with:

* Bad Ems , Germany * Voiron , France, (since 2010)


* ^ "History of Droitwich Spa" at droitwichspa.com Accessed 2017-05-31 * ^ http://www.droitwichstandard.co.uk/2015/02/08/news-Can-you-help-find-Droitwich-Charter-126178.html * ^ "Can you help find 800-year-old Droitwich Town Charter?" at droitwichstandard.co.uk Accessed 2017-05-31 * ^ Full text of " Worcestershire
place names" at archive.org Accessed 2017-05-31 * ^ Name (Required): (2 January 2012). "Survey tracks quality of life". Rsnonline.org.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2013. * ^ "REAL DES RES IN HEART OF THE COUNTRY. – Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. 27 December 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2013. * ^ Max Sinclair – Freeman of Droitwich May 2014 Worcestershire I.A. & Local History Society Spring Newsletter Issue 45 p3 * ^ Salinae Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine ., Pastscape * ^ https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=zG2KDS_KUR8o.kv977xrMHu0E&hl=en * ^ "Salt and the Domesday Salinae at Droitwich, AD 674–1690: A Quantitative Analysis", Droitwich Brine Springs and Archaeological Trust with Worcestershire