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Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
(often abbreviated to Droitwich) is a town in northern Worcestershire, England, on the River Salwarpe. The town was called Salinae[1] in Roman times, then later called Wyche, derived from the Anglo Saxon Hwicce
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.[2][3] 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.[4] Droitwich is within the Wychavon
Wychavon
area – the only Midlands area to be in the Halifax 'Quality of Life Survey' of 2011.[5] It was 6th overall.[6] 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.[7] 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.

Contents

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
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

History[edit]

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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
Roman villa
or corridor house some 44 yards (40 metres) long.[8] 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
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[9] 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
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. Salt and brine[edit]

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. 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
Brine
rose naturally to the surface at three sites along the River Salwarpe
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.[10] 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
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
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
Lido Asylums and workhouses[edit] Droitwich's first workhouse was set up on Holloway in 1688[11] and were finally abolished in the 1920s. Droitwich Lunatic Asylum was established in 1791. Records at the Worcestershire
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) in 1844, records that Martin Ricketts, of Droitwich, was the Surgeon and Sir Charles Hastings
Sir Charles Hastings
from the Worcester
Worcester
Infirmary was the Physician. Industry and commerce[edit] Transport[edit]

Droitwich transmitting station, Wychbold

Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
High Street on St. Richard's Day 2009

In 1714 the first Turnpike in Worcestershire
Worcestershire
was opened to Worcester. A commemorative plaque was unveiled by Lt. Col. Patrick Holcroft the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire
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
Canal
built by James Brindley
James Brindley
in 1771 and the Droitwich Junction Canal
Canal
built in 1854. The Junction canal linked Droitwich to the Worcester
Worcester
and Birmingham
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, is just outside the town centre with trains to Birmingham, Worcester, Kidderminster
Kidderminster
and Stourbridge. Broadcasting[edit] 3 mi (5 km) north-east of Droitwich is the central longwave broadcasting facility for the UK, ( Wychbold
Wychbold
BBC
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.[citation needed][12] Retail[edit] 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
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
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
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
Homebase
stores. There is also a Spar on Oakland Avenue, a Tesco Express
Tesco Express
on Primsland plus a new Sainsbury's
Sainsbury's
store and petrol station and Marks & Spencer's store and petrol station being constructed. Banks in the town include NatWest, HSBC, Santander, Lloyds TSB, Halifax and Barclays. NatWest
NatWest
have announced the closure of their Droitwich Branch on 8th June 2017.[13]There are a number of estate agents. Amenities[edit] Lido[edit] Until the late 1990s Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
Lido was open as a public open-air salt-water swimming pool. Following its closure various schemes were proposed, with significant legal and commercial arguments as to the viability of re-building and reopening this facility. During autumn of 2006, work started on renovating the lido and it was reopened on Monday 18th June 2007. The Lido Park remains a pleasant and popular space, with Droitwich Cricket
Cricket
Ground on its edge as well as a bandstand with regular performances.[citation needed]

Chateau
Chateau
Impney, near Droitwich.

Entertainment[edit] 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
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. Arts in the area[edit] 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. Droitwich Spa High School
Droitwich Spa High School
and feeder establishments plus other schools[edit] The Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
pyramid of schools works on a three tier system, with one high school: ( Droitwich Spa
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
Wychbold
First Schools). There is also the private Dodderhill
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
Hawford
Lodge, the Grange, Bromsgrove
Bromsgrove
School with others typically travelling to Birmingham, Kidderminster, Hagley and Stourbridge
Stourbridge
by rail. Places of worship[edit]

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.[14] The church tower was demolished in the 1920s after becoming dangerous due to land subsidence.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16] St Nicholas
St Nicholas
was built in Victorian times
Victorian times
near the railway station;[17] 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
Ravenna
in Italy, has the feature of the interior walls being covered almost entirely of mosaic and marble designed by Gabriel Pippet.[18] There are also a number of other chapels including Methodist, Baptist and a vibrant Salvation Army
Salvation Army
hall. Sport[edit] 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
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. Location[edit]

Destinations from Droitwich Spa

Kidderminster, Bridgnorth Bromsgrove, Dudley Redditch, Birmingham

Leominster, Llandrindod Wells

Droitwich Spa

Studley, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick

Worcester, Malvern, Hereford Worcester, Tewkesbury, Gloucester, Bristol Alcester, Evesham, Witney, Oxford

Notable residents[edit]

Thomas Rainsborough, a prominent figure in the English Civil War, and was the leading spokesman for the Levellers
Levellers
in the Putney Debates, became MP for Droitwich in 1647. John Bickerton, European Tour golfer John Corbett, "Salt King" Ashley Giles
Ashley Giles
England
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's company Rik Mayall
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
Worcestershire
County Cricket
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

Twin towns[edit] See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in the United Kingdom Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
is twinned with:

Bad Ems, Germany Voiron, France, (since 2010)[19][20]

References[edit]

^ "History of Droitwich Spa" at droitwichspa.com Accessed 2017-05-31 ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 February 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2015.  ^ "Can you help find 800-year-old Droitwich Town Charter?" at droitwichstandard.co.uk Accessed 2017-05-31 ^ Full text of " Worcestershire
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
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
Brine
Springs and Archaeological Trust with Worcestershire
Worcestershire
Archaeological Society (1994) ^ The workhouse: Droitwich, Worcestershire
Worcestershire
at workhouses.org.uk Accessed 2017-05-31 ^ Hereford
Hereford
and Worcester
Worcester
> About Worcestershire
Worcestershire
>"Droitwich calling" (comment by Max Sinclair, ref. 'Mr Humphreys... station engineer'), 2005/10/21, at bbc.co.uk Accessed 2017-05-31 ^ Matthew Dresch: " NatWest
NatWest
branches to close in Malvern and Droitwich Spa causing concern among residents" 5th December 2016, at worcesternews.co.uk Accessed 2017-05-31 ^ a b St Andrew's, Droitwich Archived 29 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 8 February 2010 ^ Dodderhill
Dodderhill
Parish Survey Project. Archived 3 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 8 February 2010 ^ Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
Parish, St Peter's Archived 28 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine., Retrieved 8 February 2010 ^ Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
Parish, St Nicholas
St Nicholas
Archived 29 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 8 February 2010 ^ Sacred Heart, Droitwich. Archived 10 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 8 February 2010 ^ "45 ans de jumelage : Histoire de cités Le jumelage à Voiron" [45 years of twinning: The history of Voiron's twin towns]. Voiron Hôtel de Ville [ Voiron
Voiron
council] (in French). Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013.  ^ " Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
Voiron
Voiron
à l'heure anglaise" [Droitwich Spa, UK: Twin town of Voiron]. Voiron
Voiron
Hôtel de Ville [ Voiron
Voiron
council] (in French). Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

St Peter's Church, Droitwich (www.amazon.co.uk) – ISBN 978-1-4680-2879-9 Around Droitwich (Archive Photograph Series) – ISBN 0-7524-0747-3 Droitwich in Old Photographs – ISBN 0-86299-421-7 The Droitwich Discovery – ISBN 0-573-12146-X

External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Droitwich.

Droitwich Spa
Droitwich Spa
Town Council website

v t e

Settlements in the Wychavon
Wychavon
district

Towns

Droitwich Spa Evesham Pershore

Villages

Ab Lench Abberton Abbots Morton Aldington Aston Somerville Ashton under Hill Atch Lench Badsey Beckford Bengeworth Besford
Besford
Bridge Besford Bickmarsh Birlingham Bishampton Blackminster Bradley Green Bredon Bretforton Bricklehampton Broadway Broughton Hackett Charlton Cleeve Prior Conderton Crossway Green Defford Dodderhill Drakes Broughton Dunhampstead Dunhampton Eckington Elmbridge Elmley Castle Fernhill Heath Fladbury Flyford Flavell Grafton Flyford Grafton Great Comberton Hadzor Hampton Hanbury Hartlebury Harvington Hatfield Hawbridge Hawford Himbleton Hinton-on-the-Green Holberrow Green Holt Fleet Honeybourne Huddington Kemerton Kersoe Kington Little Comberton Littleworth Martin Hussingtree Mere Green Murcot Netherton North and Middle Littleton North Piddle Norton Oddingley Offenham Ombersley Overbury Pebworth Pensham Peopleton Pinvin Pirton Salwarpe Sedgeberrow South Littleton Strensham Throckmorton Tibberton Upton Snodsbury Upton Warren Wadborough White Ladies Aston Whittington Wick Wickhamford Wychbold Wyre Piddle

Civil parishes

Civil parishes in the

.