In order to achieve our aim we:
- Support and promote local studies centres.
- Transcribe and preserve records.
- Publish papers of local and family history interest.
- Establish relations with other organisations with mutual interests.
- Publish a regular newsletter.
Membership includes three copies per year of our newsletter “Forest Clearing“, the opportunity to network with people having similar interests and reduced entry fee to meetings and events.
There is also a list of links to websites in the Members’ Area of the site on the Society News page.
Members of the Group are constantly researching local topics of interest, whether it be people, places or buildings. We have a growing list which can be obtained from our Chairman Norman Broadfield. Members can view this in the Members’ Area of this site.
The Group also undertakes private research and anyone wishing to avail themselves of this service should use the Contact Us page.
The Story So Far :-
The very first meeting of the Group took place in November 2006 as a result of a WEA (Workers Educational Association) course taught by Gay Hill entitled “Discovering Life in 19th Century Kidderminster”. Twelve students researched six case studies of people who actually lived in the town in 19th century. These case studies went across the social divide with two examples, one male and one female, from each of the working, middle and upper class. Everyone concerned wished to do justice to the research and in order to do so, funding was necessary to enable anything to be published. It was therefore decided to start a new group with the title of the ‘Wyre Forest Historical Research Group’.
The founding members held an open meeting in February 2007 and the Group held its first proper meeting in May 2007, launching its Constitution at the same time.
The first project undertaken was in partnership with the National Archives for Stage I of the Workhouse Correspondence entitled ‘Living the Poor Life’. This involved several members of the Group cataloguing the workhouse records for the Kidderminster Poor Law Union, held at the National Archives. This was achieved and went online in August 2010, enabling researchers to search and download them free of charge. The findings for Kidderminster were amongst those featured in a major conference in London in May 2011. It was a pilot, Midlands-based, project worked under the auspices of the British Association for Local History (BALH). A book was published in 2016.
The first local project undertaken was the transcribing and indexing of the baptisms for St Barnabas, Kidderminster 1871-1967. These were published in October 2010. Copies, for sale at meetings, were deposited in local, county and regional libraries and record offices for use by researchers.
The Group was working on transcribing the Admissions & Discharges of Kidderminster Workhouse held locally in the Library. Unfortunately, due to reorganisation some years ago, the project is on hold. If anyone wold like to help please use the Contact Us page. It was hoped to publish the results in booklet form.
Three calendars were published between 2009-2011 featuring photoraphs of local people and places. The collection of donated photographs in our archives. The first calendar was launched at the Group’s first History Day in 2008, with the help of an Xpression grant from Wyre Forest District Council and the Kidderminster Shuttle. The photographs were kindly given us to copy, by members & friends.
In 2012 the Group produced a set of notecards featuring three scenes from the area. These are featured on our Publications page. There are still a few available for sale at our meetings.
April 2016 saw the launch of the Group’s WWI Memories Booklet. This is a compelation of six talks given by members in November 2014 to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI. Each speaker related tales of a family member caught up in the conflict. Copies can be obtained from the Group for £5.
The latest publication, also on sale for £5, is ‘Discovering 19th Century Kidderminster’. It gathers together the research done in 2006-2007, on the six Kidderminster residents connected to the carpet industry. This course led to the establishing of WFHRG.
Over the years the Group has held four History Days at which local guests have spoken on far reaching topics of local interest. The last was held on Saturday 16th April 2016 in Kidderminster Town Hall.
The Group has taken part in these weekends every year since 2010 with a stand in the Town Hall.
WEST MIDLANDS FAMILY HISTORY FAIRS
These were held biennially; the most recent at Worcester Sixways – the County Rugby ground. Unfortunately this event is no longer exists.
OTHER LOCAL PROJECTS
Members of the Group were involved in various aspects of the recent Weavers’ Cottages project in the Horsefair. Some are also helping with the SVR Falling Sands Viaduct project. An ongoing project is the history of the Post Office locally and recently members have started work on researching the history of Kidderminster Town hall.