Redditch – The Home of Needle Manufacturing
Hello, I’m Sharon. I live in Redditch, today I went to explore the Forge Mill Needle Museum and find out more about the History of the town in which I live. Before I tell you about the museum I will just give a brief overview of the history of Redditch…
The History of Redditch
Redditch is a small town just outside Birmingham in England. With a population of just it has always been a town associated with industry and manufacturing; from Fishing Tackle and spring making to Royal Enfield Motorcycles and push bikes. But the industry for which Redditch became world renowned in the 19th Century was needle making.
The manufacturing of needles began in the Redditch area in the 1600’s. Initially the industry was slow to grow with less than 10 million needles per week being made in Redditch in the 1700’s, but by the 1860’s Redditch dominated the production in Britain making over 100 million needles per week. In the 1841 census every man, woman and child of the population of 904 was listed as employed in a role within the needle manufacturing industry.
Needles were manufactured for numerous uses, from embroidery to hat pins and bookbinding to sewing machine needles and fish hooks and shipped around the world. Later tattoo needles, gramophone needles and surgical needles were also manufactured here. Today, Needle Industries in Studley (just outside Redditch) are the sole manufacturers of sewing needles in Britain; producing approximately 400 million needles per year.