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The Penny Black

Discover the history of Kidderminster.

14–18 Bull Ring, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, DY10 2AZ
The modern postal system was born when Rowland Hill introduced his famous Penny Black postage stamp in 1840. Posting a letter was made much easier after the introduction of the Penny Black, the world’s first prepaid postage stamp. Today, a larger-than-life statue of Kidderminster’s most famous son stands outside the town hall, a short walk from this pub.

A print of Rowland Hill.

A native of Kidderminster, and the ‘Father of the modern postal system’.

Prints, illustrations and text about Caldwell Castle.

The text reads: Next to the Fire Station in Castle Road you will find a well-preserved octagonal tower dating from the 14th century. It stands on the site of the sub-manor of Kidderminster called Coldwell, after the de Caldwell family. By 1347 what is now known as Caldwell Castle was owned by the Cokeseys of Upton Warren, one of the wealthiest and most influential families in the country. They built a moated castle and Sir Walter Cokesey of Caldwall Castle died in 1498 with no heirs. The castle passed to another Worcestershire family, the Winters. Then, in 1589, it was purchased by Francis Clare. When Francis died his son Sir Ralph Clare inherited. About 1700 a nephew of Sir Ralph built a three storey hall adjoining the Medieval Castle Tower. Kidderminster Town Council demolished the hall in 1961. In 1977 the tower itself was saved from demolition. The deteriorating tower and garden, with its 200 year old Tulip tree, were purchased in 1998, and renovated. Cokesey and Clare tombs and memorials can be seen in the chancel of St Mary’s Parish Church.

A print and text about the Severn Valley Railway.

The text reads: The SVR is a steam-hauled railway line, running from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth. It was rescued from closure by enthusiasts, who formed the SVR Society in Kidderminster in 1965. The first section, between Hampton Loade and Bridgnorth, re-opened in 1970.

The original SVR was a 40-mile line from Hartlebury to Shrewsbury, which was completed in 1862. It was soon taken over by the Great Western Railway Company, which built a link from Bewdley to Kidderminster in 1878. The GWR already had a station in Kidderminster, which had been built in 1854 by the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway.

The OW&WR was taken over in 1860 by the West Midland Railway, which was in turn absorbed by the GWR in the late 1860s.

Traffic was mainly freight, particularly via mineral lines from Billingsley and Alveley Collieries. Coal traffic continued until 1969, but passenger services fell victim to Doctor Beeching’s Axe in 1963, and the tracks beyond Bridgnorth were removed.

The new SVR survives as a tourist attraction, and often appears in films and television programmes.

Above: The Railway Station, c1880.

Photographs and text about Richard Baxter.

The text reads: In 1541 Richard Baxter was appointed curate of Kidderminster Church. Although a chaplain to the Parliamentary army during the English Civil War, he was an advocate for religious co-existence. Of his 168 published works, 60 were issues whilst he lived here in High Street. He preached and taught in Kidderminster until the monarchy was restored in 1660. He left Kidderminster in 1662, the same year as he married Margaret Charlton, who was living here with her mother. He was later imprisoned and tried for sedition before the infamous Judge Jeffries, when his fees for counsel were paid by Thomas Doolittle of Kidderminster.

Baxter’s statue stood in the Bull Ring until 1667, when it was taken down and moved to the ring road outside St Mary’s Church.

External photograph of the building – main entrance.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk