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Bromsgrove - - 49016.jpg
High Street, Bromsgrove
Bromsgrove is located in Worcestershire
Population 29,237 (2001)
OS grid reference SO960708
• London 119 miles (192 km) SE
  • Bromsgrove
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district B60, B61
Dialling code 01527
Police West Mercia
Fire Hereford and Worcester
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament
  • Bromsgrove
List of places
52°20′07″N 2°03′28″W / 52.3353°N 2.0579°W / 52.3353; -2.0579

Bromsgrove is a town in Worcestershire, England, about 16 miles (26 km) north-east of Worcester and 13 miles (21 km) south-west of Birmingham city centre. It had a population of 29,237 in 2001 (39,644 in the wider Bromsgrove/Catshill urban area). Bromsgrove is the main town in the larger Bromsgrove District. In the Middle Ages it was a small market town; primarily producing cloth through the early modern period. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it became a major centre for nail making.


Bromsgrove is first documented in the early 9th century as Bremesgraf. Later in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 909 AD Bromsgrove is mentioned as Bremesburh. Then in the Domesday Book Bromsgrove is referenced as Bremesgrave. The Breme part of the place name is almost certainly an Anglo-Saxon personal name.

In the Anglo-Saxon times, Bromsgrove had a woodland economy consisting of hunting, maintenance of haies and pig farming. At the time of Edward the Confessor, the manor of Bromsgrove is known to have been held by Earl Edwin. After the conquest, Bromsgrove was held by the King. Among the manor's possessions were 13 salt pans at Droitwich, with three workers, producing 300 mits. The King had the right to sell the salt from his pans before any other salt in the town.

It was at the centre of a very large parish and its church of St John the Baptist was certainly of minster status. Bromsgrove, along with all the towns in north Worcestershire, was committed to defending the city of Worcester and is recorded to have contributed burgesses to Droitwich in 1086. There may also have been Anglo-Saxon or Norman fortifications in Bromsgrove, but other than in literature no physical archaeological evidence remains.

Bromsgrove was first granted the right to a market day in 1200, and in 1317 was given the right hold a Tuesday market and three-day fair every 29 August at the Decollation of St John the Baptist. Market day changed several times over the period, settling on Tuesday from 1792 onwards. Fairs were held twice yearly, in June and October by the eighteenth century, with the modern pleasure fairs originating from the June horse and pleasure fair.

Bromsgrove and the area surrounding it was put under forest law when the boundaries of Feckenham Forest were extended hugely by Henry II. Forest law was removed from the Bromsgrove area in 1301 in the reign of Edward I, when the boundaries were moved back.

In the later Middle Ages, Bromsgrove was a centre for the wool trade. Manufacture of cloth, particularly narrow cloth and friezes is first recorded in 1533. It fell into decline by the 1700s. By 1778, 140 hands (i.e., people) were employed in the manufacture of linsey and linen employed 180. By comparison, nail making employed 900 hands by this time.

Nail making was introduced by the French Huguenots in the 17th century and became a thriving industry. At one point Bromsgrove was the world centre of nail making. Mechanisation quickly put the industry into decline.

The Bromsgrove Union Workhouse, on the Birmingham Road, was opened in 1838 and closed in 1948 and is in use as an office building today.

In 1841, Bromsgrove railway works was established. It was primarily a maintenance facility but also built steam locomotives. The works provided employment for people in Bromsgrove. In 1964, following a reorganisation of railway workshops, the works closed and was demolished. The site is now a housing estate. One of the turntable pits still remains.

Major restoration of the Norman and 13th century St. John the Baptist church was carried out in 1858 by Sir George Gilbert Scott. In the churchyard here are the graves of two railwaymen, Tom Scaife and Joseph Rutherford who were killed when their steam locomotive blew up while climbing the steepest mainline railway gradient in England, at the nearby Lickey Incline, on 10 November 1840. The driver and his number two died instantly. St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Worcester Road was built by Gilbert Blount in 1858.

Bromsgrove was home for many years to the famous Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts, a company of craftsmen who produced many fine works of sculpture, ironwork, etc., including the gates of Buckingham Palace (whose locks are stamped with the Guild's name), the lifts on the Lusitania and the famous statue adorning the Fortune Theatre in Drury Lane.


According to the 2001 census the population of Bromsgrove is 29,237 and the population for the larger Bromsgrove District is 87,837.

In Bromsgrove, White British is by far the largest ethnicity, at 96% of the district population (87,837) with 4% (3,734) from an ethnic minority.


The solid geology of Bromsgrove is that of the Triassic (late Scythian to early Ladinian) Bromsgrove Sandstone. It shows red bed facies and was probably laid down by rivers flowing through an arid landscape or in ephemeral, shallow lakes. The uppermost beds were deposited by a brief marine transgression. The soil is very good for market gardening and growing vegetables due to Marl bands. The district is at a general elevation of between 200 feet (61 m) to 300 feet (91 m) above sea level.


Bromsgrove experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) similar to almost all of the United Kingdom.

Climate data for Bromsgrove
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7
Average low °C (°F) 3
Precipitation mm (inches) 37.6


Grafton manor
Grafton Manor

There is a statue of Alfred Edward Housman in the high street, which was erected in 1985. There is also a sculpture of a dryad and boar in the high street, commemorating the work of the Bromsgrove Guild.

Bromsgrove is home to Grafton Manor which dates back to the 14th century. It has a rich history, with one of the daughters of John Talbot married to Robert Wintour, who was involved in the Gunpowder plot.


Municipal facilities

Sanders Park Bromsgrove - - 1107696
Sanders Park

Bromsgrove has a public community library situated in the centre of the town. The library offers not only books but also music CDs, spoken word, foreign language tapes and videos & DVD for adults and children. There are 25 computers available with internet access.

Bromsgrove has a municipal park, Sanders Park. Facilities include: basketball courts, tennis courts, a skate park, children's play area and football pitches. A bonfire night is held annually with a large fireworks display and fairground rides. Other events are held such as big band afternoons featuring bands playing in the bandstand.

There is a large public leisure centre and sports centre in the town called The Dolphin Centre. It has two swimming pools and a large sports hall. Numerous activities and clubs are held here, such as the Bromsgrove Swimming Club. It is run by Wychavon Leisure and owned by Bromsgrove District Council.


Lickey incline
Bromsgrove railway station
Bromsgrove Scaife Rutherford 1840 refurbished
Graves of railway engineers Scaife and Rutherford, killed in an engine explosion in Bromsgrove station in 1840

Bromsgrove is intersected by the A38 which was bypassed to the east of the town in 1980, the M5 motorway borders the west side and the M42 motorway starts at the north of the town.

Bromsgrove railway station is situated to the south of the town. It sits at the foot of the Lickey Incline which is the steepest Incline on the British mainline network meaning most freight trains require assistance from a locomotive at the rear. Between 1919 and 1956 this was operated by a purpose built locomotive known by drivers as Big Bertha. There are frequent trains to Birmingham New Street, Worcester Foregate Street and Hereford. On 4 May 2007, Network Rail announced that a new station would be built, to replace the existing structure, at a cost in the region of £10–12 million. The station opened in July 2016.

There is also a bus station adjacent to the high street. Buses operate to a wide area of Worcestershire and the West Midlands.


State schools

Bromsgrove schools use a three-tier education system (first school, middle school, high school).

Bromsgrove has 15 first schools in its district: Lickey End First School, Finstall First School, Charford First School,Dodford First School Milfields First School, St. Peters Roman Catholic First School, Stoke Prior First School, Blackwell First School, Sidemoor First School, Catshill First School, Tardebigge CofE First School, Fairfield First School, Hanbury CofE First School and Meadows First School.

There are five Middle Schools: Alvechurch Middle School, Catshill Middle School, Aston Fields Middle School, St John's Church of England Middle School Academy, and Parkside Middle School.

There are two high schools, North Bromsgrove High School and South Bromsgrove High School opposite Charford. South Bromsgrove is a specialist school in foreign languages and I.T, noted for its extensive use of information technology. A previous headteacher, Philip McTague, was heavily involved in political action to reduce the gap in funding between Worcestershire state schools and others across the country. North Bromsgrove High School has now been classed for a specialist status in media and Creative Arts. Both were rebuilt by BAM in 2007.

Independent schools

Bromsgrove is also home to Bromsgrove School, a co-educational independent school founded in 1553 with three campuses catering for pupils from nursery to sixth-form that offers boarding facilities. Former pupils include Digby Jones, head of the CBI for many years and the actors Ian Carmichael, Richard Wattis and Trevor Eve.

Special schools

There are two special schools in Bromsgrove, one is Chadsgrove School and Specialist Sports College the other Rigby Hall School.

Further education

Bromsgrove is the main site of Heart of Worcestershire College, formerly North East Worcestershire (NEW) College until the 1 August 2014 following a merger. In May 2011, NEW College built a motorcycle academy with a £1.7 million grant from Advantage West Midlands, it has been extensively equipped by Harley Davidson.


Bromsgrove is home to:

  • Bromsgrove Rugby Football Club, one of the oldest rugby union clubs in the country. It was formed on 28 September 1872.
  • Bromsgrove Sporting Football Club. A fan owned club formed in 2009 by fans of the dissolved Bromsgrove Rovers club.
  • Bromsgrove Cricket, Hockey and Tennis Club.
  • Mercian Divers Scuba Diving Club – affiliated to the BSAC (British Sub-Aqua Club).
  • North East Worcestershire Ravens rugby league club, who play in the Midlands Rugby League.
  • Bromsgrove Indoor Bowls Club (also providing outdoor bowls) based in Charford


Bromsgrove Museum
Bromsgrove Museum

Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings has its home in Bromsgrove. This museum includes the National telephone kiosk Collection. The Bromsgrove Museum on Birmingham Road reopened in May 2016.

The Worcester and Birmingham Canal which runs close to Bromsgrove, is a destination for leisure activities such as walking and coarse fishing and there are several narrowboat hire centres situated in nearby villages. The Tardebigge lock flight, with 30 locks, is the longest in the UK. Bromsgrove is 5 miles (8.0 km) away from the historic country house Hanbury Hall, which is open to the public. The town's leisure venues include a nightclub featuring a mixture of styles, and pubs in the town centre include a Wetherspoons pub, a Slug and Lettuce pub and a number of traditional pubs. Bromsgrove is close to the countryside attractions of the Lickey Hills, the Clent Hills, the Waseley Hills.

Entertainment and arts

Bromsgrove is host to a centre for the arts, Artrix, located on Slideslow Drive. Artrix is a multi purpose arts centre that provides theatre, cinema screening recently released films and National Theatre Live performances, rock concerts, folk music, comedians and classical music concerts from Bromsgrove Concerts, ESO and Midland Sinfonia. Artrix also has a vibrant youth theatre group and a new arts outreach team. From 2012 the dance studio has been converted to hold a maximum of 90 people and provides a space for intimate music, comedy and small theatre.

The World War II film Our Father was partially filmed on location in Bromsgrove.

Bromsgrove Festival

Since 1960, Bromsgrove has held an annual classical music festival, with an international reputation.


In 2004, 33,175 people in Bromsgrove District were in employment. Manufacturing, retail, and services were the biggest sectors of employment in 2001.

Many of Bromsgrove's residents find employment in Birmingham, Redditch, Worcester and other places along the motorway network. MG Rover was a major employer of Bromsgrove residents until its collapse in May 2005. Bromsgrove is still home to LG Harris Ltd, a paint brush and decorator's tool manufacturer in Stoke Prior (known locally as "Harris Brush" or just "The Brush"). Business parks in Aston Fields and Buntsford Hill are helping to revitalise the local economy, in addition to newer developments such as Saxon and Harris Business Parks. Bromsgrove District Council is aiming to create a technology corridor along the A38 to take advantage of the area's road links.

Notable residents

See also: People from Bromsgrove District and People from Bromsgrove

The notable residents of Bromsgrove include those educated at Bromsgrove School (see People educated at Bromsgrove School). Among the Old Bromsgrovians are a field marshal, five winners of the Victoria Cross and one winner of the George Cross.


  • Richard Bromsgrove, Abbot of Evesham


  • Sir Gilbert Talbot, KG (died 1517/18), owner of Grafton Manor
  • Sir John Talbot (died 1549), owner of Grafton Manor, buried in St John the Baptist Church, Bromsgrove
  • Sir John Talbot (died 1611), owner of Grafton Manor, Catholic recusant suspected wrongly of involvement in the Gunpowder Plot
  • Francis Talbot, who died as the result of a duel at Barn Elms with the Duke of Buckingham over his wife
  • Anna Talbot, wife of Francis and famous beauty
  • William Dugard, schoolmaster, author in English and Latin, and printer of propaganda, seventeenth century
  • John Hall, Anglican bishop

18th century

  • Sarah Bache, hymn writer, born in Bromsgrove about 1771
  • Charlotte Badger, considered to be the first Australian female pirate, born in Bromsgrove in 1778
  • William Wells, Methodist preacher, emigrated to America

19th century

St Peter's Catholic Church, Bromsgrove - churchyard - Mabel Tolkien - photo 03
Grave of Mabel Tolkien (née Suffield, 1870–1904), mother of J. R. R. Tolkien, in Bromsgrove
Bromsgrove cemetery Chavasse family 1
Grave of Sir Thomas Chavasse (1854–1913) and his family in Bromsgrove
  • Benjamin Bomford, farmer
  • George Cadbury, creator of Cadbury chocolates.
  • Sir Thomas Frederick Chavasse (1854–1913) surgeon, member of the Chavasse family, buried in Bromsgrove. His daughter Gladys (1893–1962) was engaged to her cousin Noel Chavasse VC and Bar, MC
  • John Corbett, the Salt King, lived in Bromsgrove prior to building Chateau Impney.
  • Alfred Edward Housman, classical scholar and poet.
  • Clemence Housman, sister of Alfred, author and suffragette
  • Laurence Housman, brother of Alfred, illustrator, playwright, writer and left-wing political activist
  • John Lisseter Humphreys, Governor of North Borneo
  • Benjamin Maund, botanist and chemist, publisher and bookseller
  • Mabel Tolkien (1870–1904), mother of J. R. R. Tolkien, buried in Bromsgrove
  • Elijah Walton, artist, lived in Lickey, died there in 1880

20th and 21st century

  • Singer/actor, Michael Ball, was born in Bromsgrove.
  • Michael Buerk, BBC News presenter and journalist, once worked for the local Bromsgrove Messenger newspaper.
  • Dan Bull, internet activist and musician was born in Bromsgrove.
  • Eric Carter (pilot) (1920–2021), Royal Air Force pilot
  • Nicola Charles, actress, was born in Bromsgrove in 1969.
  • Lisa Clayton (born 1958), sailor, lived in Bromsgrove with her parents
  • J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, academic, born in Bromsgrove
  • Jonathan Coe, author, was born in Lickey in 1961.
  • Jimmy Davis (1982–2003), footballer with Manchester United, Swindon Town and Watford F.C. was born in Bromsgrove.
  • Fyfe Dangerfield, musician grew up in Bromsgrove and attended Bromsgrove School
  • Nicholas Evans, author, best known for The Horse Whisperer. was born in Bromsgrove and attended Bromsgrove School
  • Declan Fitzpatrick was born in Bromsgrove.
  • Craig Fagan, Hull City footballer. Lived in Bromsgrove in his childhood.
  • Walter Gilbert (sculptor) of the Bromsgrove Guild
  • Rear-Admiral Sir David William Haslam (1923–2009), Royal Navy officer and Governor of Bromsgrove School, died in Bromsgrove
  • Geoffrey Hill (1932–2016) poet.
  • Claire Perry (born 1964), businesswoman and Conservative politician, was born in Bromsgrove
  • Anthony E. Pratt (1903–1994), the inventor of the board game Cluedo, is buried in Bromsgrove Cemetery.
  • Mathew Priest, Musician of the Indie rock band Dodgy.
  • Pat Roach (1937–2004), wrestler and actor is buried in Bromsgrove Cemetery.
  • Gary Rowett former professional footballer and former Manager at Birmingham City FC.
  • David Rudkin, playwright, taught at North Bromsgrove High School in the early 1960s. His play Afore Night Come (1962) was inspired by his experiences in the countryside close to Bromsgrove.
  • Alan M. Smith (born 1962), footballer.
  • Andy Smith (born 1967), a professional darts player with a nickname known to fans as the 'pie-man', was born here.
  • Trudie Styler was born in Bromsgrove.
  • Matt Teale (born 1975), newsreader and journalist was born in Bromsgrove.
  • Sir John Vane (1927–2004), pharmacologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1982); born in Tardebigge
  • Jessica Varnish (born 1990), track cyclist.
  • Mark Williams (born 1959), actor, famous for portraying Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter film franchise, along with the title character in the BBC's Father Brown television series based on the books by G.K. Chesterton.
  • Ben Francis (born 1992), Entrepreneur and co-founder of Gymshark.

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