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27th May, 2022

Revelations from the Brine Baths - New exhibition gives 'fascinating insight' into Droitwich's saltwater heritage

Tristan Harris 30th Nov, 2021 Updated: 1st Dec, 2021

A NEW exhibition on Droitwich’s brine heritage has officially launched today.

The Life of Brine – Revelations from the Brine Baths is now available to view at Droitwich Heritage Centre.

The collection has been put together by the campaign group SOBBS (Save Our Brine Baths) which is working tirelessly to put the ‘Spa’ back in ‘Droitwich Spa’.

The exhibition marks the culmination of Droitwich’s Brine Memories project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Since launching the project in March 2021, 25 people who remember the baths across all three settings over the last century – including the Royal Baths – have been interviewed.

Recordings totalling 40 hours have been added to the archives at Droitwich Heritage Centre.

New brine bath revelations have been shared in more than 400 social media posts and a new ‘Brine

Memories’ website – brinememories.org.uk – has been created to preserve the important historic recollections in the UK Web Archive.

Among the finds are ‘Mr Salt’ – the man who ran the Royal Brine Baths laboratory, how brine bath staff underwent UV treatment to boost their immunity and that Walter George, who held the record for running a mile for 30 years, regularly bathed in Droitwich.

Researchers worked with 150 children at Westacre Middle School on a heritage project and more than 1,000 photographs, postcards, documents and films have been rediscovered.

The Brine Memories project leader Sue Webber said: “It’s a fascinating display of photos, images and voices which reveal both quirky stories and also an overwhelming love of the baths from all who used them and worked at them.

“I guarantee that you will leave this exhibition knowing something you didn’t know before.”

Volunteer and Oral History Producer Julia Letts is delighted that both the project and the exhibition are putting a spotlight on the brine baths, as they were fast fading from people’s memories.

She added: “The last baths closed 13 years ago, and we found the memory of them was disappearing and very few youngsters in Droitwich knew anything about our brine heritage.

“Through interviewing local people, trawling the archives and working on a project with Westacre School that will be repeated in future years, we hope we’ve reversed that.

“This exhibition shows just how important the baths were to the development of our unique spa town.”

The exhibition runs from 10am to 4pm every weekday and between 10am and 1.30pm on Saturday until December 21.

Entrance to the Heritage Centre at St Richard’s House in the middle of Droitwich is, as ever, free of charge.

The oral histories and many of the new artefacts and images which have been uncovered will pass into the archives for posterity from the end of the year.

Click here for the ‘Brine Memories’ website.

People can also find out more by emailing brinememories@gmail.com, calling 07434 366720 or by visiting twitter.com/BrineMemories and facebook.com/BrineMemories

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