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26th Jun, 2022

Trio puts together history of Droitwich

Droitwich Editorial 29th Aug, 2014 Updated: 17th Oct, 2016

A WELL-KNOWN Droitwich couple and a man who has links with the Spa’s historical families have released a book detailing the fascinating history of the town.

Roger and Helen Peberdy and Paul Jones will be holding a book signing at Droitwich Library, Victoria Square, between 10am and midday on Wednesday (September 3).

Droitwich Through Time looks at the stories behind the roads and buildings we see there now, its salt industry history and how new housing developments have changed the face of the Spa, whilst glimpses of the past remain visible.

Retired GP Roger and his wife Helen are involved in many community groups and many years of research and talking to residents have given them a great understainding of the town’s local history.

Paul, born in Worcester, has undertaken his own detailed research and is also a skilled and enthusiastic photographer.

All three are members of the Droitwich History and Archaeology Society and copies of the book are available from the organisation – at the signing on Wednesday, at the group’s meetings and on the group’s stall at Saltfest where the authors will also be on hand to sign copies and where there will be other historical pictures and maps for people to view.

Chris Bowers, the treasurer of Droitwich History and Archaeology Society, said: “This book really is a gem, compact and informative it is a delight to behold.

“I cannot imagine anyone not wanting a copy of their own.”

Nick and Clare Lloyd, who have an interest in local history, described the book as a ‘valuable contribution towards understanding Droitwich’s heritage’ which, they said, enabled them to discover something new.

Roger and Helen moved to Droitwich in 1966 after meeting in Birmingham and getting married in Gloucestershire. Construction work on the first of the new ‘overspill estates’ began the day after they arrived.

The homes were designed to house people from Birmingham and that year saw the transformation from a small town of some 8,000 to a modern town which now boasts more than 23,000.

Roger spent over 30 years as a GP and, in his early days, dealt with patients referred from outside the area who had come to Droitwich for brine spa treatment for conditions such as rheumatism and arthritis. He can now claim to be the ‘last brine doctor’ in Droitwich Spa.

Helen was doctor’s wife, mother-of-four, bellringer, volunteer playgroup leader and qualified swimming teacher, teaching at least two generations of Droitwich children – and some adults – to swim.

The pair focussed on the local history when they realised the extent of the changes which had happened after the demise of the salt making industry in 1922 and included the influx of people coming to live there, leading to alterations of the town’s layout and infrastructure.

Droitwich has been Paul’s home town for several generations, inspiring in him keen interests in both genealogy and local history.

Born in 1974, he received his first camers as a gift at the age of eight and, since 1989, he has taken thousands of photographs of Droitwich and its surrounding churches and villages. His historical articles have been printed in various publications.

Droitwich Through Time, by Amberley Publishing, is also available for £14.99 from Grace Cards, Victoria Square, the Droitwich Tourist Information Centre and at numerous book shops.

For more, call Chris Bowers on 01905 776870.

AN ILLUSTRATED talk on Market Towns, their History and Function will be given by Richard Churchley at 7.30pm on Wednesday (September 3) at the John Corbett Room, Droitwich Community Hall.

The presentation, the latest to be organised by the Droitwich History and Archaeology Society, will look at how, after being an important feature in the town for centuries, the Spa’s markets have been revived.

It will trace how the stalls, where local people could buy everything they needed and sell the goods they had produced, have developed over the years.

Admission is £2 for members and £4 for visitors and the new Droitwich Through Time book will also be on sale.

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