Ooh Aah Droitwich Spa

Fascinating and fun facts about a town that's the salt of the earth


Baggies and Villa poacher turned shopkeeper

Before top footballers started earning crazy money they had to find a new career after hanging up their boots. Many chose to open sports shops, and West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa striker Dave Walsh (1923-2016) did just that in Droitwich High Street. Ireland international Dave played 165 times for the Baggies from 1946 to […]

Drowning one’s sorrows

The delightful, half-timbered Salwarpe Court dates back to the 1400s. However, part of the rear of the property was sliced off by the construction of the Droitwich Canal. The 19th century Worcestershire writer John Noakes reported that on particularly dark nights the ghost of a former owner was said to glide down to the embankment […]

Wedding bells for radio stars

The world’s longest-running drama, The Archers, has links with nearby Hanbury. Some say the fictional village of Ambridge in BBC Radio 4’s ”everyday story of country folk” is based on Hanbury as its creator, Godfreyn Baseley, lived down the road in Bromsgrove. What is certain is Hanbury’s Church of St Mary the Virgin doubles as St […]

They’ve taken over the asylum

Droitwich Working Men’s Club, with its unusual circular window next to the entrance door, was originally an asylum for 29 ”lunatics”. Droitwich Lunatic Asylum was established in 1791 on the corner of Friar Street and Ricketts Lane. At one point it was under the control of Dr Charles Hastings, founder of the British Medical Association. […]

Floody hell, that was a Friday to remember

From the 1960s onwards, the High Street was often flooded, with poor drainage causing water to accumulate in the dip. But the mother of all floods happened during the great storm of Friday, July 19, 2007, when about 98mm of rain fell  in just one day – over twice the monthly average. The High Street […]

​Vax cleaned up in the market

The iconic orange Vax, the world’s first vacuum cleaner that could also wash carpets and suck up spills, was created in Droitwich. Invented by Alan Brazier in 1979, at first it was sold door-to-door. Within three years it was in High Street shops and by 1987 it was the UK’s best selling vacuum, with the […]

A cunning plan to namecheck town

Blackadder is one of Britain’s best loved comedies, and Droitwich is mentioned in one of its many memorable scenes. At the beginning of episode one of the second series, Kate (later ‘Bob’) suggests to her suicidal father that he still hasn’t got over the death of his wife. He responds: ”Kate, for the final time your mother is […]

What have the Romans ever done for us?

To answer the famous question posed by actor John Cleese, the Romans were the first to properly exploit the beds of pure rock salt lying 200ft below Droitwich. The salt rose naturally to the surface in brine springs around what is now Vines Park. The Romans called the town Salinae, meaning salt workings, and used […]

Lock who built town waterway

James Brindley, one of the most notable engineers of the 18th century, was the brains behind the seven-mile Droitwich Barge Canal, which linked the town to the River Severn north of Worcester.  The canal, completed in 1771, was conceived as a more reliable way of transporting salt to the river and bringing in coal for […]

The rates rebel, 81, who was sent to prison

Power to the people! In 2000, an 81-year-old Droitwich resident became the oldest woman to be sent to a British jail. Nelly Copson served two days in Brockhill women’s prison, near Redditch, for refusing to pay business rates on the empty shop where her father had worked as a cobbler. She was released after one […]


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Flaming amazing

KAPOW! How’s this for a comic book tale? A Droitwich company played a crucial role in the first big screen reboot of Batman, which starred Michael Keaton. Nu-Way, of Vines Lane, made the rocket boosters for the Batmobile, recreating its famous flames. Chief designer and engineer Peter Wilkinson took one week to complete the unusual project, then delivered and fitted the boosters to the Caped crusader’s car at Pinewood Studios.