Newsletter – April 2018

May 9th, 2018 by JCope

The Belne Brook rises in the valley between Walton and Romsley Hills and flows westward for some nine miles to join the River Stour on the south side of Kidderminster where it is known as Hoo Brook. It had a large influence on the economic activity in our area supporting 25 mills from at least the 13th century, gradually switching from corn milling to metal grinding as the industrial revolution took hold.

Our speaker this month, Tim Booth, informed us that the man who laid the foundation for Belbroughton’s supremacy in scythe making was Isaac Nash who brought Black Country expertise into the village. Nash served his apprenticeship as a forger and plater in Dudley before moving to Belbroughton to take over Newtown Forge in 1840.

At this time the Belbroughton mills worked in combination, one doing the forging or plating and another, the grinding and polishing. Isaac Nash was the first to integrate these processes by taking over neighbouring mills so that he could combine the whole process. By the 1880s Nash owned or rented some eleven mills and forges in the area employing more than one hundred workers.

Our next meeting at St Saviour’s Church Hall is on Tuesday 5th June 2018 at 8.00pm when we will have a presentation by Dr Gillian White entitled “Nicholas Hilliard and the Art of the Miniature”. Nicholas Hilliard was an Elizabethan goldsmith best known for his small oval portrait miniatures of members of the courts of Elizabeth I and James I. Gillian White has visited us a number of times and we can be certain of a very entertaining evening. Visitors are most welcome at all our events – see for details and contacts.

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