Droitwich

Droitwich Worcestershire

Photo of Friar Street, looking east One of the oldest streets in Droitwich, although like St. Andrew's Street it also has quite a few modern buildings. by P L Chadwick, some rights reserved.

Historical Descriptions of Droitwich Worcestershire

Beeton’s British Gazetteer 1870

Droitwich, a market and post town, and municipal and parliamentary borough of England, in Worcestershire, on the Salwarp, 7 miles N.E. from Worcester. It contains several fine churches, and chapels for nonconformists, a court chamber, the underpart of which is used as a market-place, a hospital, and a union workhouse. Its principal manufacture is fine white salt, of which about 30,000 tons are annually produced from its celebrated brine springs. Mar. D. Fri. Pop. 3124. It is a telegaph station, and a station on the Bristol and Derby branch of the Midland Railway, and the Oxford and Wolverhampton branch of the Great Western Railway.

Source: Beeton’s British Gazetteer 1870. Ward, Lock & Tyler, Paternoster Row, London.

Worcestershire Delineated C. and J. Greenwood 1822

Droitwich – a borough and market town, in Halfshire hundred, upper division, 6 miles N.N.E. from Worcester, and 117 from London; comprising 3 parishes, and containing 244 inhabited houses. This borough sends two members to Parliament; the right of election is in two bailiffs, the recorder, and a few burgesses, who are styled the Corporation of the Salt Springs of Droitwich. The bailiffs are the returning officers, and justices of the quorum: the recorder also is a justice of the peace. The burgesses originally held the salt pits by a grant from the crown, shares of which were annexed to different estates in the county, in proportion as they could furnish wood for the manufacture of the salt, as coals were not then used. At the close of the seventeenth century, a Mr. Steynor sunk some pits in his own ground, and the corporation considering it an infringement upon what they conceived their exclusive right, commenced an action against him, but Mr. Steynor obtained a verdict in his favour; after which any person was at liberty to sink a pit, provided it was not within the limits of the royal grant. In consequence of the above verdict, the chartered pits became so diminished in value, that in 1725, they were worth nothing, and many families, as also several charitable institutions, whose incomes were secured under the chartered pits, were utterly ruined. The brine is now procured in much larger quantities that it was previous to the destruction of the monopoly, in consequence of a discovery made by Sir Richard Lane, who having bored through a stratum of gypsum, which had hitherto formed the floor of the springs, a stream of strong brine sprung up with such prodigious force, as to throw up two men from the bottom of the pit, which occasioned their instant death. The salt springs are found about one hundred and ten feet below the surface, and after passing through one hundred and thirty feet of gypsum, a brine river of twenty-two inches is found, under which is a bed of rock salt; making the total depth upwards of two hundred and forty feet. The process by which the salt is manufactured is very simple: the brine is pumped into iron boilers, about twenty feet long, sixteen wide, and two and a half deep, in each of which there is a small quantity of water to prevent the salt from burning to the bottom. A bit of resin, about the size of a pea, is then thrown in to hasten the granulation. When boiling, the salt forms crystallizations on the top; these fall to the bottom, and from thence are laded into baskets to drain, and afterwards put into a stove, where it remains about forty hours; it is then fit for use.

In 1768, an Act of Parliament was obtained to cut a canal parallel with the river Salwarp, which communicates with the river Severn, and this was completed under the direction of that self-taught genius, Brindley, in 1771, at an expense of £25,000. It admits vessels of sixty tons, by which an immense quantity of salt is sent to all parts of the kingdom. The duty paid by the several proprietors is averaged at upwards of £1000 per day. Market on Friday. Fairs, 13th April, 18th June, 22nd Sept. and 21st Dec. – St. Andrew and St. Mary de Witton is a rectory, with St. Nicholas annexed; Rev. Jonathan Jaques, incumbent; instituted 1797; patron the King, - St. Peter’s is a vicarage; Rev. John Rd. Ingram, incumbent; instituted 1810; patron, Lord Somers. Population, 1801, 1854 – 1811, 1538 – 1821, 1781.

Source: Worcestershire Delineated: Being a Topographical Description of Each Parish, Chapelry, Hamlet, &c. In the County; with the distances and bearings from their respective market towns, &c. By C. and J. Greenwood. Printed by T. Bensley, Crane Court, Fleet Street, London, 1822.

The Representative History of Great Britain 1816

Droitwich is a market town and borough in the hundred of Halfshire Worcester 5 miles from Worcester and 118½ from London. It comprises three parishes exclusive of the liberty of Dodderhill and contains 419 houses and 1,845 inhabitants of whom 212 were returned as being employed in various trades and manufactories. The principal trade here is in the manufactory of fine white salt deemed to be the best in Europe The brine springs are so strong here that the pits are continually running over being much stronger than those in Cheshire they contain about one fourth salt while those at Nantwich yield only one sixth. Here is a canal about seven miles long navigable for vessels of sixty tons burthen which runs into the river Severn at Hawford within three miles of Worcester. By this conveyance to the Severn the salt is sent to all parts of the kingdom. The same conveyance also supplies the neighbourhood with coal of which there is a great consumption. The market is held on Fridays and the fairs are on the 13th April 18th June 22d September and 21st December.

Source: The Representative History of Great Britain and Ireland By Thomas H. B. Oldfield 1816.

Droitwich Parishes

Droitwich is made up of the following parishes:

Photo of Roman Catholic church of the Sacred Heart and St Catherine of Alexandria, Worcester Road, Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire: inside the nave, looking toward the apsidal chancel. by Rod Trevaskus, some rights reserved.

Nonconformists in Droitwich include:

  • Roman Catholic: Sacred Heart and St Catherine
  • Baptist
  • Independents
  • Wesleyan Methodist

Directories

Droitwich – Pigot’s Directory 1842
Droitwich Lewis Worcestershire Directory 1820
Droitwich Universal British Directory 1791

Online Directories

Droitwich Pigot and Co.’s National Commercial Directory 1835 - Google Books

Droitwich Street Directory 1905

Administration

County: Worcestershire Civil Registration District: Droitwich Poor Law Union: Droitwich Hundred: Halfshire

Videos about Droitwich

Droitwich | History of Parliament Online

Droitwich British History Online

Old Maps of Worcestershire

History of Droitwich - Vision of Britain

The history of salt production at Droitwich Spa - BBC

Droitwich Spa - Wikipedia

Droitwich - Genuki

Photographs of Droitwich Worcestershire

Droitwich on Flickr

Droitwich on Geograph