Nobody eats out in Kidderminster. Even the Subway had closed down. However when I did find a cafe (the Three Shires Cafe) I was quite surprised. The Three Shires cafe had all the atmosphere of a morgue, and indeed it was so full of old people I wondered if I'd gone into a charitable pensioners club rather than a commercial cafe (although it wasn't exactly cheap). The waitress served me though. And to my astonishment when the chicken, ham and asparagus pie arrived it was ecellent. I cannot over use the superlatives here. I don't think I've had a better pie. Wonderful. With the body satisfied it was time to look at the real reasons for going to Kidderminster. The place has one famous son I knew about and one I didn't although only one was born here. In Chronological order they were Richard 'the Reformed Pastor' Baxter and Rowland 'Penny Black' Hill. Richard Baxter came to Kidderminster in 1641 and found the people in a dreadful state with all kinds of wickedness. He persisted with them and managed to turn them from their bad deeds, Then he wrote about it. Naturally turning to Parliament in the civil war things got a bit hot for him in Royalist Worcestershire so he retreated to Gloucestershire and after many adventures, including serving as a chaplain in the Parliamentary army, returned to Kidderminster finally leaving when the Act of Uniformity maade it impossible for him to stay. His monument was erected by churchmen and non-conformists and there is a Baxter United Reformed Church in the town. Just over the churchyard wall, towards the canal, I noticed huge numbers of Sainsburys value lager tins. At least 50 cans! I was surprised to say the least!
Rowland Hill was part of the technological revolution and the inventor of the penny post. This was important as it allowed the rapid and cheap transmission of ideas across the country so that something thought up in Manchester could be in Tewksbury the next day. And people who joke about 'snail mail' today perhaps need to be reminded that in the 1840s a letter posted for a penny at 1500 would be in the recipients hands by 1700. And that I can remember the time when an email might take 24 hrs to come through - that's in the very early days for the young folk who don't remember. Rowland Hill's statue was paid for by public subscription.