Church Hill Nostalgia
Prince Philip’s visit to shiny new Church Hill estate.
Prince Philip had arrived in 1978 to check out the rapidly expanding estates.
Everyone piled into the streets to watch his every move and listen to his every word as he opened a new block of flats and a community centre at Church Hill. He took a tour of the new YMCA flats there, before declaring the new near-million pound development open for business.
The Duke once called himself “the world’s most experienced plaque unveiler”, and true to form, he revealed one for the people of Church Hill at his visit.
Later on in the day, he visited the town centre, speaking to people at The Swinging Sporran pub and the Kingfisher Shopping Centre. The Sporran has passed into history now, but the Kingfisher, which had opened just two years earlier in 1976, endures.
The flats that the Duke opened were part of Church Hill, which was more-or-less brand new at the time. Development began in 1975, taking the place of old farmland in the north of Redditch.
It was a big time for new buildings – Redditch had designated a “new town” in the 60’s, and turbocharged development was needed to deal with “overspill” from nearby Birmingham.
Church Hill was built in the “Radburn” model, a style popularised in the US, with cul de sacs ringed by main roads. The design is rarely used in today’s new builds.
Prince Philip’s visit to Redditch was part of a wider tour of Worcestershire. He opened Worcestershire’s new County Hall, built after after the merger of the Worcestershire and Herefordshire councils.