BEWDLEY Civic Society has celebrated its 70th birthday by opening a new exhibition in St George’s Hall.

An event to unveil the society’s display was hosted by the group's president, Kenneth Hobson, who spoke about the foundation of the society in 1944 - while the country was still at war.

The exhibition tells the story of how, despite not knowing what the outcome of the war would be, residents showed optimism to plan for the future while at the same time protect the heritage of the town.

Changes to the town made over the past 70 years are shown in photographs on display – some of which have come from Mr Hobson’s personal collection.

Talking at the opening, Mr Hobson said that the founding members, including the society’s first president and three-time British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, would be very surprised at some of the cultural changes which have taken place.

He also said that he thinks the first Earl Baldwin of Bewdley would have approved of the appointment of a retired bank manager – current chairman Richard Perrin – as the society’s chairman, especially as Mr Perrin’s father was the group’s founding treasurer.

Mr Perrin said: “It was really interesting to see the history of the society, especially as we were still at war at the time the society was formed.

“We have achieved so much in the last 70 years and have never been stronger as we have more than 500 members at the present time.

“During the next 70 years we hope to continue our work in improving Bewdley while preserving the heritage of town.”

The society’s current membership includes the grandson of Stanley Baldwin and the current Lord Baldwin, Edward, as a life member.

The exhibition will be on display at St George’s Hall until Monday, October 20.