A KIDDERMINSTER heritage group is putting health in the spotlight as part of a special day to mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the town’s first large public hospital.

Mill Street Infirmary broke new ground in the town when it welcomed its first patients in 1871 and will be the focus of a celebration organised by the Heritage Opportunities Group (HOGs) on Saturday, October 9.

Historians will chart Kidderminster’s fascinating public health achievements over the years, highlighting many of the key figures.

HOGS chairman Colin Hill said: “Public health and the great contribution by the staff of the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic over the past 18 months has been in everyone’s minds.

“So, to mark the 150th anniversary of the building of Kidderminster’s first large hospital, we have taken the theme of the town’s public health history for a special commemoration.”

Kidderminster Shuttle: Samuel Stretton who was an influential doctor in the town between 1856 and 1904Samuel Stretton who was an influential doctor in the town between 1856 and 1904

Prominent in this history tour will be the Stretton family who provided three generations of remarkable doctors for the people of Kidderminster between 1856 and 1952.

The day starts at 11am with a guided walk from the town hall to St John’s Church led by local historians Nick Hughes and Dave Laverty.

They will stop at various points along the way to describe the living and working conditions, disease, housing and sanitation in Victorian Kidderminster.

Also on the itinerary will be health provision before 1871, the contribution of doctors Samuel, Lionel and John Stretton and their impact on town life over 96 years, and the building of the infirmary and its vital role in the community before closure in the late 1990s.

The day concludes in the church at 1pm with a 35-minute talk on ‘Dirty Dealings at Kidderminster Workhouse’ by local historian Gay Hill.

A £5 ticket for the day, taking in the guided walk, St John’s Church visit and talk by Mrs Hill can be purchased at 10.55am at the start of the guided walk.