KIDDERMINSTER, a market-town and municipal and parliamentary borough of Worcestershire, England, is situated in the north-west corner of the county, on the Stour, near its junction with the Severn, on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal, and on the West Midland branch of the Great Western Railway, 14 miles north from Worcester and 18 miles south-west from Birmingham. The streets are rather irregular, and the houses for the most part small and mean in appearance, but of late years great improvements have been made by the paving and widening of the streets and the construction of shops and houses of a better class. A new system of drainage has also been completed, and the town is now well supplied with water. Besides the churches, the principal buildings of Kidderminster are the corporation buildings, the infirmary, the town hall in the Renaissance style, erected in 1876, the masonic hall and club, and the buildings of the school of art. The parish church of St Mary, a fine old structure in the Perpendicular style, containing several ancient monuments, was lately extensively repaired. The town is adorned by a statue erected in 1875 to Richard Baxter, who was for some time minister in Kidderminster, and another to Sir Rowland Hill, completed in 1881, and by a beautiful drinking fountain. There is a free grammar school founded in 1637, besides board schools and others connected with come of the churches. A new cemetery for the town was opened in 1878. At an early period Kidderminster had a large manufacture of broad-cloths, but it is now chiefly celebrated for its carpets (see CARPETS, vol. v. p. 129), the manufacture of which was introduced about the year 1735. At first Scotch carpets were the only variety made, but in 1745 the manufacture of Wilton and Brussels carpets was commenced, and since that period the carpets manufactured at Kidderminster, on account of the permanency of their colour, clue it is supposed to peculiar properties of the water of the Stour, have retained an exceptional reputation. Worsted spinning the municipal borough in 1871 was 19,473, and that of the parliamentary borough 20,814; in 1881 the corresponding numbers were 24,270 and 25,634.
The ancient name of Kidderminster was Chiderminster, that is, the miuster or church on the brow of the hill. From the time of the Conquest until the time of Henry II. it was a royal manor. Among the private owners who subsequently held possession of it was the poet Waller. Kidderminster returned a member to parliament in the reign of Edward I., but the privilege was subsequently lost. In the 12th year of Charles I. it received a charter of incorporation, and by the Reform Act of 1832 it again obtained the privilege of returning a member to parliament. It is now governed according to the Municipal Act of 1835.