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Edwardian postcard puts famous preacher's house in the wrong location

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: February 03, 2014

By Dan Shaw

  • Edwardian postcard of the home of Richard Baxter, the 17th century divine. Unfortunately, the makers have the location as Stourbridge and not Kidderminster

  • The old Guild Hall in Kidderminster, with Baxter's House at the far right

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IT is in rather poor taste to point out the mistakes of others but as this error was committed around 100 years ago we hope readers will forgive us.

John Taylor is a keen collector of all things connected with his home town of Stourbridge and when he saw a postcard of "Baxter's House, Stourbridge" for sale on a certain internet auction site he bought it. However, the card puzzled him as he knew of no such building in Stourbridge.

The card is Edwardian and was published by Shurey's Publications, one of a series of 50 pictorial cards depicting British landmarks that were given away with their magazines Smart Novels, Yes or No, Dainty Novels and the Weekly Tale-Teller.

Unfortunately, the publishers made a mistake. This landmark was not to be found in Stourbridge but around eight miles away in Kidderminster High Street.

The building, a restaurant when the photograph was taken, was the home of the celebrated divine Richard Baxter (1615-1691). He was appointed the minister of St Mary and All Saints' Church in April 1641, after earlier being master of Dudley Grammar School and a priest in Bridgnorth. The fighting of the English Civil Wars erupted soon afterwards and he was forced to leave royalist Worcestershire.

Baxter then lived in Gloucester and Coventry before becoming a chaplain to the Parliamentary army but he returned to Kidderminster in 1647. He remained in the town until 1660, when he moved to London.

In 1875 the people of Kidderminster honoured their former preacher with a statue, by the famous Worcestershire sculptor Sir Thomas Brock, that originally stood in the Bull Ring. In 1967 the statue was moved to its current position outside St Mary's and All Saints church, Kidderminster.

John Taylor has also found this Victorian picture of the old Kidderminster Guild Hall that was demolished in 1877. It stood between High Street and Swan Street but at the extreme right of the picture you can see Baxter's House.

You can read more about Richard Baxter and his connections with the Black County and Kidderminster on our website at www.blackcountry bugle.co.uk

Please share your historic pictures and postcards with Bugle readers. Contact dshaw@blackcountrybugle.co.uk or write to 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL.

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