Trail tribute to Salt King John Corbett gets £30K boost

By Tristan Harris Monday 31 December 2012 Updated: 04/01 10:29

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Buy photos » Coun John Ellis, chairman of Stoke Parish Council, Coun John Tidmarsh, Bromsgrove District Councillor, footpath warden Dave Braisted, Coun Art Lavelle, Stoke Parish Council, Peter MacKenzie-Shaw, Worcestershire Partnerships' funding manager, Coun Sue Able, Stoke Parish Council, author and John Corbett historian Barbara Middlemass and designer Dave Hollis. s

A PROJECT to celebrate an important part of Bromsgrove and Droitwich history has been given a £30,000 boost by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The John Corbett Trail, launched by Stoke Parish Council to mark the life of Salt King John Corbett, features a six-and-a-half-mile signed walk outlining 12 landmarks and points of interest.

The stroll takes participants from the Avoncroft Arts Centre in Stoke Prior to Droitwich Heritage Centre and, among the areas highlighted are the Chateau Impney, Stoke Parish Church, which features a John Corbett-themed stained glass window, Stoke Grange and Vines Park.

The cash will ensure the route is properly signposted and fund leaflets and links to online resources where more of the history can be explored.

The signposts will detail what John Corbett did for the community, local residents and workers during the mid to late 19th Century.

There will also be an audio trail that will feature commentary and salt-workers' memories, adding more voices to the story.

The trail will be maintained by Stoke Parish footpaths officers and Worcestershire County Council.

The official launch of the John Corbett Trail will be on June 13, 2013 - the 196th anniversary of the philanthropist's birthday.

On that day, it is planned that hundreds of people, including schools and walking groups, will embark on the route for the first time.

The application for funding was backed by Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid who sent in a letter of support, saying it would be 'a great attraction for schools and visitors'.

To celebrate getting the cash, members of Stoke Parish Council met with author and John Corbett historian, Barbara Middlemass, at Avoncroft Arts Centre.

Chairman of Stoke Parish Council, John Ellis, said: "I must extend my thanks to all involved who gave their time and effort into making this project possible, especially Peter MacKenzie-Shaw, the Worcestershire Partnership Funding Manager, who gave us invaluable help in obtaining this grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund."

Worcestershire Partnerships' funding manager, Peter MacKenzie-Shaw, added: "It's been a pleasure working with Stoke Parish Council on this very worthwhile project, which will bring John Corbett and his achievements to life again for generations to come."

John Corbett, who lived from 1817 to 1901, was a major contributor to the area's salt production. He was also MP for Droitwich between 1874 and 1892 and, although he made a fortune for himself, he also worked hard to improve living and working conditions for his employees.

Among Mr Corbett's achievements were the building of the Chateau Impney, which he had created as a gift for his wife.

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