Museum Welcomes American Historian

A surprise visit to the Redditch Local History Museum was received from a distinguished lady needle case historian from America last Thursday. Terry Mienke is well known worldwide for her in-depth knowledge and the publishing of books related to the famous Redditch needle maker W. Avery and Son. Situated in the now demolished Headless Cross, Heath Spring and Notion Factory on Birchfield Road, Avery identified the need to produce personal items for ladies to store their precious needles. Terry Meinke has dedicated the past eleven years to researching Avery style brass needle cases.

Over a relatively short period of time from 1869 to 1897 a large number of these highly collectable ornamental brass and solid gold needle cases were designed, patented and manufactured by and for the company. The names of needle companies and others wishing to advertise their wares could be on the front, with the name of Avery on the back. These intricately designed items now fetch eye watering prices across the globe. Avery’s dominance of this market was such that all similar brass Victorian needle cases are called “Averys”.

Royal collector Queen Victoria and her immediate family had several of the individual designs named after her, as did a number of the Royal family who followed her.

Anxious to support the newly opened Redditch Local History Museum in Market Place, she made it one of her first calls and was amazed at the wealth of exhibits on show covering the Social and Industrial heritage of Redditch. Hundreds of local Artefacts and memories have now been saved for future generations to enjoy.

Early example of a Ladies Needle Case.

An avid writer and publisher of detailed associated books, these include:

A Guide to Collecting Avery Needle Cases.

A History of the Redditch Area Manufacturers associated with Redditch

My Avery Needle Case Collection.

To purchase one of these books, go to Terry’s website: The Avery Needle Case Resource Centre at

Redditch Local History Museum can be visited

Thursday, Friday and Saturday between 10:00 and 4:00pm.

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