In the 19th century Redditch became the international centre for the needle and fishing tackle industry. At one point, 90% of the world's needles were manufactured in the town and its neighbourhoods. It is known locally by the affectionate nickname ‘The Ditch’.
The town is home to several historical sites: The National Needle Museum and the ruins of Bordesley Abbey are located in the Abbey Ward district and the remains of a medieval moated settlement called Moons Moat are within the Church Hill estate. In the 1960s Redditch became a urban blueprint model for modern new town planning.