A chronicle of the history of the City of Worcester and the County of Worcestershire

History of Worcester & Worcestershire


Early Fairground Stalls c.1870

The pictures on this page are among the earliest taken of a fair in the City, and date from around 1870. They are the work of F.C. Earl, who had a studio in Foregate Street........

Strickland's Gallopers

Harry Strickland's grandson, Ray Strickland of Bromyard visited Bill back in 1993, when he saw a article Bill had written in Worc. Evening News, (27.9.1993), Bill recorded the conversation which gave an insight to 

Two Worcester Showman's Roundabouts/Galloping Horses

Two Worcester Showman's roundabouts in Angel Place. Alf Peters stands in front of his Gallopers in Angel Place c.1930, and Stricklands Horse Gallopers in Angel Place c.1920.....

Dr Barnardos & William Gwilliam born 1888


It is known that a building on the Shelsley Side of Woodbury Hill existed in the late 19th and early 20th Century's, which was owned by Dr.Barnardo's. originally old maps shown it as the reformatory, ut the locals always spoke of it as 'The Home'.

Bill Gwilliam :

'My father, William Gwilliam lived in what he referred to as 'The Home' for four years. His father had died and his mother was unable to look after him and work. She was employed at Witley Court in the Parish Shrawley, England, as a maid. (although it is in the parish of Great Witley).......   

Captain Michael Clements, R.N

Captain Michael Clements was a naval officer who greatly distinguished himself in the wars with France and Spain. Near Cadiz, in 1778, Captain Clements in the Vengeance, in sight of all the people assembled on the walls of the city, defeated two frigates sent out against him, and took on a whole Spanish fleet, receiving the fire of 24 ships of the enemy, and having 40 holes in the hull, many between wind and water.


Nelson at the Hop Pole Inn, Worcester

It was at the Hop Pole that Lord Nelson stayed on his memorable visit to Worcester. The Coming of Nelson had not been anticipated, but during the afternoon of Sunday, 26th of August, 1802, a rumour of his approach spread amongst the citizens, for which mine host of the Hop Pole was probably responsible, for it was there that Nelson had bespoken rooms.....  

An early view of Worcester Cathedral c.1789

An early view of Worcester Cathedral c.1789

An early north east view of Worcester Cathedral c.1789

Huddington Court home of the Wintours and the Gunpowder Plot

Huddington Court home of the Wintours and the Gunpowder Plot

Huddington Court home of the Wintours and the Gunpowder Plot....




Nightwatchman on duty outside St. Helen's Church c.1900

Nightwatchman on duty outside St. Helen's Church c.1900

Nightwatchman on duty outside St.Helen's Church c.1900

Blind Man c.1900

Blind Man c.1900

Blind man reading Braile near the Watergate c.1900

Grimley Lido

In the 1930s a short stretch of river bank at Grimley, known as the Grimley Lido, gave untold pleasure to the people of Worcester. It was hardly a 'Costa Brava' or a beach on the Cornish Riviera, just the length of a longish field, but it became the mecca of thousands of people who wanted a dip in the river, or a picnic, on a summer week-end, or on a Thursday 'half-day closing'...

Terrific troupe which danced for our troops

Worcester Evening News  August 1997

1940's photograph of a popular Worcester wartime dance and cabaret troupe paying tribute to a gifted local dancer who died recently (1997).

Fair Booths on Pitchcroft abt 1880

Fair booths on Pitchcroft about 1880, showing the elaborate painted canvas fronts and small mechanical organ. An original print found in the loft of the British School marked School Photographic Club



'Uncle' Ben Emblings Sweet Stall c.1909

'Uncle' Ben Embling's Sweet Stall in Angel Street at the Worcester Cheese and Hop Fair 19th September 1909

Angel Street Cheese & Hop Fair 1909

Stalls in Angel Street for the annual Cheese and Hop Fair, 19th September 1909

Worcester Pest House Barbourne

Worcester Pest House Barbourne

Worcester Evening News Remembers Article 13th Feb 1993

Stamping out infection took on drastic proportions at Worcester in 1905 when the city council deliberately devastated an historic house .. by setting it ablaze.....

Robert Whiston and the Worcester King School Endowments

Robert Whiston and the Worcester King School Endowments

Robert Whiston, celebrated headmaster at Rochester and reformer of Cathedral schools, was friend and life-long correspondent of James Knight, the Editor of the Worcester Chronicle. Robert Whiston was headmaster of Rochester Cathedral Grammar School from 1849-1853. He  examined records and found that funds for scholars, and for four scholars at Oxford, were going into the Dean and Chapter's pockets.

The Black Library

The Black Library

Mrs. Sherwood, the writer of children's books, who died at Britannia Square in 1851, was the daughter of the Rev. George Butt, Rector of Stanford and vicar of Clifton-on-Teme from 1771 onwards. When she was only seven years old, an event occurred which left an abiding memory with her. Many years later she described it :- 

The Old Worcester Book-worms

The Old Worcester Book-worms

Mention was originally made of James Coombs in Old Worcester People and Places, Volume 1 p.29. Edward Corbett wrote of him: 'James Coombs, l remember was a local institutional; a ig framed man of somewhat ungainly carriage, who kept a book-shop chiefly second-hand, on the west side of the High Street..... 

John Noakes, Historian

John Noakes, Historian

Under the pen-name 'Rambler' John Noakes was the senior reporter, and later sub-editor of the Worcester Herald. He came to Worcester when he was 22 years of age and died in Rose Terrace in 1894, in his 78th year, after 56 years devoted to local history researches. 

Tunnel Hill, Observatory

Tunnel Hill, Observatory

High up on Tunnel Hill stands a house on the highest part of the road with 'observatory' windows on the top floor. In the 1800's it had a huge telescope fixed in the windows and many tales were told of the power of the instrument:

The Garden Suburb, Tolladine Road

The Garden Suburb, Tolladine Road

In 1913, a Society called the Worcester Tenants Ltd, bought eleven acres of land from Christ Church, Oxford, just off Tolladine Road, on the south side which then, apart from the Railway works, was in completely rural meadows and hills..... 

Brickfields and Richard Spooner

Brickfields and Richard Spooner

Brickfields Estate was the property of Richard Spooner, an eccentric. He was M.P for North Worcestershire, and partner in the Banking house of Attwood and Spooner of Birmingham..

The Water Gate and the Ferry

The Water Gate and the Ferry

The Priory Ferry, or Cathedral Ferry, worked until the mid-20th century. It had originally been established for the convenience both of monks and milk-maids, who would otherwise have had to be taken the circuitous route through the City to the Severn ridge at the bottom of Newport Street, for there was no riverside walk as there is today. 

Old and New St. Michael's Churches

The old church of St. Michael in Bedwardine stood very close to the Cathedral on the north east side. It had been founded in 826, the name Bedwardine meaning 'ground reserved for the supply of the Refectory, a close or field to supply bread'. Around the church were a number of houses which blocked up the northern facade of the Cathedral. It had a tower, and at the west end of St. Michael's stood the ancient clochium or bell tower with its lofty spire.

Changes in the Cathedral Services

The religious revival that came with church reform brought great changes in public worship. One of the influences for church reform came from the young men of the Oxford Movement, to whom the doctrine and ceremony of the early church were a precious heritage....

The Tomb of King John in the Chancel

The Tomb of King John laid to rest in the Chancel of Worcester Cathedral following his death in Newark in 1216. originally placed between Wulstan & Oswald which sadly was destroyed. 

Worcester Cathedral

Worcester Cathedral

Worcester City Football Club, St. George's Lane c.1928

Worcester City Football Club, St. George's Lane c.1928

Cathedral Bell Stolen

In 1863, the Worcester Chronicle published the startling announcement that one of the great bells of Worcester Cathedral, weighing five cwts, had recently been stolen, 'it was not known how or when but it must have been within the last few months'.


Cages of Birds in Cathedral Pews

In Walpole's Lord Orford's letters, there is a note about a Worcester lady, who believing that her dead daughter yet existed and might communicate with her as a singing bird, had cages of birds put with her in her pew in the Cathedral, hoping they might attract her.

The Cathedral Charnel House

Immediately north of the main entrance to the Cathedral, at a site where now the roadway widens before the North Porch, stood the Chapel of the Charnel House.........  

Guesten Hall

The ruins in the College Green are part of the Guesten Hall, built in 1320, which formed part of a chain of monastic buildings on the south side of the Cathedral......

Three Incidents at the Old Palace

The Council of War - James ll Rebuffs the Bishop - The Bishop Locked Out

The Old Palace, Deansway

Until the year 1842, the Old Palace was the official residence of the Bishop of Worcester. He also had Hartlebury Castle and a London House, but a Royal Commission looking into the Church Revenues with reforming zeal, concluded that the Bishop had no need for two palaces, and reduced his income.

Edgar Tower

Edgar Tower was, until the late 19th century, known as St. Mary's Gate, was the main gate to the royal castle and priory..... 

Eaton's Concise History of Worcester (1829) - Royal Tombs

Eatons Concise History of Worcester, ends the account of the opening of the tomb with this macabre story: 'On the opening of the Tomb of King John in the Cathedral, a gentleman of this city took a hand-full of the skeletons of skins of maggots that were in and about the abdomen of the body and angled with them in the Severn, and absolutely caught a brace of bleak with them'. 

The King's tomb was moved in to a new location in the Cathedral  which in doing so destroyed the very reason for it being there at all. The last restoration in 1874 was done by the Board of Works, who are responsible for all the royal tombs, and insensitively destroyed the remnants of colour that remained and gilded the whole figure, placing on it's head a tin crown.

Arthur, Prince of Wales, the son of Henry Vlll, was as a boy of eleven, betrothed to Catherine of Aragon, of the same age, in a Machievellian attempt to control foreign affairs of state. Two years later, they were married by proxy, the ceremony on Arthur's side taking place in the chapel of Twickenhill Palace at Bewdley on Whit Sunday, 1449. Catherine came to England two years later, and she and Arthur both 15, were married in St. Paul's Cathedral, and went to spend their honeymoon at Ludlow Castle. At the end of two months, on April 2nd, 1502, Arthur died.

The body was embalmed and a great procession brought the young prince to Worcester Cathedral for burial. It was one of the greatest  scenes of pomp and ceremony ever witnessed in our Cathedral, and one of the most moving. The chronicler wrote:

"but to have seene the weepinge when the offringe was done, he had a hard heart that wept not".


The Royal Tombs

Two important royal tombs can be seen in Worcester Cathedral. That of King John, believed to bear the earliest royal effigy taken from life, and that of Prince Arthur, the eldest son of Henry VIII, often said to be the most beautiful tomb of all British Cathedrals.

The Dissolution

On January 16th, 1540, the Priory of Worcester came to an end and after 580 years of occupation by the Prior and monks, the monastic buildings and estates were surrendered into the hands of the King.

The Shrines of Oswald and Wulstan

The shrines of Oswald and Wulstan were the most popular of the Midland religious shrines in the 13th and 14th centuries. The great re-building of the Cathedral in the 13th century, the choir and Lady Chapel, were made possible by the fame of the Saints of Worcester.

Little Pitchcroft Riots, 1818

The croft nearest the City walls (roughly the land cut off by the railway viaduct) was called Little Pitchcroft. It was taken up by the Cattle Market and other buildings, but not before there was considerable violence to stop the loss of what regarded as the citizen's common land.

Soup Kitchens

The years following the wars with Napoleon were times of great distress among the poor. Charitable people opened soup kitchens in Bull Entry and Bank Street. The Bull Entry kitchen was established in 1817, with specially made equipment that made an average 15,000 quarts daily, and it was said could make three times as much if needed. 

The Cathedral and the City

From time immemorial the Prior and the monks of Worcester (the forerunners of the Dean and Chapter) were exempt from municipal authority. This was confirmed  y Henry VI, who in the year 1400, ordained that : 

The Sanctuary at Worcester

The privileges of Sanctuary were granted to the Cathedral in 712. The area of the Sanctuary formed a circuit around the Cathedral, coming up from the river at Water Gate, between College Green and the site of the old Castle (now the King's School) including the north side of Edgar Street (which was called Knoll's End), across Sidbury to Lich Street, running up the south side of that street, and so down between the Bishop's Palace and the Cathedral to the river.

The Beginnings of Worcester

Worcester was the first ford, coming up the Severn, at the head of the tideway which was not unduly affected by the tide, but equally important, there was sharpe rising ground which provided a place of comparative safety for those using the ford.

The Early Cathedrals of Oswald and Wulstan

Oswald became Bishop of Worcester in 961, at the time of the Danish raids, and when Christian life was well nign impossible. He saw the solution in the revival of monastic life, the monasteries being refuge where men could flee from the lawless and sensual world, and from which a Christian by religious discipline could influence the world around.

The Shambles

'Buy!  Buy!  Buy! Saturday night in the Shambles, after 9 o'clock, was like a medieval fair, with butchers vying with each other to auction unsold meat. Until about 1930, a few butchers had any form of refridgeration, and meat was sold off cheaply, rather than let it spoil over the weekend ...

Victoria House and Fashion in 1900

The most famous of Worcester's drapery and millinery establishments in the 19th century was Victoria House. Its premises was part of the old Hop Pole Hotel, one of the most famous posting establishments in the Midlands.

Foregate Street

From the Town Gate in the Foregate to the Liberty Post at the top of Salt Lane (now Castle Street), was the northern Liberties of the City. The land was outside the walls, but under the control of the City Corporation. Before the Battle of 1651, it was a place of hovels, but in preparation for the attack, these were cleared away. 

The Cross

In medieval times here the life of the City concentrated. An ancient cross with heraldry stood opposite the Trinity Passage. Here war and peace was declared, the royal proclamation made. 

How City Centre Could Be Improved WIEN 29.3.1996

  • A major re-think is needed for Worcester to flourish and become an important centre for shopping, business and tourism in the 21st century. That is the picture that has emerged after the Evening News invited its readers to take part in a survey of what they think of the city.....  

Article Credits; Pam Hinks would like to thank Worcester News formerly Berrow's for permission to reproduce copyright material 

Worcester Evening News 29.3.1996

Astwood Cemetery - Statistics @ 11th February 2019

The present  official statistics for Astwood Cemetery, @11th February 2019 stands at :

  1. Recorded burials to-date = 79,451
  2. Remainder of burial plots available = 600
  3. Current acreage of land = 85 acres 
  4. There are no plans at present to reuse previously used burial plots
  5. There are no further plans at present for a further Cemetery in Worcester or surrounding area 






The Shades Inn, Mealcheapen Street, Worcester

This imposing house, almost opposite the Reindeer Inn, was the Shades Inn, but originally, it was the home of the Russell family, one of the principal families of the City. 

Fight to Save the Golden Lion Finds 400 year Inventory Berrows 12.2.1984

Those battling to save Worcester's Golden Lion as a pub have made a remarkable discovery which adds weight to their campaign.

Article credits; Pam Hinks would like to thank Worcester News, formely Berrow's, for permission to reproduce copyright material  

The Plough Inn, Silver Street, Worcester

The Plough Inn, off Cornmarket, which was demolished to make way for the new Walls Road in c1970, was well over 600 years old. It was originally a religious inn called the Archangel, and stood just outside St Martin's Gate, to accommodate traveler's that arrived too late to enter the City. 

Servant's Mop at Hadley Bowling Green

A leaflet found in a chimney stack at Ombersley shows that the inn at Hadley was used for other than bowling, and that in the 18th century a 'Mop' was held there. The leaflet reads as follows:


At the Sign of the Dog, Sidbury, Worcester 1754

In Berrow's Worcester Journal of May 1754, there was an appeal for a lost person, which mentions a tavern under the 'Sign of the Dog' outside the Turnpike gates, which then stood at the bottom of Wheatsheaf Hill, at the junction of the London and Tewkesbury roads. It reads:


Riot at the Crown Inn, Worcester

The Crown Inn, Broad Street, Worcester, is a fine example of an old coaching inn of the 18th century, but in fact it is much older than that. There are references to the Crown in the City Chamberlains Account's of 1566, and again of 1578, under the heading 'Rentall of the Cities landes in St Nicholas parish' - 

Charles I and Cromwell at the Lygon Arms

This inn was originally the White Hart, and the first reference to this inn, now renowned throughout the country and to tourists abroad, is in 1532

The Crown and Sandy's Ombersley

Almost next door to the King's Arms is the Crown and Sandy's. This fine inn mentioned in the parish register in 1740, has a late Georgian front, but parts are older, and it was said previously to have been thatched. 

Charles II and the King's Arm's Ombersley

The Kings Arms is a very old, half-timbered inn, dating from the early 17th century, with parts going further back to the 15th.  

The Cross Keys Inn, Friar Street, Worcester

The Cross Key's Inn was one of a group of ecclesiastical inns near the Cathedral; the other being the Cardinal's Hat (almost opposite), the Angel de la Trompe, The Mitre and the Seven Stars, all of which have now gone . The Cross Keys did a large trade on market days till the end of the 19th century, but there were 30 licensed houses close around, and the Cross Keys, having had four tenants in 40 years, was the worst of the lot, and was closed about 1905.  

The Cardinal's Hat

Worcester Cathedral in the period of 1100 to 1540 was one of the principal places of pilgrimage. Many ecclesiastical inns sheltered near the Cathedral catering for the traveler and pilgrim....


The Cardinal's Hat

Worcester Cathedral in the period of 1100 to 1540 was one of the principal places of pilgrimage. Many ecclesiastical inns sheltered near the Cathedral catering for the traveler and pilgrim....


The Worcester White House, - Held for 12 Pennies and One Red Rose

The Worcester White House, Foregate Street, was until recent times known as the Star Hotel and in the mid - 19th century, the Start and Garter. It shares the distinction of being the oldest County inn with the Lygon Arms of Broadway, for it has had a licence since 1588, the year of the Armada.

From Workhouse to Tavern

To contrast to the Magpie above, the Farmers Arms on Kempsey Common was converted to a tavern when originally it was the parish Workhouse.

Pub Into School at Tardebigge

The Magpie Inn at Tardebigge was also in the churchyard in days past, but in 1830, it was converted to a school. Before that, when the parson went out to the vestry to exchange surplice for a black gown for preaching, he would step across to the pub for a quick glass of ale while the psalm was sung.

The Mug House, Claines

The Mug House is a rare example of a public house in a churchyard, some say, the only one today. Tombstones, flaking and grey, are within a few feet of the front door, and the church, is only 30 paces away. Calling for their evening pint, the villager's until recent times's had to approach by the churchyard path. 

Pubs in the Churchyard

For centuries church ales were regular features of medieval life, and taverns were not only near at hand, but often in the church yard itself. The Old Talbot, in College Street, Worcester was originally the Church House for St. Michael's Church, which stood in the Cathedral churchyard. It dates from the 13th century at least, and played an important part in baking bread and brewing ales for church occasions.

Misc Notes on Inns

The following are various information notes which doesn't warrant a particular section, but a point of interest during my research etc. 

The Crown Inn, Evesam

The Crown Inn was one of the inns sheltering beneath the walls of Evesham Abbey. It existed before the destruction of that great building, and probably found it convenient to change its name in those troubled times.


The Angel de la Trompe

One of the earliest inns mentioned is the 'Hospice de la Trump' at Worcester in 1473.

Ecclesiastical Inns in Worcestershire

The first reference to inns in Worcestershire come from documents referring to inns maintained by Ecclesiastic authorities. They all had religious signs, sheltering near the walls of great abbeys, offering refreshments and lodgings to pilgrims..

The Anchorite of St. Nicholas

The old church of St. Nicholas was erected in the 12th century and part of the crypt and basement walls appear to date from that period.

More Street Characters

The Shambles by day attracted the street musicians, if one could generously call them that, for a few could generally play or sing. One played a concertina outside the Butchers Arms (now the site of Marks & Spencers), and his repertoire consists of The Old Rustic Bridge and Abide With Me.

Nash's Almshouses

Off New Street are Nash's Almshouses, originally intended, like St.Oswald's and Berkeley's for the aged and to be known as Nash's Hospital. It still occupies the original site, and has given the name Nash's Passage to the narrow way by which it was approached. John Nash, in his will dated 1661, 'gave and devised to 16 trustees, property to be held in trust for pious and charitable uses' and with it was bought not only the land upon which the almshouses stand, but five acres of land, the site of the Royal Infirmary. Further almshouses were built on part of that land, which were demolished several years ago at the site of the Cattle Market. The 25 old folk lived rent free, with a small pension, free coal and light, and had other benefits.


Alderman John Nash

In New Street there is a fine half-timbered building known as Nash's House. It takes its name from Alderman John Nash, Mayor, and twice representative of the City in Parliament during Charles 1 reign.

St. Andrew's Wesleyan Church, Pump Street

In 1795, four years after John Wesley's death, the Wesleyan's in the City bought an old chapel in Pump Street belonging to a branch of Independents. It was surrounded by tumbledown houses, and like all the early dissenter's chapels, was tucked away up an alley so not to invite trouble from the mob. 

John Wesley in Worcester

The City's first Wesleyan Chapel was built in New Street in 1772, and a plaque on the wall commemorates the building. The first recorded visit of Wesley to the County was in 1761, when he preached in the 'Abbey Church' at Evesham.



New Street Inns and Cock Fighting

Twelve large inns catered for the trade in the Cornmarket in olden times, and four of them were in New Street. They were the Greyhound (later called the Old Greyhound) , the New Greyhound, the Swan, and the Pheasant. The Old Greyhound was the principal place of departure for Carrier carts. No less than nine carts left the Greyhound for outlying places on Saturday afternoons, around 4 o'clock. 

New Street

Originally, Friar Street and New Street was one street known as Glover Street; there was no break where Charles Street goes to the Blockhouse, Pump Street was a very narrow lane, the bottom of which was known as Vine Street. 

The Blockhouse

The Blockhouse was the immediate area outside the City Walls on the east and was part of the Liberties of the City. It was a network of ditches, much like Sedgemoor. Even in the 1850's one remained, with its path along, known as 'Withy Walk', now St Paul's Street. 

St Laurence's Church

The site of St, Laurence's Church was outside the City walls, where the burnt-shell of Sigley's Sweet Factory stood in what then prior the Friar's burial ground. William de Beachamp, Earl of Warwick, was buried there in June, 1298, after much ecclesiastic argument and bad feeling.. 

Wyatt's Hospital

Almost opposite Tudor House is Wyatt's Hospital, founded for six poor men, by Edward Wyatt, Mayor of Worcester in 1696.

Tudor House

Friar Street has retained more of its timber-framed buildings than any other street in Worcester. Many of these houses were of considerable size and were once occupied by citizens of substance, but in the 18th century most of them were divided into tenements and allowed to fall into a sorry state of dilapidation. Many of the brick-faced buildings are in fact, timber-framed behind the facade.

The Greyfriar's School

Previous to Schaffer's ownership, the prinicipal part of the building was in the occupation of Mr. Christopher Bardin, an old gentleman of venerable aspect, who conducted a private school at modest fees, in the days when public elementary education was in it's infancy.

The Greyfriars

The Greyfriars in Friar Street is the finest half-timbered building in the City. The building was only part of the Friary which took in all the ground occupied by the present building a and that of Laslett's Hospital.


Friar Street

Friar Street is the most interesting of the medieval streets left in Worcester, and this is due to one man, Mr Matley Moore, who by saving the Greyfriars building, when  the City authorities of the 1930-50 period had 1st the building deteriorate so badly that part of it fell into the street.


The Effect on Road Coaches

The effect of the railways on road coaches in the Birmingham area fluctuated from boom to disaster. Until 1835, six coaches set out daily in each direction to and from Birmingham and Worcester

150th Anniversary Astwood - And the twist to the turn of the tale .........

As we congregated at the grave side of Baby Ryan, it was very peaceful and tranquil with the sun shining through the trees just as Father McGinley started his service, a sound took our attention to look to our left.....

Whilst we all started to arrive at the grave side, a elderly couple stood in the distance, on looking over l could see the lady was very distressed and upset .....

150th Anniversary of Astwood "Graveside Memorial Service Baby Ryan" 9-10-2008

Astwood Cemetery 1858 -2008

Graveside Memorial Service for Baby John Ryan

9th October 2008 3pm

                                                    I am the resurrection and the life, Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live -                       

150th Anniversary of Astwood Baby Grave Marked after 150 Years BBC Ceefax

Ceefax 167 Thursday 9 October 2008 BBC West Midlands

150th Anniversary of Astwood Cemetery The First Burial & Sad Going On's

Not much is recorded about Bridget (nee Butler) or John Ryan, apart from we know John was a Stonemason's labourer and that they came over from Mayo in Ireland during the Potato famine, sadly Bridget became a Prisoner in Worcester's County Gaol, Whitstones. 

150th Anniversary of Astwood - The End of the Chapels (Transcript Page 19)

Unfortunately, through lack of repair by Worcester Council over the years, it was reported in the 1970's that the once so beautiful Chapel required a large amount of work and a considerable amount of money spent to restore them. At this time the Council could not justify spending so a decision was taken to demolish the Chapels which followed in the late 1970's 

150th Anniversary of Astwood - Berrows - Sat 2 Oct 1858 Part 3 - The Collation a t the Guildhall (Transcript of Page 17/18/19)

The LORD BISHOP gave the health of the Mayor and Corporation, eulogizing their exertions and again expressing the gratification which he in common with others present bad experience at the day's ceremonial. (Cheers)

(Article Credits: Pam Hinks would like to thank Worcester News formerly Berrow' for permission to reproduce copyright material)

150th Anniversary of Astwood - Berrows - Sat 2 Oct 1858 Part 2 - The Collation at the Guildhall (Transcript of Page 14/15/16)

A collation was served at the Guildhall at three o'clock to which the Lord Bishop and Mr. Laslett, MP, were invited by the Mayor and Corporation. There were also present most of the members of the Corporation and of the clergy who had taken part in the proceedings of the morning, and a goodly number of ladies. The edibles were provided by Mr. Mountford, with his customary tact.

(Article Credits: Pam Hinks would like to thank Worcester News formerly Berrows for permission to reproduce copyright material)

150th Anniversary of Astwood - Berrows - Sat 2 Oct 1858 Part 1 - Consecration of the Cemetery (Transcript Page 12/13)

The portion of ground which, through the liberality of Mr. Laslett, MP, and the meritorious exertions of the local Board of Health, has been appropriated for use as a Public Cemetery for the inhabitants of this city, was solemnly set apart for its intended purposes on Tuesday last. The Episcopalian Chapel with its burying ground was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of the Diocese, and that of the Congregational Dissenters of various denominations was solemnly inaugurated.

(Article credits: Pam Hinks would like to thank Worcester News, formerly Berrow's for permission to reproduce copyright material)

150th Anniversary of Astwood - Berrows 18 Sept 1857- Worcester New Cemetery (Transcript Page 10/11)

"The works at the new cemetery are now nearly completed: the consecration of the Episcopalian portion will shortly take place. We have previously briefly noticed them as they progressed, but are now enabled to give more detailed description...

(Article credits: Pam Hinks would like to thank Worcester News formerly Berrow's for permission to reproduce copyright material, It also deserves a mention as to the attention to such splendid detail highlighted in the article by the reporter/editor of the day )

150th Anniversary of Astwood - William Laslett of Abberton Hall (Transcript Page 8/9)

For the establishment of an Orphan Asylum he gave £500 and towards building Holy Trinity Church he gave another £500. He built the grandstand at the Worcester County Cricket Ground and in 1876 funded the Worcester Music Hall upon terms very advantageous to the citizens.. But the gift for which William is most remembered, and which has now been linked together with the rest of his running bequests into Laslett Charities, is the purchase of the old Worcester City prison and it's conversion into Almshouses.

150th Anniversary of Astwood - William Laslett of Abberton Hall (Transcript Page 6/7)

In 1843 Thomas Southall, later Town Clerk of Worcester, was articled to William Years after Thomas could remember how as a young man he was asked to dine with William at Thorngrove, house and furnishings were magnificent, William having brought the contents of the house from the previous owner. (Interestingly this same circumstances appears in East Lynne). The dinner silver and wines were of the very best but two dishes made an indelible impression on the young guest - two suckling pigs, one at each end of the table, one boiled and one roasted.

150th Anniversary of Astwood - William Laslett of Abberton Hall (Transcript Pg 4/5)

We have a description of Bishop Carr's funeral as it was reported in The Times. As said before he died at 9 pm on Saturday 24 April 1841 but was not buried until 10 am on Monday 3 May 1841. The face that nine days elapsed between death and burial is unusual, that it was a private funeral is most unusual for a Bishop of the Church of England. The Times of Thursday 6 May 1841 says:

150th Anniversary of Astwood - William Laslett of Abberton Hall (Transcript Pg 2/3)

William Laslett was baptised on 14 October 1799 at All Saints Church, Worcester the first born child of Thomas ans Sophia Laslett. Thomas was a banker whose father had settled in Worcester around 1850. The family were of Kentish yeoman stock originally.

150th Anniversary of Astwood - Forward - ' Our Quiet Citizens of Worcester' (Transcript Pg 1)

In recognition of the 150th Anniversary to commemorate the first burial following the gift of land from William Laslett to the inhabitants of Worcester. Tuesday 9th October 2008 3pm Unveiling of Memorial Headstone for Baby Ryan followed by Grave Side Service


The Beginnings of Worcester

Worcester was the first ford, coming up the Seven, at the head of the tideway which was not unduly affected by the tide, but equally important, there was sharp rising ground which provided a place of comparative safety for those using the ford. This rising ground which Willis Bund called 'the Tump', is that on which the Kings School, Cathedral and the Old Palace now stand.

Public Toilets

The first public toilet for women in Worcester were erected in land off Little Angel Street

The Cathedral Grates and Lich Street

The making of College Street through the Cathedral churchyard from High Street to Sidbury in 1792, followed the clearances of houses which had grown up in the shadow of the Cathedral and around St Michael's church. The fine terrace houses in College Yard were also built at that time. In a house on the south side of St. Michael's was born Lord Somers, one of Worcester's greatest sons

The County Gaol

The County Gaol was built in 1813 in the style of a medieval castle, and because of this, the name of Salt Lane was changed to Castle Street. Mr. Sandy's was the architect, following the principals of John Howard. It contained 90 cells, and was enlarged in 1839 to give 80 extra cells. This was the time of great political agitation, when during the summer, the gaol was excessively crowded with Chartists from Dudley, with cells intended for one containing three.

The Charlies

As one would expect in the centre of the town, the City had a 'watch' here who had a sentry-type box for shelter in the churchyard of St Nicholas Churchyard. This was before there was any regular police force. They were known as 'Charlie's, and they were usually old men, and a very inefficient body.

Hardy and Padmore, the Worcester Foundary

The Worcester Foundary was in the Blockhouse, on the canal-side. It closed in 1967 after 153 years of business

William Laslett

William Laslett was a notable citizen and a Member of Parliament 

The City Gaol

Over the centuries, the City had many prisons. There was the gaol at the east end of St Nicholas Street, a Bridewell at the bottom of Cucken Street (Copenhagan Street) and below the gatehouse of the Foregate were cells which, for a long period, were used as a prison for strangers 

The Eagle Vaults

On the corner of Pump Street stands the Eagle Vaults, a good example of 1890 city tavern

Tudor House

Friar Street has retained more of it's timber-framed buildings than any other street in Worcester. Many of these houses were of considerable size and were once occupied by citizens of substance, but in the 18th century most of them were divided into tenements and allowed to fall into a sorry state of dilapidation

St Laurence's Church

The site of St Laurence's Church was outside the City Walls, where the burnt-out shell of Sigley's Sweet Factory stands in what was Friar's burial ground 

Cameron pledges to add mother's to marriage certificates

David Cameron has announced that mother's names should be added to 'outdated' marriage certificates, following the campaign by Alisa Burkimsher Sadler who started earlier this year 'the

Robert Whiston & the Worcester King School Endowments

Robert Whiston, celebrated headmaster at Rochester and reformer of Cathedral schools, was friend and life-time correspondent of James Knight, the Editor of the Worcester Chronicle. Robert Whiston...

Widows Re-marrying

It was the practice in some parts of requiring widows, on re-marrying, to pay a fine to the Crown, but by the mid-19th century, it had become a thing of the past. Berrow's Worcester Journal...

Two Unusual Marriages at Worcester

In the church records of All Saints Church, Worcester, is what looks like the usual details of a marriage which took place in the church in 1784. It reads: James Grubb of this parish batchelor...

Arley Ferry Boat

Arley Ferry was the most northerly of the Worcestershire ferries, and the last to operate. The earliest reference to it is in the Close Rolls of 1323 when it was referred to as 'the Ferry'. In 1602...

Pershore New Bridge

When highway bridges became the repsonsibility of the County Council in 1920, it was decided that a new bridge had to be built at Pershore. Unlike as at Bransford, the old bridge was left standing,...

Worcestershire's Historic Bridges

Introduction The destruction of many of Worcestershire's ancient bridges in the first half of the 19th century on the grounds that they were not suited to the modern day traffic at that time,...

The Tardebigge Witch Case

Mrs Cartwright of Stourbridge bewitched led to Court hearing

Grave Stone Ovens

In clearing churchyards, grave stones have sometimes to be removed, and in the last century, some stones were used in the making of bread ovens which were in almost every cottage and house of some size.

A Riotous Penance

In a collection of Stourbridge newspaper cuttings of about 1950, there were items from a 'Century Old Diary' kept by a Mr. B Leadbetter. There was no identification as to the newspaper, but it was thought to be the County Express. The diary entry was for May 5th, 1849, and it was revealed the fact that the custom of doing penance was still in vogue - but the ceremony of penance was more like a circus. Here is Leadbetter's description of the scene:

Image of Bransford Road Station c1909

Old Image of Bransford Road, Station c1909 which was a good way from the Village

The Effect on Road Coaches

The effect of the railways on road coaches in the Birmingham area fluctuated from boom to disaster. Until 1835, six coaches set out daily in each direction to and from Birmingham and Worcester, but when the London & Birmingham Railway opened, the traffic trebled because it was cheaper, quicker, and much more comfortable to get to London by coach to Birmingham

English Carriage Work

Though French and German engines were used in the early cars, English carriage work which had been so admired in horse carriages, was in wide demand, not only in England, but on the continent as well, and motor cars fitted out in great luxury and style began to flow back.

The Railway Insitute at Shrub Hill

The directors of the West Midland Railway took a deep interest in the wefare of the workmen. A remarkable organisation, in the nature of a friendly society provided for sickness, fetes and excursions for families and friends. A Railway Institute was housed in the large rooms beneath the driveway to Shrub Hill Station, which later degenerated into storerooms.

Shrub Hill Station

 There used to be an orchard where Shrub Hill Station stands today and the Engine  Cleaning Sheds occupied the site of an old farm house close by. The Railway opened for traffic in 1852. The Company Directors travelled from Oxford to Wolverhampton and dined at an hotel there. 

The Railway Line That Failed To Get There

The engineers of the Worcester and Hereford Railway originally planned a branch line that was to connect Diglis Docks to the main line at Foregate Street, called the 'Butts Spur Line'. The hope was that big ships would come  up the Severn to Diglis and there the goods would be transhipped to rail.  

Temporary Station at Midland Road

For five years, until 1859, Worcester passengers had to use a horse bus to catch the train at Spetchley, 'a huddling of 15 persons in a lumbering conveyance for an hour's tedious jolting', and when at least the O.W & W was empowered by the Select Committee  to build a branch line to Abbots Wood, ( before other O.W. & W  lines were open)

Suggested Station at Bath Road & Edgar Tower

The City Council and Chamber of Commerce called for a line from Abbots Wood to the vicinity of Castle Hill (near Edgar Tower)

The Birmingham & Gloucester Company

The logical route from Birmingham to Bristol would have been through Worcester

The Grand Connection Railway

 The Grand Connection Railway was originally to run from Gloucester west of the Severn

Gravitation Railways

Gravitation Railways or 'Incline Planes'

A View of Worcester c.1779

Original hand-coloured aquatint, A View of Worcester c.1779, engraver unknown


Built in 1480, this timber-framed house is looked after by the National Trust.Open Easter to OctoberWednesday, Thursday & Bank Holidays - 5pm

King Charles House

On the corner of the Cornmarket and New Street stood the most important house in this part of the city. Now called King Charles House, it was built by Richard Durant, a wealthy brewer, in 1577 as a two-storey house.

Witley Court

Great Witley, Worcester.A most spectacular country house ruins, step back in time with your own personal audio tour and listen to household memories of "!Upstairs Downstairs life and extravagant...

Harvington Hall

Harvington Hall Nr Kidderminster WorcsMedival and Elizabethan Manor House, contains secret hiding places and rare wall paintings.Adimission charges apply

The Elgar Birthplace Museum

3 miles West off A44 Leominster Road Tel 01905 333224Open daily 11.00am -1700pm Last admission 4.15. Closed 23rd December to 31st JanuaryA fascinating insight into the life and music, family and...

The Guildhall

Queen Ann style of architecture, the Guildhall is regarded as one of the finest civic buildings in the county.Monday - Saturday 8.30am - 4.30pm

A storm of Periwinkles !

A phenomenal storm took place at Henwick in 1881. Mrs Millward of Bromyard Road recalled the incident when she was a girl: 'I was  8 or 9 at the time. There was an awful storm. When we left school in the afternoon, as soon as we heard what had happened,

The Worcester Earthquake

What was described by the local papers as a 'Severe Shock of Earthquake' took place at 5.30 am. on the 17th December, 1896. They reported: 'People were awakened by a loud rumbling noise, accompanied by disturbance of the ground so that houses were shaking,

Click here for the transcript of all E mails posted on

19th March 2002 - 18.22 GMT from Joyce Gramza, Fulton, NY Hello List, I've just subscribed here for the purpose of posting a request for a worthy search effort. I am in upstate New York and don't know much about the UK.

Hardy and Padmore The Worcester Foundry

The Company, Hardy and Padmore was founded in 1814 , when Robert and John Hardy migrated from across the Scottish border to set up business in Worcester. Fifteen years later they were joined in partnership by Richard Padmore who arrived from Shropshire

Worcester Blade Mill and Waterworks

At Worcester there was for centuries a small channel from the Severn, about 100 yards long, formed by an island or ait, just below the old bridge. The channel was known as the 'Little Severn'

The Iron and Engineering Trades in Worcester

Worcester has always been associated with the metal trades. In Roman times it was an important smelting centre. Their bloomery hearths leaving a field of rich iron slag from Broad Street to Pitchcroft, and from The Cross to the Severn.

Coal Mining in Worcestershire

Early Workings: Coal was worked like an agricultural product, and pits were regarded as part of the manorial estate, with leases to let to tenants. there are records of coal being worked in Worcestershire in the 13th century.

Gazetteer of the Ironworks in the Severn Valley and Wyre Forest Area

For the purpose of this work it is necessary to use the old boundaries of the Forest of Wyre, which approximated from the Forest Gate (Foregate) of the City of Worcester northwards to the Stour Valley, and westward to the valley of the Teme

19th Century Ironmasters in Worcestershire

Thos Hawkes, 'The Iron King', M.P fot Dudley, 1825-50 John Bradley, half-brother of James Foster, Stourbridge. James Foster, M.P. for Bridgnorth, of Apley Park. Frederick Smith, controller of mining estates and ironworks for Lord Ward

Tonnage Burdens to Severn Ports

The whole navigation extended 160 miles, as far upstream as Pool Quay, Welshpool, Montgomeryshire. Severn ports could be reached by vessels of the following burdens:

Bygone Traffic on the Severn

The relative importance of river trade to places on Severn can be roughly gauged by the number of trading vessels which were owned at various places. A list was compiled in May 1756, and published in the Gentleman's Magazine of 1758, xxviii p.277-8

Salt Trows or Wich Barges

Between 1860 and the early years of the present century large numbers of new vessels were built for the salt trade. They were known among the Severn trowmen as 'Wich Barges', the name being an abbreviation of Droitwich.

The Severn Trow 'Spry'

The 'Spry' was built at Chepstow in 1894 by William Hurd. She was registered at Gloucester as a sloop, Official Number 99538, 36 tons net, 46 tons gross, her managing owner being Mr.Davis, Stone Merchant of Chepstow.

Floods make Severn Unnavigable

The Severn is subject to violent changes of level as the flood waters come down from Wales; a rise of 18 ft in 5 hours being known, and heights of 25 ft above average low level is not uncommon, rendering the river unnavigable.

Last Trow under Sail

The last Trow under sail was the Alma, built in 1854, which traded as a ketch under 1943, while the Palace of 1837 carried stone from Tintern until about 1939

Brindley and Holt Castle Waterwheel

The Navigation Improvement Bill of 1849 mentioned that Brindley had been asked to survey the Severn from Queenhill to Pendock in 1763, but his opinion was never acted upon. Also that Mr. Pickernell, the occupier of Holt Castle, had a waterwheel for supplying

Average Tonnage on Severn, 1849

The average tonnage passing Newnham (1849) was 363,000 tons, or about 1,000 tons per day. This was exclusive of 205,000 tons that go by way of the Gloucester and Berkeley Canal, part of which is locked into the river again. Ben Devey, of Stourport, a carrier,

The 'Bonavista' of Stourport

The 'Bonavista'  was owned by Captain Hattom of the Angel, who also owned the 'Lady Steamers'. At that time of 1907, she sailed twice daily from Stourport to Holt Fleet after Whit Monday.

The 'Amo' Steamer of Stourport

The 'Amo' was the largest pleasure steamer in Stourport. She was built of wood at Windsor in 1892, and rebuilt at Stourport in 1904. Registered at London 1896, No 110195. Length 68 ft 2 ins. Breadth 15 ft 2 ins. Deoth 4ft 5 ins. She was owned (1910-18)

The Severn Punt

The Severn Punt was a direct descendent of the ancient dug out canoe, They were 25 ft long and 3 ft wide. The sides were of oak, but the bottom were larch. Old Salmon fishing punts had one end taken off. Up until recent years a Punt was on show at the Pond

The 'Lady Alwyn'

Built at Worcester in 1881 by Mr.Everton in a shed in Hylton Road. She always seemed to sail with a list to one side. She was named after Lady Alwyn Compton, wife of the Dean of Worcester, 1878-86. She was built of wood, Length sixty one and a quarter feet,

Details of Pleasure Steamers based at Worcester

Sovereign  Built 1821. Built on the Catamaran principle with two hulls 5 ft apart. Engines to make 6 m.p.h against the stream. Doubtful if she ever reached Worcester as she blew up.SABRINA  Paddle Steamer built at London c. 1846. 90 ft long, 14 ft beam,

Ernie North Skipper of the Severn Traveller

Ernie North, skipper of the Severn Traveller. He reckoned he carried 20,000 passengers in the Traveller in 1984, and the sister vessel, the Pride of the Midlands did the same. At the height of the season, the Traveller might clock up 3 or 4 trips in a 16

Tankers into Pleasure Craft

Steam propelled pleasure craft on the Severn were converted to diesel about 1960. In 1971 they were taken over by Mitchell & Butler's Brewery and run by their special projects departtment under the name of The Worcester Steamer Company

The 'Beatrice'

Built of iron at London in 1893 for the London Council . Registered at London No 101979. 81 ft 3 ins long. Breadth 11 ft 6 ins. Depth 6 ft 1 in. She was brought round the coast by Frank Roberts in 1922. She is here moored below the Deanery at Worcester.

The 'Fashion' Steamer

The 'Fashion' used by the Worcester City Chamberlain to inspect the Swan Upping at Worcester. Circ 1909

Steamer Accident at Diglis Locks, August 1918.

'One of the most alarming steamer accidents which has occured on the Severn in past years took place at Diglis, when a young Birmingham woman travelling in a Stourport steamer lost her life.

The 'Duchess Doreen'

The Duchess Doreen was originally named the ' Duchess of York' but her name was changed in the 1920's by her owner at that time, Mrs Bertha Huxter, and named after her daughter, Doreen. She plied the Severn at Worcester in company with the 'Belle' for many

The 'Sabrina' Paddle Steamer 1846.

The Sabrina Paddle Steamer was 90 ft long, 14 ft beam, 25 ft across the paddle boxes; draws 3 ft when loaded, and has two engines of 12 horse-power each. 'Mr. James Wall purchased a London-built steam vessel to ply between Worcester and Gloucester,

An Advert Announcing the Severn running from Worcester to Gloucester

The SEVERN Steamer will run from Ribbesford to Worcester every Saturday, Wednsday, Thursday and Friday. (Commencing on Sat. next, August 19) leaving Ribbesford every morning at half-past Eight, and Stourport at a quarter to Nine;

1854 The Severn Steamer

'The Severn Steamer which was built in London, and had been plying for some time on the River Severn, it was about 90 ft long by 11 ft beam; and was drawing about 2 ft of water; steams about 10 miles an hour; and was certified to carry 300 passengers.

The Perseverance Steamer - Tiller Steered

An interesting feature, from the shipbuilding point of view, was the fact that she was tiller streered, at least she was in her earlier days, though I think she was later on converted into

The First Steam Boats at Worcester

The appearance at Worcester in August 1814, of the first steam boat owned by the Bath & Bristol Canal Co. exited much curiosity'. R.C Gaut, A History of Worcestershire Agriculture and Rural Revolution, p.198

Steam Passengers 1912

In the summer of 1912 the passenger steamers on the Severn ran over 34,000 miles and made over 6,000 lockings with passengers on board,

Drinking Licences on Steamers

B.W.J. 20.10.1900. 'A steamer, however short its journey, the moment it leaves its moorings, whether it be Sunday or weekday, may sell intoxicating drink under an Inland Revenue licences.

Witchcraft in Worcestershire

In olden times every women - or for that matter, man- who led a solitary life was suspected by neighbours of practising the 'black art'. This was particularly the case if the recluse had knowledge of plants.

Trial by Water

It was usual for a witch to undergo 'trial by water', for it was believed that,as a form of baptism, the water would reject a disciple of the devil. The thumps were tied crosswise to the opposite

The Salt Lane Witches

The Power of a witch to bring wagons to a halt was told by Edward Corbett in one of his local fairy tales. Two old women, who lived in Salt Lane (Castle St),

Rebecca Swan, the Kidderminster Witch

In the 1850s, few people living within ten miles of Kidderminster doubted that Becky Swan was a witch. She won her reputation when, being found guilty of obtaining money by false pretences from a servant girl, she prophesied that the magistrate

Edward C. Corbett and the Telling of Folk Tales

Folklore is the study of beliefs and practises once firmly held. Few now believe in charms, in giants and fairies, but less than a century ago people in lonely places believed in them.

The Witch's Sister

Becky had a sister, Eliza Swan, noted for her charms, who kept a diary, and lived in Kidderminster, working as a hand weaver. She was often in great poverty and was sent to prison for debt.

The Shrawley Witch

A notable witch case from Shrawley, on the west bank of the Severn, when Margaret Hill was the subject of many accusations. A child who refused her some oatmeal subsequently fell sick, and when she had been unable to obtain tobacco 'on trust',

Williamson's Providence Work's

Well over 100 years ago, a local tinsmith, William Blizzard Williamson, founded a sheet metal works in Providence Street, and called it the Providence Works. It was small but it became the base of operations for Metal Box's biggest money -spinner in the UK

McNaught & Co's Carriage Works.

The head of the firm of McNaught & Co., Mr.J.A.McNaught, was for over half a century acively connected with the business life of the City of Worcester. He was born in Kendal, in Westmorland in 1828, his father being a coachbuilde

Robert Baker & Royal Worcester

Skilled potter and teacher, became Professor of Ceramics at the Royal Collage of Art. In 1959 he left that post to join the Board of the Royal Worcester Porcelain, bringing with him some of his most talented colleagues and students


Potter came from a family of potters from Swansea, who came to work at Worcester in the early 19th century. E.W. was apprenticed to George Granger on November 14th, 1845.

The Willow Pattern and Blue Dragon Designs

The son of a Rector of Comberton, Thomas Turner, apprenticed to the Worcester Porcelain Works at Warmstrey House, introduced the 'Willow Pattern' into England,

The beginnings of the Worcester Porcelain Company

  1. By the middle of the 18th century 'china' was the fashionable rage throughout Europe. Several attempts were made to emulate the imported porcelain from the Far East, but the approach in England was different to that in France and Germany,

Porcelain Manufacture In Worcester

Porcelain manufacture in Worcester started in 1751 by Dr. John Wall and William Davis of this city. The cloth trade on which the city's prosperity depended had declined, and there was a search for new industries.

Early Engineers

The early engineers were mostly millwrights and smiths, making and erecting mills and gins (or engines). A famous Worcester engineer named Yarnold,

The Beginning of Iron Workings in Worcestershire

Roman iron workings in the Severn valley were extensive. The value of iron was great, and often used as currency. In a Domesday survey Gloucester paid tribute in bars of iron. In the Wyche Cutting, Malvern,

Shot Manufactory in High Street, 1793

Berrow's Worcester Journal of August 15, 1793, announced that 'At Roper's Tea Warehouse, High Street, Worcester, shot is manuafctured, and well-known to be a good article,

W.E.Tucker, Printer

W.E.Tucker was a printer of some distinction. It was he who built the large works in Barbourne, (Northwick Avenue), which was later occupied by R.J.Collins, and later by Messrs Kay.Co.

James Plum & Son, a Worcester Cutler

For over 70 years, James Plum, father and son, carried on a cutlers business in High Street. They were among a number of old established residents there who lived over the shop in the old manner.

The Decline of the Lowesmoor Music Halls

With the closing of the Alhambra as a music hall in December 1869, the New Concert Hall had only the Railway Bell in opposition, and that establishment was not listed in the Era Almanack after 1870, for though it continued as a place of entertainment,

Strolling Players and Edward Jackson, Mayor of Worcester, 1723

The following squib is in the Prattington Collection in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries:'To the Rt  Worshipful the Mayor of Worcester; occasioned by his having said he would suffer neither Player nor Puppet,

St John's Cinema

For over 50 years, St John's Cinema was the focal point of family entertainment for those living in Worcestet, west of the Severn. An old public house, the King's Head, stood on the site until July 1914, when a cinema was built by the Godsall brothers.

The Apollo Cinema, Park Street, Worcester

The Apollo Cinema was converted from the Zion Chapel, which had been rebuilt in 1845 with an imposing frontage. It seated 167, but in 1910, the church closed, and the building became a cinema

Worcester Music Halls -1868 to 1885, from The Era Almanack

The Era Almanack was published annually by The Era, a weekly theatrical newspaper, one of several appearing in the 19th century.

A Confusion of Names

The fact that there were two Music Halls in the 1870s, and that Hill called his The Canterbury Music Hall, then the New Concert Music Hall, needs some explanation.

The Alhambra becomes a Circus Amphitheatre

The Alhambra could not, it seems, compete as a music hall with its brash neighbour and its can-can dancers.It had more room however,

Rivalry Between the Alhambra and the New Concert Hall

The music hall press notices in the late 1960s make an interesting study. It is obvious that considerable rivalry had developed between the Lowesmoor houses that stood so close to each other.

The New Worcester Concert Hall, Lowesmoor

At the gates of the Port of Lowesmoor, on the eastern corner, was the Navigation Inn, kept for over 24 years by John Hill, a very popular resort of the watermen and others using the wharf, where the usual bar entertainment could be enjoyed

The Alhambra Music Hall, Lowesmoor

The Alhambra Music Hall was a wooden building with an earth floor, situated half-way between Rainbow Hill canal bridge and the gates of the Port of Lowesmoor,

The Railway Bell Music Hall, St Martin's Gate

In 1855, the Railway Bell was listed in the local Directories as a Beer Retailer, but in the 1860s it must have developed into more than just a beer house, for it is the only music hall listed in Worcester in the early Era Almanacks.

The Music Halls

The Music Halls developed in the 1850s from the Tavern Concert Rooms. At some of the better class inns professional singers were engaged and 'entertainers' from the travelling theatre

Information from Police Inspector (retired) George Lewis, 1988

There was soon after the War (1947), a theatre group which began an experimental theatre at the rear of the Black Horse Inn, Lowesmoor, persumably in an old stable or outhouse there.

The Bankside Theatre, South Quay, Worcester

In the 1950s, a small company of professional actors, filled with the optimism of the immediate post-war years, converted a warehouse on the South Quay, at Worcester, into a theatre;

A 'Gaiety Girl's Recollection of the Theatre Royal, Worcester.

Mrs. Teddie Wright, then Teddie Howsen, recalled playing at the old Theatre Royal, Worcester:

The Magic of the Theatre Royal, Worcester - A Child's View

Was the old Theatre Royal, Worcester, a beautiful place or was it youthful imagination ? I lived in Worcester until I was seven years old. My family was very strict. When out with them

A Rush for the 'Gods' - Mr Wyatt Remembers the Theatre Royal

At the close of the Theatre Royal in 1955, Mr. Wyatt, who lived at the little tobacconist shop which for 100 years had stood cheek by jowl against the Theatre,

Lady Carlton

Prominent in all the events at the Worcester Theatre Royal was Lady Carlton. She was an actress of great charm and beauty, and of some renown when she married Artur Carlton, the Lessee of the Theatre Royal, where she 'once played triumphantly in Shakespeare

The Theatre Royal

In 1805, the Angel Street Theatre became the Theatre Royal, and for a period of about sixty years the dramatic amusement of the City was supplied by Stock Companies, no longer vagabonds of the stroller sort.

'Cutting and Flashing'

The Angel Street Theatre opened in 1779 with the same itinerant companies of the West Midlands circuit. Though the provincial stage was a valuable training ground, as the Kembles had shown, the companies were often forced by desperate finacial straits,

The Theatre Burnt to the Ground

The first lessees were Messrs Loome and Windley, and on the evenings following the opening they had engaged a company that performed The Lady of Lyons. The Earl and Countess of Dudley were present, and the Theatre was crowded to excess.

A Prologue for the New Theatre

The new theatre was opened on January 18, 1875, with an amateur performance. Before the play began, the band of the Rifle Corps played God Save the Queen,

The Theatre Royal Rebuilt

In August 1874, dissatisfaction with the 'uncomfortable and ill-arranged structure' led Mr. W. D.Deighton to form a limited company, with a capital of £5,000 to purchase and rebuild

The Theatre in Decline

In August 1874, dissatisfaction with the 'uncomfortable and ill-arranged structure' led Mr. W. D. Deighton to form a limited company, with a capital of £5,000 to purchase and rebuild the theatre. Captain Castle was Chairman of Directors

Improving Public Taste

In 1851, Mr.Bennett resigned as lessee of the Theatre Royal and became a member of the City Council. For thirty years he had kept the theatre to a high peak of respectability.

Mrs Jordan and Mrs Siddons

At the Worcester Theatre in June 1798, Mrs Jordan, one of the most attractive actresses on the London Stage, played Rosalind in 'As You Like it'

Stars of the London Stage

Miller's company had not met with the success that had fallen to its rival, the Kembles. In 1783, the two companies performed Hamlet. This was unusual,  and it may have been that the Kembles wished to give the Worcester audiences a chance to compare Mr. Penn

Valentine Green on the Angel Street Theatre

Valentine Green, the contemporary historian, described the theatres as 'containing an ascending range of twelve benches gently incurving towards the stage. There were twelve larges boxes, three on each side above the same number below.

The End of the King's Head Theatre

In the 1770s the old wooden theatre at the back of the King's Head Inn was almost at the end of its life. A barn theatre in an inn yard was not worthy of the fashionable county capital that Worcester had become.

The Georgian Theatre in Angel Street, Worcester

After the Kembles moved to the higher realms of the London stage, a Mr. Whiteley from Manchester, became the manager of the King's Head Theatre. He was mean and brutel in his business dealings, but he was a financial success.

The Kemble Family

The year following Sarah's success brought both Miss Kemble and her brother John to London. They were a success, though it was obvious that Miss. Kemble's voice and person was not so distinguished as her sister's. John Kemble too, was stiff and formal,

Mrs Siddon's at Drury Lane

At the end of 1775, Mrs . Siddon's made her first appearance on the London stage as Portia, in the Merchant of Venice. It was a disastrous evening. She was overcome by nerves and made the poorest showing, her performance being damned by the critics

Garrick and Parson Bates

After her marriage, Sarah's marrvellous tallents began to grow and increase, till her reputation reached even the Metopolis, the goal of every actor. Garrick, then in the zenith of his fame, heard of her and one day at Cheltenham, in the summer of 1775,

Sarah Kemble

Her juvenile beauty brought her much admiration. Her affections were, however, bestowed on William Siddons, a young actor who had joined the company from Birmingham, who was good-looking and able. Her preference led to his discharge from the company.

The Greatest Tragic Actress

Early Years at WorcesterThe King's Head Theatre was traditionally celebrated as the theatre where the greatest tragic actress of the British stage made her first appearance. Sarah Kemble, known later as Mrs. Siddons, was the daughter of Roger Kemble,

Life in an 18th Century Theatrical Company

Theatrical companies followed each other around the circuit, and their press announcements give some idea of the preparation that was necessary to begin a season at Worcester. In November 1768, Berrow's Journal announced; 'Mr. Kemble begs to inform the Ladies

Worcester A Social Centre

By the mid-18th century, Worcester had become a centre of social life for a wide area. It was the regular practice of country gentlemen to come to the City for the season of the races and the Assizes; and many owned or rented houses in the Foregate or the

The West Midland Circuit and the New Theatre

The strolling players moving from place to place, gradually began to travel in regular circuits. They usually lived a life of vagabondage and degradation, often in terror of the law, and by stress  of circumstances, driven to meannesses and dishonesty.

The Life of a Strolling Player

It should be noted that the playbill states that the play is presented gratis. This was an attempt to defeat the magistrates, who were usually against play-acting. The players could only give their plays by interlarding them with musical entertainments.

The Kemble Company Players

Twelve children were born to the Kembles in various parts of their circuit, four being boys. Roger educated his children remarkably well; John being intended for the priesthood, had a season at the Worcester Cathedral Grammer School, and Sarah was received

John Ward and His Daughter Sally

The King's Head Theatre was let to travelling companies, and for a number of years it was under the management of John Ward and his son-in-law Roger Kemble, the father of the 'divine Sarah Siddons'.

The King's Head Theatre

By the early 18th century it is certain that a permanent theatre had been established in Worcester. It was a small wooden building, probably an old barn, in the yard at the rear of the King's Head Inn, which stood almost immediately opposite the Guildhall

The Restoration and Estcourt the Mimic

For the twelve years of the Commonwealth lay acting was prohibited, but it revived rapidly with the Restoration, and in 1682 there was a 'Pageant House' in the Cornmarket, but whether this was used as a theatre, or a store for the equipment used in this was

Plays at the Town Hall

Plays seem to have been performed in the Town Hall, for in 1622, the Corporation ordered that in future, plays should be performed in the lower end only, and not in the upper end, or in the Council Chamber; an ordnance not strictly observed, for it was found

The Queen's Players

Play acting was very popular in Elizabethan days, and travelling companies were paid, surprisingly, from municipal funds. In Worcester, municipal records of theatrical performances exist as far back as 1572, when the 'Low Baylie',

The Early Theatre in Worcester

In medival times plays were a feature of all cathedral cities, and most certainly, Worcester would have seen many companies of players and mummers performing for the great number of pilgrims visiting the shrines of the two great saints,

An Old Style Barber

Between the pubs, at No. 103 High Street, was R.C.Cole, an old style hairdresser. Until the acceptance of the safety razor, it was the custom of the better classes to go to the barber to be shaved, and at Cole's each customer had his own brush and mug kept

Early Fashion Prints

The early 19th century was the period of beautiful coloured prints of mens and women's fashions. Before 1830, full size paper patterns could be brought at milliners and dressmakers for £1 a set. Foreign fashions were the vogue and flooded in to such an extent

Butchers Shops in the City

In the 1908 Worcester Directory there are recorded 70 butchers, plus 7 pork butchers, making a total of 77; but not recorded are the butcher's stall in the Meat Market. In 1930, 85 butcher's shops, plus 4 pork butchers are listed.

100 Years of Shopping in Foregate Street

A schedule of shops 1896-1993

The Shambles

In the old days each trade had its own street or district in which to sell its goods. In the centre of the Shambles was the Meat Market and an amazing number of butchers shops were concentrated in the street and the market.

Foregate Street

From the Town Gate in the Foregate to the Liberty Post at the top of Salt Lane (now Castle Street), was the northern Liberties of the City. The land was outside the walls, but under the control of the City Corporation. Before the Battle of 1651

The Cross

In medival times here the life of the City concentrated. An ancient cross with heraldry stood opposite the Trinity Passage. Here war and peace was declared, and royal proclamations made. St. Nicholas Church had a grave yard in front.

Shops and Shopping in the Worcester in the 19th Century

Worcester was the hub of the county, containing banks, attorneys, solicitors, physicians, apothecaries, dealers in corn, seeds, hops and other agricultural needs. There were inns with Commercial Rooms, a theatre, assembly rooms (for the Hunt Balls),

Alfred Watkins and Salt Leys

Alfred Watkins, famous for his book 'The Old Straight Track' and Ley Lines, gave a lecture to the Woolhope Society in 1922, at which he put forward the view that place-names containing 'White' or a corruption of White, pointed to ancient salt roads or leys.

Toot Hills

Toothills are rounded hills rising beside ancient trackway, which were pre-Roman places of worship, dedicated to Teutates, or Toot. Lees considered Elbury Mount to be a Toothill, and that the ancient track called Porte Fields which ran between Helbury Hill

Travelling On The Old Roads

The old roads were alive with multifarious travellers, and in 1911, an old contributor to a Worcester paper looked back with nostalgia:'The cycle and the motor car have in some measure restored life to our highways, but our modern vehicles cannot invest

A Pre-Historic Track from Bredon Hill to Midsummer Hill

In the Worcestershire Archaeological Society's Transactions of 1936, Edward F. Gray of Ripple Hall recorded an ancient trackway going through Ripple Churchyard, as follows:Bredon Hill and Midsummer Hill were once connected by a track, now partly overgrown

Prehistoric Trackways in Worcestershire

Worcestershire was once part of a large river estuary with the range of the Malvern Hills on the west side, and the hills of Clent and Lickey leading to the Ridgeway on the eastern border. The rivers were tidal to Bewdley at the least, with great areas

The Spring and Langon Championship Fight , Part 3 The First 32 Rounds

At 12.35 Spring arrived with Tom Crib as second, from Croome Court, where they had been staying as guests of Lord Coventry. Most of the nobility of the Midlands were present, including three peers, but Langon was nowhere to be found. Because of legal difficulties,

The Spring and Langon Championship Part 2 - 40,000 on Pitchcroft

The match was arranged to take place on Pitchcroft, with the use of the grandstand, for stakes of 300 sovereigns aside, and handbills were circulated. So great was the demand for seats that wagons and temporary stands had to be used, and cost an extra 10

The Spring and Langon Championship Fight at Worcester Part 1

The greatest of the county matches, and one of the greatest prize fights of all times, took place on Pitchcroft on Januaury 7, 1824: when Tom Spring and Paddy Langon fought for the championship of England.Spring, a native of Warwick, was the reigning champion

Boughton Cricket Ground, W.G.Grace and R.E.Foster.

W.G.Grace made his first appearance in the Midlands at the age of 20, and though only 20, he was easily the greatest cricketer in the country. The occasion was at the Boughton Cricket Ground, Worcester, in 1870, with a Worcestershire 22, and the United