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A Tribute to Bill Gwilliam MBE

A Tribute to Bill Gwilliam, MBE

Trade and Industry Articles

John Oswen, Worcester's First Printer

John Oswen, Worcester's First Printer

High Street was for many centuries the street of printers. The first of that craft to practice in Worcester began in 1548. He was John Oswen of Ipswich, which at that time, he had three printers, Worcester being the 9th place in the British Isles to take up the 'art'. Other places ranking in time before Worcester were Tavistock 1525, Cambridge 1521, York 1509, Edinburgh 1507, London and St Albans 1480 and Oxford between 1478 and 1486.  

 


'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


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.


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


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

E.W.Locke.

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.

Glass works in Worcester

Glass was at one time made at Worcester in the 17th century, but the maker ended up in a debtors 'prison in London, where he died. In 1739, in the Weekly  Worcester Journal, there was a mention of a glass house (or works) at Worcester.

Bank in Mealcheapen St.

BWJ of January 8, 1795 reported "The public are respectfully informed that a bank has been opened at No . 16 Mealcheapen Street, near the Corn Market, under the firm of Farley, Wakeman, Turner and F.Spilsbury, where they solicit the favours of their

Michael Grundy writes:

No-one has done more in a lifetime than H.W ("Bill") Gwilliam to chronicle the history of the City of Worcester and County of Worcestershire. Importantly too, his prolific writings on the Faithful City's past have always been in a most readable, fascinating and absorbing form, full of colour and with a liberal sprinkling of humour.

After retiring from a distinguished career in teaching, Bill researched and compiled volume after typewritten volume on the history of the city and county of Worcester, covering a myriad of subjects such as folklore, pubs, crimes, newspapers, transport. rivers and, above all, "People and Places."

Eighteen years ago, when I began producing weekly features on local history for the Worcester Evening News, I received invaluable help from Bill, and I am sure many other local history researchers down the decades will have had cause to be equally grateful for his ready assistance.

Bill has always shown abounding enthusiasm for the extremely eventful and chequered past of Worcester and the county and has been a veritable font of knowledge on his painstakingly researched subject.

Little wonder that the Queen bestowed the MBE on him for services to the public. I know that the Buckingham Palace Investiture where he received the medal from Her Majesty was probably the most memorable day of his life.

Happily, Bill's vast writings are not being allowed to languish in numerous file folders on shelves around a bedroom at his Worcester home.

Two books of his work have already been published - "Old Worcester: People and Places" and "Worcestershire's Hidden Past" and are available in bookshops, having been produced by Halfshire Books.

I understand too that the Worcestershire Record Office has copied several of his volumes for the county archives, and I heartily applaud Pam Hinks for now so patiently making Bill's researches available to an even wider audience via the Internet.

Mike Grundy, Worcestershire Evening News