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Historical Studies Articles

The Old Sheep Market - After the Plague

The Old Sheep Market - After the Plague

When the plague died down no more burial were permitted at the Angel Street site. The cemetery was permanently closed lest any disturbance of the tainted soil might liberate germs of the deadly pestilence. Hence the land was kept as an open space, and in the days of street ........


Pitchcroft and the fight to get public possession

Pitchcroft and the fight to get public possession

Today, it is hard to believe that before 1899 the citizens of Worcester had not the privilege of roaming at will over Pitchcroft. 

Pitchcroft was owned by several people and there were no boundaries to the various properties, so they were not distinguishable but could only be delineated on the Tythe Map. There had always been footpaths giving access to ferries, which had been used for so long that the public had acquired the right to pass along them during what was termed the 'closed season'. The acquiring of the croft for public recreation was achieved by many steps against dogged and fierce opposition.


The Plague Pit, Old Sheep Market

The Plague Pit, Old Sheep Market

At the bottom of Angel Street was the Old Sheepmarket. It was an open space until 1920 when the present roofed structure was built, although built in since. Traditionally, it was the site of the plague pit, Bill Gwilliam  recalled how the piers for the roof was constructed and a mass of bones removed when the foundations were dug out...


Public Lavatories

Public Lavatories

The first public lavatories for women in Worcester were erected in land off Little Angel Street. After some years of compaigning, with appeals from the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Worcester in 1913, they were eventually erected 1915, but were mot open on Sundays.


Mrs Henry Wood

Mrs Henry Wood

 

The story of Mrs. Henry Wood is one of the great success stories of the 19th century. She was born during the great frost of 1814 and a century later 6,000,000 copies of her books had been sold (not counting pirate copies and her huge contribution to magazines).

She was born Ellen Price at 18 Sidbury (called Danesbury House but rebuilt in 1889). Her father was Thomas Price, one of the largest glove manufacturies, who lived near other glovers in Sidbury (Burlingham was at 23 and Dent at 26). Up to the age of seven, she was brought up in her home of her grandmother, but when the latter died she went to live with her father at St. Mary's Terrace, London Road. She was married in Whittington Church to the head of a large banking firm in India and left Worcester, only returning some years later to consult Henry Douglas Carden, the great Worcester surgeon. She suffered from spinal trouble and used a reclining chair to write. Just before her death, she was writing 'Oswald Cray ' and broke down in health as soon as it was finished........  


The Commandery

The Commandery

It was founded by Bishop Wulstan at the end of the 11th century for a master, four brethren and a chaplain. The establishment was at once religious and charitable, one of the houses outside the walls (like Oswald's) which catered for the reception of wayfarers who arrived after the city gates had closed at night and who otherwise would have had to sleep in the open. It was never connected with the Templars as some have thought, and the name, Commandery, probably derived from the title of a former lay superior.

 


St Peter's Parish Workhouse

St Peter's Parish Workhouse

In 1746 a parish workhouse was set up in an old half-timbered building in St. Peter's Street. It existed well into the 20th century. Parish records show the kind of treatment the less fortunate met. In 1739, for instance; Leonard Darke was to have 'the badche put on his sleeve before the churchwarden relieves him or his wife', a reference to the enforced practise of wearing a large 'P' badge on the arm to show a person was in receipt of parish assistance.....


The beginnings of Worcester

The beginnings of Worcester

The site of the present city was tidal and swampy, ut the ford by the high ground, where the cathedral now stands, was of great importance, for here was the first sure crossing of the tidal river for many a mile. Sometime before AD655, a small mission church was built within the former Roman enclosure and houses and merchants clustered around. Later, alongside it, was built the first cathedral and in 680 Bosel, a monk from St Hilda's Abbey in Whitby was sent to become the first Bishop of Worcester .......   


The Cathedral and Sidbury - Before Worcester

The Cathedral and Sidbury - Before Worcester

The beginnings of Worcester date from the Bronze Age when, some two thousand years before the birth of Christ, the first settlers arrived; but these were not on the banks of the Severn ut on the high terrace east of the city between Elbury Mount and Crookbarrow Hill. The high ridge still shows circles and squares where once stood early settlements - from Elbury Mount in the north, which retained its defensive terraces until the 1850s, to Crookbarrow in the south, with its steep sides making a defensive mound or lookout, man-made on a natural hill. Cuggan, or Round Hill, at Spetchley commanded the east, and the entrenchments on the precipitous western side of Red Hill (later used by Cromwell).........


Blind Man c.1900

Blind Man c.1900

Blind man reading Braile near the Watergate c.1900


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

 

 


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.....


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. 


Changes in the Cathedral Services

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....


Cathedral Bell Stolen

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

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.