The Shades

  • 15 Jan 2012
  • Worcester People and Places
  • Back
The imposing house in Mealcheapen Street, almost opposite the Reindeer Inn, was recently known as the Shades Tavern, but originally, it was the home of the Russell family, one of the principal families in St.Martin's parish, the Berkeleys and the Nashes being the others. The house has had many interesting associations, and was one of the best in Worcester. Dr. William Russell, one of the most eminent of Worcester physicians lived there in the mid-18th century. He figures largely in the correspondence of Dean Swift of Worcester, the nephew of the famous Dean of St. Patrick's. Dr. Russell's portrait hung for many years until it's closure in Worcester Royal Infirmary's board room, and his descendants adopted the name of Pakington and became Lords Hampton.

In the Worcester Herald of 1831, there was an advertisement for letting which describes the house thus: 'This house, from its dimensions and central position, is well calculated either as an inn, or the Residence of a Medical Man, Attorney, or any trade requiring room.

The Russell's did not stay long, others occupied the house. It became a coffee house, then the Shades, the first Post Office, then a Bank, and in the 20th century, it again used the old name of The Shades. Though it has suffered much from the different purposes for which it has been used, the house still has some fine internal fittings, and extenally, above the modern windows on the street level has good architectural features.