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Coordinates: 52°11′28″N 2°13′20″W / 52.19123°N 2.22231°W / 52.19123; -2.22231

City of Worcester
City of Worcester is located in Worcestershire
City of Worcester

 City of Worcester shown within Worcestershire
Area  33.28 km2 (12.85 sq mi)
Population 94,100 (Ranked 239th)
OS grid reference SO849548
    - London  113.4 miles (182 km) 
Shire county Worcestershire
Region West Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district WR1-WR5
Dialling code 01905
Police West Mercia
Fire Hereford and Worcester
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament Worcester
List of places: UK • England • Worcestershire

Worcester (pronounced /ˈwʊstər/ ( listen) WOOS-tər) is a city and county town of Worcestershire, in the West Midlands of England. Worcester is situated some 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Birmingham, 29 miles (47 km) north of Gloucester, and has an approximate population of 94,000 people. The River Severn runs through the middle of the city, overlooked by the 12th century Worcester Cathedral.

The site of the final battle of the Civil War, Worcester was where Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army defeated King Charles I's Cavaliers, resulting in a ten-year period where England and Wales became a republic. Worcester was the home of Royal Worcester Porcelain and the birthplace of the composer Sir Edward Elgar.



Occupation of the site of Worcester can be dated back to Neolithic times, a village surrounded by defensive ramparts having been founded on the eastern bank of the River Severn here in around 400 BC. The position, which commanded a ford on the river, was in the 1st century used by the Romans to establish what may at first have been a fort on the military route from Glevum (Gloucester) to Viroconium (Wroxeter) but which soon developed—as the frontier of the empire was pushed westwards—into an industrial town with its own pottery kilns and iron-smelting plants.

A map of Worcester in 1806.
Tudor Buildings Friar Street
Tudor Building New Street

Roman Worcester (which may have been the Vertis mentioned in the 7th century Ravenna Cosmography) was a thriving trading and manufacturing centre for some three hundred years, though by the time of the Roman withdrawal from Britain in 407 it had dwindled considerably in size and is not recorded again until the mid-7th century when documents mention the Anglo-Saxon settlement Weorgoran ceaster (settlement of the people by the winding river).[1] The fact that Worcester was chosen at this time—in preference to both the much larger Gloucester and the royal centre of Winchcombe—to be the Episcopal See of a new diocese covering the area suggests that there may have been a well established, and powerful, Christian community living on the site when it fell into English hands.

The town was almost destroyed in 1041 after a rebellion against the punitive taxation of Harthacanute. The town was attacked several times (in 1139, 1150 and 1151) during "The Anarchy", i.e. civil war between King Stephen and Empress Matilda, daughter of Henry I. This is the background to the well-researched historical novel The Virgin in the Ice, part of Ellis Peters' "Cadfael" series, which begins with the words:

"It was early in November of 1139 that the tide of civil war, lately so sluggish and inactive, rose suddenly to wash over the city of Worcester, wash away half of its lifestock, property and women, and send all those of its inhabitants who could get away in time scurrying for their lives northwards away from the marauders". (These are mentioned as having arrived from Gloucester, leaving a long lasting legacy of bitterness between the two cities.)

By late medieval times the population had grown to around 10,000 as the manufacture of cloth started to become a large local industry. The town was designated a county corporate, giving it autonomy from local government.

Worcester was the site of the Battle of Worcester (September 3, 1651), when Charles II's attempt to regain the crown by force was decisively defeated, in the fields a little to the west and south of the city, near the village of Powick. After being defeated, Charles returned to his headquarters in what is now known as King Charles house in the Cornmarket, before fleeing in disguise to Boscobel House in Shropshire and his eventual escape to France. Worcester was one of the cities loyal to the King in that war, for which it was given the epithet "Fidelis Civitas" ("The Faithful City"). This motto has been incorporated into the city's coat of arms.[2]

In 1670 the River Severn broke its banks and the subsequent flood was the worst ever seen by Worcester. A brass plate can be found on a wall on the path to the cathedral by the path along the river showing how high this flood went, and other flood heights of more recent times are also shown in stone bricks. The closest flood height to what is known as The Flood of 1670 was when the Severn flooded in the torrential rains of July 2007.

The Royal Worcester Porcelain Company factory was founded by Dr John Wall in 1751, although it no longer produces goods. A handful of decorators are still employed at the factory and the Museum is still open.

During the 18th century Worcester's trade languished compared to more modern towns of the West Midlands. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal opened in 1815 allowing Worcester goods to be transported to a larger conurbation.

The British Medical Association (BMA) was founded in the Board Room of the old Worcester Royal Infirmary building in Castle Street in 1832.[3] While most of the Royal Infirmary has been demolished to make way for the University of Worcester's new city campus, the original Georgian building has been preserved.[4] There are plans to reopen the building as a medical museum.[5]

During World War II, the city was chosen to be the seat of an evacuated government in case of mass German invasion. The War Cabinet, along with Winston Churchill and some 16.000 state workers, would have moved to Hindlip Hall (now part of the complex forming the Headquarters of West Mercia Police), 3 miles north of Worcester, and Parliament would have temporarily seated in Stratford-upon-Avon.

In the 1950s and 1960s large areas of the medieval centre of Worcester were demolished and rebuilt as a result of decisions by town planners. There is still a significant area of medieval Worcester remaining, but it is a small fraction of what was present before the redevelopments.

The current city boundaries date from 1974, when the Local Government Act 1972 transferred the parishes of Warndon and St. Peter the Great County into the city.


The Conservatives had a majority on the council from 2003 to 2007, when they lost a by-election to Labour meaning the council had no overall control.[6] The Conservatives remained with the most seats overall with 17 out of 35 seats after the 2008 election.[7] Worcester has one member of Parliament, Michael Foster of the Labour Party, who represents the Worcester constituency since 1997.[8]


Notable suburbs in Worcester include Claines, Northwick, St Peter the Great, Red Hill and Ronkswood. Most of Worcester is on the eastern side of the River Severn; Henwick, Lower Wick and St. John's are on the western side.


Climate data for Worcester
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8
Average low °C (°F) 3
Precipitation mm (inches) 63.2
Source: [9] 2009-05-30

Demography and religion

The 2001 census[10] recorded Worcester's population at 93,353. About 96.5% of Worcester's population was white; of which 94.2% were White British,[11] greater than the national average.[12] The largest religious group are Christians, whom made up 77% of the city's population.[13] People who reported having no religion or did not state their religion made up 21% of the city's population. Other religions totaled less than 2% of the population. Ethnic minorities include people of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Italian and Polish origin, with the largest single minority group being the British Pakistanis, whom numbered around 1,200 persons and made up around 1.3% of Worcester's population.[13] This has led to Worcester containing a small but diverse range of religious groups; as well as the commanding Worcester Cathedral (Church of England), there are also Catholic and Baptist churches, a large center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), an Islamic mosque, and a number of smaller interest groups regarding Eastern Religions such as Buddhism and the Hare Krishnas.[14]

Worcester is the seat of a Church of England bishop. His official signature is his Christian name followed by Wigorn, which is also occasionally used as an abbreviation for the name of the county.

Skyline of Worcester viewed from Worcester Cathedral


Industry is now quite varied. In the 19th and early twentieth century, Worcester was a major centre for glove manufacture, but this has declined greatly. The late-Victorian period saw the growth of ironfounders, like Heenan & Froude, Hardy & Padmore and McKenzie & Holland.


The inter-war years saw the rapid growth of engineering, producing machine tools James Archdale, H.W. Ward, castings for the motor industry Worcester Windshields and Casements, mining machinery Mining Engineering Company (MECO) and open-top cans Williamsons.

Worcester Porcelain operated in Worcester until 2008 when the factory was closed down due to the recession. However, the site of Worcester Porcelain still houses the Worcester Porcelain Museum which is open daily to visitors.[15]

One of Worcester's most famous products, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce is made and bottled in the Midlands Road factory in Worcester, which has been the home of Lea & Perrins since 16 October 1897. Mr Lea and Mr Perrins originally met in a chemist's shop on the site of the now Debenhams store in the Crowngate Shopping Centre.

The surprising foundry heritage of the city is represented by Morganite Crucible[16] at Norton which produces graphitic shaped products and cements for use in the modern industry.

The Kays[17] mail order business was founded in Worcester in the 1880s and operated from numerous premises in the city[18] until 2007. It was then bought out by Reality, owner of the Grattan catalogue. Kay's former warehouse building was knocked down in 2008. Worcester is the home of what is claimed to be the oldest newspaper in the world, Berrow's Worcester Journal, which traces its descent from a news-sheet that started publication in 1690. The city is also a major retail centre with several covered shopping centres that has most major chains represented as well as a host of independent shops and restaurants, particularly in Friar Street and New Street.

Retail trade

Like many other town and cities Worcester has the traditional "High Street", though in Worcester’s case that is the actual name of the main shopping thoroughfare. High Street is home to the stores of major retail chains such as Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, TK Maxx, Next, Primark and Debenhams. Part of the High Street was modernised in 2005 amid much controversy,[citation needed] many of the issues focussing on the felling of long-standing trees, the duration of the works (caused by the weather and an archaeological find) and the removal of flagstones outside the City’s 18th Century Guildhall. The other main thoroughfares are The Shambles and Broad Street, while The Cross (and its immediate surrounding area) is the city’s financial centre and location of the majority of Worcester’s main bank branches.

The main covered shopping centres include the CrownGate Shopping Centre, Cathedral Plaza and Reindeer Court, Retail parks include the Elgar and the Blackpole Retail Parks slightly out of town in the Blackpole area of the city, and the Shrub Hill Retail Park islocated immediately outside the City Centre. There is also a Market within CrownGate


Probably the most famous landmark in Worcester is its imposing Worcester cathedral. The current building, formally named The Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, was begun in 1084 while its crypt dates from the 10th Century. The chapter house is the only circular one in the country while the cathedral also has the distinction of having the tomb of King John.

There are three main parks in Worcester, these being Cripplegate Park, Gheluvelt Park and Fort Royal Park, the latter being on one of the battles sites of the English Civil War. In addition, there is a large open area known as "Pitchcroft" to the North of the city centre on the East bank of the River Severn, which, apart from those days when it is being used for horse racing is a public space.

Gheluvelt Park was opened as a memorial to commemorate the Worcestershire Regiment's 2nd Battalion after their part in the Battle of Gheluvelt, during World War I.

There are also two large woodlands in the city, those being Perry Wood, at 12 hectares, and Nunnery Wood, covering 21 hectares. Perry Wood is often said to be the place where Oliver Cromwell met and made a pact with the devil. Nunnery Wood is an integral part of the adjacent and popular Worcester Woods Country Park, itself next door to County Hall on the east side of the city.

Destinations from Worcester



The M5 Motorway runs north-south to the east of the urban area, and is accessed by Junction 6 (Worcester North) and Junction 7 (Worcester South). This makes the city relatively easily accessible by car to most parts of the country, including London which is only 120 miles/2 & half hours away (via the M5, M42 and M40).

Several A roads pass through the city. The A449 road runs south-west to Malvern and north to Kidderminster. The A44 runs south-east to Evesham and west to Leominster and Aberystwyth and crosses Worcester Bridge. The A38 trunk road runs south to Tewkesbury and Gloucester and north-north-east to Droitwich and Birmingham. The A4103 goes west-south-west to Hereford. The A422 heads east to Alcester, branching from the A44 a mile east of the M5. The city is encompassed by a partial ring road (A4440) which is formed, rather inconsistently, by single and dual carriageways. The A4440 road provides a second road bridge across the Severn (Carrington Bridge) just west of the A4440-A38 junction.


The city is served by 2 stations, Worcester Foregate Street and Worcester Shrub Hill. Although featuring 2 tracks Foregate Street actually consists of 2 single working tracks, one of which forms part of the Birmingham-Malvern-Hereford line while the other is the end of the Cotswold Line, which Shrub Hill also serves. Both stations frequently serve Birmingham and nearby towns/cities. London is also served frequently by both stations via the Cotswold Line and, infrequently, via the Birmingham-Bristol/Gloucester-Swindon/Bristol-London lines. Train services to/from London are operated by First Great Western.

Although connected to an Inter City mainline only 2 miles away, in this case the Birmingham-Bristol 'Cross Country' line, Worcester is not served by the Inter City CrossCountry service. This makes Worcestershire the only county in England where 'Cross Country' services pass through but do not stop in during normal scheduled timetables. However, the proposed new station, Worcestershire Parkway will end this. Being the bigger of the 2 stations, and due to its location, Shrub Hill is often used as a stabling point and a through route for freight trains.


The main operators of bus services in and around the city is FirstGroup plc's First Midland Red Buses and Diamond Bus Comapny's Red Diamond. A handful of other smaller operators provide services in Worcester, most notably Astons (Veolia) and Bromyard Omnibus Company. The terminus/interchange for many bus services in Worcester is Crowngate Bus Station located in the City Centre.

Worcestershire County Council operates the W1 bus service with a new fleet of high specification Mercedes-Benz Citaro vehicles. The W1 service is a frequent and direct limited stop service between the Perdiswell and Six Ways Park & Ride sites and the CrownGate Bus Station. The service runs Monday to Saturday, from 7am to 7pm at a high frequency.

The buses stop at: · Six Ways Park & Ride Site · Perdiswell Park & Ride Site · St Stephen’s Church · St George’s Square · Little London, Royal Grammar School · Foregate Street Rail Station · Worcester (Crowngate) Bus Station


Worcester's nearest major airport is Birmingham International approximately 45 minutes by road via the M5 and M42 motorways.


Worcester is home to the University of Worcester (UW), which was awarded university status in 2005 by HM Privy Council. From 1997 to 2005 it was known as University College Worcester (UCW) and prior to 1997 it was known as Worcester College of Higher Education. The University is also home to the independent Worcester Students Union institution. The city is also home to two colleges, Worcester Sixth Form College and Worcester College of Technology.

High schools

The High schools located in the city are Bishop Perowne CofE College, Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, Christopher Whitehead Language College, Tudor Grange Academy Worcester, Nunnery Wood High School and New College Worcester which caters for blind and partially sighted students from the ages of 11 to 18.

Private schools

Worcester is also the seat of three private schools. The Royal Grammar School and Alice Ottley School merged in 2007 to be renamed RGS Worcester. The King's School, Worcester was re-founded in 1541 under King Henry VIII. Saint Mary's Convent School, now the only all-girls school in the city, is the third private school in the city. Other private schools include the Independent Christian school, the River School in Fernhill Heath.


Entrance to the Worcester King George's Field


Festivals and Shows

Every three years, Worcester becomes home to the Three Choirs Festival, which dates back to the 18th century and is credited with being the oldest music festival in Europe. The location of the festival rotates each year between the Cathedral Cities of the Three Counties, Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester. Famous for its championing of English music, especially that of Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst, Worcester last hosted the festival in August 2008.

The Worcester Festival is a relatively new venture established in 2003. Held in late August, the festival consists of a variety of music, theatre, cinema and workshops, as well as the already established Beer Festival, which runs as an event within the Worcester Festival.

The Victorian-themed Christmas Fayre is a major source of tourism every December. Elton John came to the Worcestershire Cricket Ground, New Road on Saturday 9 June 2006.

The 8th CAMRA Worcester Beer and Cider festival took place for three days from the 17 August 2006[19] and was held as usual on Pitchcroft Race Course. On entry there is a choice between a (free) half or pint glass, with this year's having orange writing.

The Worcester Beer, Cider and Perry festival is the largest beer festival within the West Midlands with the 2009 event being attended by 11,000 people. An extensive range of beers, ciders and perries are provided as well as a range of food and soft drinks. Bands perform on the Thursday and Friday evening sessions and throughout the day on Saturday.

Arts & Cinema

Famous 18th century actress Sarah Siddons made her acting debut here at the Theatre Royal in Angel Street. Her sister, the novelist Ann Julia Kemble Hatton,[20] otherwise known as Ann of Swansea, was born in the city. Matilda Alice Powles, better known as Vesta Tilley, a leading male impersonator and music hall artiste was born in Worcester.

In present-day Worcester the Swan Theatre[21] stages a mixture of professional touring and local amateur productions. The Countess of Huntingdon's Hall[22] is a historic church now used as venue for an eclectic range of musical performances, while the Marrs Bar[23] is a venue for gigs and stand-up comedy. Worcester has two multi-screen cinemas; a Vue Cinema complex located on Friar Street, and an Odeon Cinema at the heart of the city on Forgate Street - both of which were 3D-equipped by March 2010.

In the northern suburb of Northwick is the Art Deco Northwick Cinema. Built in 1938 it contains one of the only two remaining interiors in Britain designed by John Alexander (the original perspective drawings are still held by RIBA). It was a Bingo Hall from 1966 to 1982 and then empty until 1991; it was then run as a music venue until 1996, and was empty again until Autumn 2006 when it became an antiques and lifestyle centre, owned by Grey's Interiors, who were previously located in The Tything.[citation needed]

There are also a number of Arts organisations in Worcester, one of which is C&T.[24] Based at the University and also Bishop Perowne Performing Arts College is C&T [formerly Collar & TIE]. C&T is an educational theatre company that specialises in theatre for young people tackling topical issues through a unique blend of drama and new media technologies.


Worcester is home to Worcester News, Worcester Standard & Berrow's Worcester Journal newspapers and Radio Stations BBC Hereford & Worcester, Wyvern & Youthcomm Radio.

Twinning and planned twinning

Worcester is twinned with the German city of Kleve, the Parisian commune of Le Vésinet, and its larger American namesake Worcester, Massachusetts.[25]

In February 2009, Worcester City Council's Twinning Association began deliberating an application to twin Worcester with the Palestinian city of Gaza. Councillor Alan Amos introduced the application, which was passed at its first stage by a majority of 35-6.[26] However, the proposal was later rejected by the Executive Committee of the City of Worcester Twinning Association for reasons of lack of funding due to its present commitment to existing twinning projects.[27]

Notable people

Edward Elgar, the most notable person to come out of Worcester.
See also People from Worcester.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Civic Heralrdy of England and Wales - Worcestershire". Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  3. ^ "An outline history of the British Medical Association". British Medical Association. 11 September 2006. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  4. ^ "University demolition work starts". BBC News. 3 January 2008. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "History of Worcester Royal Infirmary to Be Brought Back to Life". University of Worcester. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  6. ^ Beaten Tory Keeps A Low Profile (from Worcester News)
  7. ^ "Worcester". BBC News Online. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  8. ^ [ "Michael Foster: Electoral history and profile"]. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  9. ^ "Averages for Worcester". 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ BBC Hereford & Worcester feature on the Hare Krishna movement (ISKCON)
  15. ^
  16. ^ Morganite Crucible
  17. ^
  18. ^ Kays Heritage
  19. ^ From
  20. ^ Ann Julia Kemble Hatton
  21. ^ The Swan Theatre
  22. ^ Huntington Hall
  23. ^ The Marrs Bar official site
  24. ^ Term Time Drama in Worcester
  25. ^ Lauren Rogers (31 January 2008). "City to fight US twin 'snub'". Worcester News. 
  26. ^ Staff (26 February 2009). "Worcester could be twinned with Gaza City". Worcester News. Retrieved 27 February 2009. 
  27. ^ Staff (10 March 2009). Worcester News. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 

External links

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

="">See Worcester (disambiguation) for articles sharing the title Worcester.

WORCESTER, an episcopal city and county of a city, municipal, parliamentary, and county borough, and county town of Worcestershire, England, on the river Severn, 1202 m. W.N.W. of London. Pop. (r901) 46,624. It is served by the Great Western railway and by the Bristol-Birmingham line of the Midland railway. Branches of the Great Western diverge to Malvern and Hereford, and to Leominster. Worcester lies mainly upon the left (E.) bank of the Severn, which is here a broad and placid river, the main part of the city lying on a ridge parallel with its banks. The city is governed by a mayor, 12 aldermen and 36 councillors. Area 3242 acres.

The cathedral church of Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary is beautifully placed close to the river. The see was founded by the advice of Archbishop Theodore of Canterbury about 679 or 680, though, owing to the opposition of the bishop of Lichfield it was not finally established till 780. In its formation the tribal division was followed, and it contained the people of the Hwiccas. The bishop's church of St Peter's, with its secular canons, was absorbed by Bishop Oswald into the monastery of St Mary. The canons became monks, and in 983 Oswald finished the building of a new monastic cathedral. After the Norman Conquest the saintly bishop of Worcester, Wulfstan, was the only English prelate who was left in possession of his see, and it was he who first undertook the .building of a great church of stone according to the Norman pattern. Of the work of Wulfstan, the outer walls of the nave, aisles, a part of the walls of the transepts, some shafts and the crypt remain. The crypt (1084) is one of the four apsidal crypts in England, the others being those in Winchester, Gloucester and Canterbury cathedrals. Wulfstan's building seems to have extended no farther than the transepts, but the nave was continued, though much of it was destroyed by the fall of the central tower in 1175. The two W. bays of the nave date from about 1160. In 1203 Wulfstan, who had died in 1095, was canonized, and on the completion and dedication of the cathedral in 1218, his body was placed in a shrine, which became a place of pilgrimage, and thereby brought wealth to the monks. They devoted this to the building of a lady chapel at the E. end, extending the building by 50 ft.; and in 1224 was begun the rebuilding of the choir, in its present splendid Early English style. The nave was remodelled in the 14th century, and, excepting the W. bays, shows partly Decorated but principally early Perpendicular work. The building is cruciform, and is without aisles in the transepts, but has secondary choir-transepts. A Jesus chapel (an uncommon feature) opens from the N. nave aisle, from which it is separated by a very beautiful modern screen of stone, in the Perpendicular style. Without, the cathedral is severely plain, with the exception of the ornate tower, which dates from 1374, and is 196 ft. in height. The principal dimensions of the cathedral are - extreme length 425 ft. (nave 170 ft., choir 180 ft.), extreme width 145 ft. (choir 78 ft.), height of nave 68 ft. The monastic remains lie to the S. The cloisters are of Perpendicular work engrafted upon Norman walls, being entered from the S. through a fine Norman doorway. In them the effect of the warm red sandstone is particularly beautiful. An interesting Norman chapter house adjoins them on the E., its Perpendicular roof supported on a central column, while on the S. lies the Refectory, a fine Decorated room (1372) now devoted to the uses of the Cathedral School. There are also picturesque ruins of the Guesten Hall (1320). A very extensive restoration was begun in 1857, upwards of ioo,000 being spent. Among the monuments in the cathedral, that of King John, in the choir, is the earliest sepulchral effigy of an English king in the country. There is an altar tomb, in a very fine late Perpendicular chantry chapel, of Arthur, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VII., who died in 1502. There are also monuments of John Gauden, the bishop who wrote Icon basilike, often attributed to Charles I., of Bishop Hough by Roubillac, and of Mrs Digby by Chantrey.

Of the eleven parish churches, St Alban's has considerable Norman remains, St Peter's contains portions of all Gothic styles, St Helen's, with a fine peal of bells commemorating the victories of Marlborough, has also Gothic portions, but the majority were either rebuilt in the 18th century, or are modern. St Andrews has a beautiful spire, erected in 1751, 155 ft. 6 in. in height. Holy Trinity preserves the ancient roof of the Guesten Hall. St John's in Bedwardine was made a parish church in 1371.

There are no remains of the old castle of Worcester; it adjoined the monastery so closely that King John gave its yard to the monks, and after that time it ceased to be a stronghold. The Commandery, founded by St Wulfstan in 1085, was a hospital, and its name appears to lack authority. It was rebuilt in Tudor times, and there remains a beautiful hall, with music gallery, canopied dais, and a fine bay window, together with other parts. The wood-carving is exquisite. There are many old half-timbered houses. The guild-hall (1723) is an admirable building in the Italian style; it contains a portrait of George III., by Sir Joshua Reynolds, presented by the king to commemorate his visit to the city at the triennial musical festival in 1788. This, the Festival of the Three Choirs, is maintained here alternately with Gloucester and Hereford. The corporation possesses some interesting old charters and manuscripts, and good municipal regalia. Public buildings include the shire-hall (1835), Corn Exchange and market-house. Fairs are held thrice annually. The Victoria Institute includes a library, museum and art gallery. The cathedral school was founded by Henry VIII. in 1541, Queen Elizabeth's, in a modern building, in 1563; there are also a choir school, and municipal art, science and technical schools. In the vicinity of the city there is a large Benedictine convent, at Stanbrook Hall, with a beautiful modern chapel. The Clothiers' Company possesses a charter granted by Queen Elizabeth; but the great industries are now the manufacture of gloves and of porcelain. A company of glovers was incorporated in 1661. The manufacture of porcelain is famous. The materials employed are china clay and china stone from Cornwall, felspar from Sweden, fire-clay from Stourbridge and Broseley, marl, flint and calcined bones. The Royal Porcelain works cover 5 acres. Among Worcester's other trades are those of iron, iron goods and engineering works, carriage making, rope spinning, boat building, tanning and the production of chemical manures and of cider and perry. There is a considerable carrying trade on the Severn.

The charities are numerous, and include St Oswald's hospital, Nash's almshouses, Wyatt's almshouses, the Berkeley hospital, Goulding hospital, Shewring's hospital, Inglethorpe's almshouses, Waldgrave's almshouses, Moore's blue-coat school, Queen Elizabeth's charity, and others.

Traces of British and Roman occupation have been discovered at Worcester (Wigeran Ceaster, Wigornia), but its history begins with the foundation of the episcopal see. Being the chief city on the borders of Wales, Worcester was frequently visited by the kings of England. In 1139 it was taken by the Empress Maud and retaken and burnt by Stephen in 1149. It surrendered to Simon de Montfort in 1263. In 1642, during the Great Rebellion, a handful of cavaliers was besieged here, and in spite of an attempted relief by Prince Rupert, the city was pillaged, as it was again in 1646. In 1651 Charles II. with the Scottish army marched into Worcester, where he was welcomed by the citizens. Cromwell took up his position on the Red Hill just outside the city gates. Lambert succeeded in passing the Severn at Upton, and drove back the Royalist troops towards Worcester. Charles, seeking an advantage of this division of the enemy on opposite sides of the river, attacked Cromwell's camp. At first he was successful, but Cromwell was reinforced by Lambert's troops in time to drive back Charles's foot, who were not supported by the Scottish horse, and the rout of the King's force was complete.

In the reign of King Alfred, !Ethelred and 1Ethelflead, ealdorman and lady of the Mercians, at the request of the bishop "built a burgh at Worcester" and granted to him half of their rights and privileges there "both in market and street within the borough and without." Richard I. in 1189 granted the town to the burgesses at a fee-farm of X24, and Henry III. in 1227 granted a gild merchant and exemption from toll, and raised the farm to X30. The first incorporation charter was granted by Philip and Mary in 1554 under the title of bailiffs, aldermen, chamberlains and citizens, but James I. in 1622 made the city a separate county and granted a corporation of a mayor, 6 aldermen, and a common council consisting of one body of 24 citizens, including the mayor and aldermen, and another body of 48, who elected the mayor from among the 24. By the Municipal Reform Act of 1835 the government was again altered. The burgesses returned two members to parliament from 1295 to 1885, when the number was reduced to one. As early as 1203 the men of the town paid loos. for licence to buy and sell cloth as they had done in the time of Henry III., and in 1590 the weavers, walkers and clothiers received an incorporation charter, but the trade had already begun to decline and by 1789 had ceased to exist. Its place was taken by the manufacture of porcelain, introduced in 1751 by Dr Wall, and by the increasing manufacture of gloves, a trade in which is known to have been carried on in the 15th century.

See Victoria County History, Worcester; John Noake, Worcester in Olden Times (1849); Valentine Green, The History and Antiquities of the City and Suburbs of Worcester (1796).

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Worcester is a city in the West Midlands region of England. With an estimated population of 94,300, Worcester is the county town of Worcestershire. It is located about 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Birmingham and 29 miles (47 km) north of Gloucester. The River Severn runs through the middle of the city and the cathedral overlooks the river.

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