The Red Lion
Powick shown within Worcestershire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||Hereford and Worcester|
|EU Parliament||West Midlands|
|UK Parliament||West Worcestershire|
Powick is a Worcestershire village two miles south of the city of Worcester and four miles north of Great Malvern, close to the River Teme. It is a civil parish of the Malvern Hills District, and it includes the village of Callow End and the hamlets of Bastonford, Clevelode, Collett's Green, and Deblins Green.
A mile from the village towards Malvern was the site of the Victorian complex of the county psychiatric hospital, generally referred to as Powick Hospital. The hospital was notorious for its use of LSD in therapy and mistreatment of patients. Built in 1852, the hospital finally closed in 1989 and was mostly demolished shortly thereafter. The name Powick entered the local colloquialisms and became synonymous for mental disorder in many informal expressions relating to madness or stupidity.
Before he became England's most famous composer, in 1879 at the age of 22 Edward Elgar was appointed bandmaster of the asylum until about 1886, and wrote compositions for the asylum's band.
English Civil War
The old bridge across the Teme at Powick was the scene of one of the very first skirmishes between Royalist and Parliamentarian soldiers in the English Civil War in 1642 in what became known as the Battle of Powick Bridge. It was a short, sharp, but decisive cavalry engagement that resulted in a victory for the Royalists and showed the Parliamentarian cavalry their shortcomings, setting the tone for the early stages of the conflict. A long ballad gives a surprisingly detailed account of the battle.
The more famous Battle of Worcester later on in the war, in 1651, was fought in part in much the same locality close to the River Teme. The church in Powick village was used by the Royalists as a lookout point as it commanded elevated views over the surrounding countryside and the bridge and its approaches. Its tower has a lot of pockmarks from small bore cannon balls which were fired by Parliamentarian gunners to deter the Scottish Royalist forces using the tower. They extend up the south face of the tower from as low as head height up to the top.
Victorian power station
A former water mill, next to Powick Bridge, was converted in 1894 to become the world's first combined steam/hydro electric power station. Electricity from this provided about half the city of Worcester's needs. The Powick site continued generating until the 1950s. When it closed, it was converted into a laundry and has since been converted into residential apartments.
The site was chosen as a mill site from at least the 11th century, and very probably earlier than that. The mill leat was dug in 1291. A succession of water mills replaced each other throughout the Middle Ages and into the 16th century and later.
- Ballad of Powick Bridge Rump Songs (1662).
Media related to Powick at Wikimedia Commons
- Powick parish community web site
- Powick primary school
- Worcester Museum website - page including Powick Mills
- British history online entry
- Bell-ringing in Powick
- Powick watercolours of Burney