|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
|City of Worcester|
|City and non-metropolitan district|
Worcester Cathedral from Fort Royal Hill
City of Worcester shown within Worcestershire
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Status||Non-metropolitan district, City|
|• Type||Non-metropolitan district council|
|• Borough council||Worcester City Council (TBA (council NOC))|
|• MPs||Robin Walker (Conservative)|
|• Total||12.85 sq mi (33.28 km2)|
|Area rank||305th (of 326)|
|• Rank||232nd (of 326)|
|• Density||7,700/sq mi (3,000/km2)|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC0)|
|• Summer (DST)||BST (UTC+1)|
|ONS code||47UE (ONS)
|OS grid reference|
Worcester (i// WUUS-tər) is a city and the county town of Worcestershire in the West Midlands of England. Worcester is situated some 17 miles (27 km) southwest of the southern suburbs of Birmingham and 23 miles (37 km) north of Gloucester, and has an approximate population of 100,000 people.
The River Severn flanks the western side of the city centre, 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 II's Cavaliers, cementing the English Interregnum, the eleven-year period during which England and Wales became a republic. Worcester was the home of Royal Worcester Porcelain and, for much of his life, the composer Sir Edward Elgar. It houses the Lea & Perrins factory where the traditional Worcestershire Sauce is made, and is home to one of the UK's fastest-growing universities, the University of Worcester.
- 1 History
- 2 Governance
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demography and religion
- 5 Economy
- 6 Landmarks
- 7 Transport
- 8 Education
- 9 Sport
- 10 Culture
- 11 Twinning and planned twinning
- 12 Notable people
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 Further reading
- 16 External links
The trade route past Worcester which later formed part of the Roman Ryknild Street dates to Neolithic times. The position commanded a ford over the River Severn (the river was tidal past Worcester prior to public works projects in the 1840s) and was fortified by the Britons around 400 BC. It would have been on the northern border of the Dobunni and probably subject to the larger communities of the Malvern hillforts. The Roman settlement at the site passes unmentioned by Ptolemy's Geography, the Antonine Itinerary, and the Register of Dignitaries but would have grown up on the road opened between Glevum (Gloucester) and Viroconium (Wroxeter) in the AD 40s and 50s. It may have been the "Vertis" mentioned in the 7th-century Ravenna Cosmography. Using charcoal from the Forest of Dean, the Romans operated pottery kilns and ironworks at the site and may have built a small fort.
In the 3rd century, Roman Worcester occupied a larger area than the subsequent medieval city, but silting of the Diglis Basin caused the abandonment of Sidbury. Industrial production ceased and the settlement contracted to a defended position along the lines of the old British fort at the river terrace's southern end. This settlement is generally identified with the Cair Guiragon listed among the 28 cities of Britain by the History of the Britons attributed to Nennius. This is not a British name but an adaption of its Old English name Weorgoran ceaster, "fort of the Weorgoran". The Weorgoran (the "people of the winding river") were precursors of Hwicce and probably West Saxons who entered the area some time after the 577 Battle of Dyrham. In 680, their fort at Worcester was chosen—in preference to both the much larger Gloucester and the royal court at Winchcombe—to be the seat of a new bishopric, suggesting there was already a well-established and powerful Christian community when the site fell into English hands. The oldest known church was St Helen's, which was certainly British; the Saxon cathedral was dedicated to St Peter.
The town was almost destroyed in 1041 after a rebellion against the punitive taxation of Harthacanute. During this time, the townsfolk relocated to (and at times were besieged at) the nearby Bevere Island, 2 miles upriver. The following century, the town (then better defended) 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 (3 September 1651), when Charles II attempted to forcefully regain the crown, in the fields a little to the west and south of the city, near the village of Powick. However, Charles II was defeated and 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 from where he eventually escaped to France. Worcester had supported the Parliamentary cause before the outbreak of war in 1642 but spent most of the war under Royalist occupation. After the war it cleverly used its location as the site of the final battles of the First Civil War (1646) and Third Civil War (1651) to try to mount an appeal for compensation from the new King Charles II. As part of this, and not based upon any historical fact, it invented the epithet "Fidelis Civitas" ("The Faithful City") and this motto has since been incorporated into the city's coat of arms.
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 late 18th and early 19th centuries, Worcester was a major centre for glove making, employing nearly half the glovers in England at its peak (over 30,000 people). In 1815 the Worcester and Birmingham Canal opened, 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. While most of the Royal Infirmary has now been demolished to make way for the University of Worcester's new city campus, the original Georgian building has been preserved. One of the old wards opened as a medical museum, The Infirmary, in 2012.
In 1882 Worcester hosted the Worcestershire Exhibition, inspired by the Great Exhibition in London.There were sections for exhibits of fine arts (over 600 paintings), historical manuscripts and industrial items.The profit was £1,867.9s.6d. The number of visitors is recorded as 222,807. Some of the profit from the exhibition was used to build the Victoria Institute in Foregate Street, Worcester. This was opened on 1 October 1896 and now houses the library and museum. Further information about the exhibition can be found at the museum.
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 (4.8 km) north of Worcester, and Parliament would have temporarily seated in Stratford-upon-Avon. The former RAF station RAF Worcester was located east of Northwick.
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. This was condemned by many such as Nikolaus Pevsner who described it as a "totally incomprehensible... act of self-mutilation". There is still a significant area of medieval Worcester remaining, but it is a small fraction of what was present before the redevelopments.
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. The Conservatives remained with the most seats overall with 17 out of 35 seats after the 2008 election. Worcester has one member of Parliament, Robin Walker of the Conservative Party, who represents the Worcester constituency as of the May 2010 general election.
The County of Worcestershire's local government arrangement is formed of a non-metropolitan county council (Worcestershire County Council) and six non-metropolitan district councils, with Worcester City Council being the district council for most of Worcester, with a small area of the St. Peters suburb actually falling within the neighbouring Wychavon District council. The Worcester City Council area includes two parish councils, these being Warndon Parish Council and St Peter the Great Parish Council.
Worcester Guildhall, the seat of local government, dates from 1721; it replaced an earlier hall on the same site. The Grade I listed Queen Anne style building is described by Pevsner as 'a splendid town hall, as splendid as any of C18 England'.
Notable suburbs in Worcester include Barbourne, Blackpole, Cherry Orchard, Claines, Diglis, Northwick, Red Hill, Ronkswood, St Peter the Great (also simply known as St Peters), Tolladine, Warndon and Warndon Villages (which was once the largest housing development in the Country when the area was being constructed in the late 1980s/very early 1990s). Most of Worcester is on the eastern side of the River Severn; Henwick, Lower Wick, St. John's and Dines Green are on the western side.
Worcester enjoys a temperate climate with warm summers and mild winters generally. However, the city can experience more extreme weather and flooding is often a problem. During the winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11 the city experienced prolonged periods of sub-freezing temperatures and heavy snowfalls. In December 2010 the temperature dropped to −19.5 °C (−3.1 °F) in nearby Pershore. The Severn and the Teme partially froze over in Worcester during this cold snap. In contrast, Worcester recorded 37 °C (98.6 °F) on 3 August 1990.
Between 1990 and 2003, weather data for the area was collected at Barbourne, Worcester. After the closure of this weather station, the nearest one is located at Pershore.
|Climate data for Worcester|
|Record high °C (°F)||17.1
|Average high °C (°F)||7
|Average low °C (°F)||2
|Record low °C (°F)||−14.1
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||53
|Source #1: |
|Source #2: Barbourne and Pershore extremes (nearest stations)|
Demography and religion
The 2001 census recorded Worcester's population at 93,353. About 96.5% of Worcester's population was white; of which 94.2% were White British, greater than the national average. The largest religious group are Christians, who made up 77% of the city's population. People who reported having no religion or who 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 Bangladeshi, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Italian and Polish origin, with the largest single minority group being British Pakistanis, numbering around 1,200, approximately 1.3% of Worcester's population. 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, United Reformed Church  and Baptist churches, a large center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), an Islamic mosque, and a number of smaller interest groups regarding Eastern Religions such as Buddhism and the Hare Krishnas.
Worcester is the seat of a Church of England bishop. His or her official signature is his or her Christian name followed by Wigorn. (an abbreviation for the Latin Wigorniensis, meaning 'of Worcester'), which is also occasionally used as an abbreviation for the name of the county.
The Archdeacon of Worcester, inducted in November 2014, was Rector of St. Barnabas with Christ Church in Worcester for eight years.
The city of Worcester, located on the River Severn and with transport links to Birmingham and other parts of the Midlands through the vast canal network, became an important centre for many light industries. The late-Victorian period saw the growth of ironfounders, like Heenan & Froude, Hardy & Padmore and McKenzie & Holland.
One of the flourishing industries of Worcester was glove making. Worcester's Gloving industry peaked between 1790 to 1820 when about 30,000 were employed by 150 companies. At this time nearly half of the Glove manufacturers of Britain were located in Worcestershire.
In the 19th century the industry declined because import taxes on foreign competitors, mainly from France, were greatly reduced. By the middle of the 20th century, only a few Worcester gloving companies survived since gloves became less fashionable and free trade allowed in cheaper imports from the Far East.
Nevertheless, at least 3 large glove manufacturing companies still survived until the late 20th century: Dent Allcroft, Fownes and Milore. Queen Elizabeth II's coronation gloves were designed by Emil Rich and manufactured in the Worcester-based Milore factory.
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) which later became part of Joy Mining Machinery and open-top cans Williamsons, though G H Williamson and Sons had become part of the Metal Box Co in 1930. Later the company became Carnaud Metal Box PLC.
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.
One of Worcester's most famous products, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce is made and bottled in the Midland 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 at Norton which produces graphitic shaped products and cements for use in the modern industry.
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.
The Kays mail order business was founded in Worcester in the 1880s and operated from numerous premises in the city until 2007. It was then bought out by Reality, owner of the Grattan catalogue. Kays' former warehouse building was demolished in 2008.
Worcester’s main shopping centre is the High Street, home to the stores of a number of major retail chains. Part of the High Street was modernised in 2005 amid much controversy. Many of the issues focussed on the felling of old 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.
There are three main covered shopping centres in the city centre, these being CrownGate Shopping Centre, Cathedral Plaza and Reindeer Court. There is also an unenclosed shopping area located immediately east of the city centre called St. Martin's Quarter. There are three retail parks, the Elgar and Blackpole Retail Parks, which are located in the inner suburb of Blackpole, and the Shrub Hill Retail Park neighbouring St. Martin's Quarter.
Probably the most famous landmark in Worcester is its imposing 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. Limited parts of the city wall still remain.
There are three main parks in Worcester, 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.
There are also two large woodlands in the city, Perry Wood, at twelve hectares, and Nunnery Wood, covering twenty-one 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.
The latest landmark is Worcestershire's new central library, ' The Hive ', a striking seven tower gold roofed building sited on the north bank of the river on the former cattle market.
The M5 Motorway runs north-south immediately to the east of the City, and is accessed by Junction 6 (Worcester North) and Junction 7 (Worcester South). This makes the city easily accessible by car to most parts of the country, including London which is only 120 miles (190 km) 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. Carrington Bridge links the A38 from Worcester towards Gloucester with the A449 linking Worcester with through Malvern.
Worcester Foregate Street is located in the city centre, on Foregate Street. Although featuring two tracks each one is a bi-directional single working line, one of which is the Birmingham to Worcester line while the other is the Cotswold Line, which Worcester Shrub Hill also serves. The line towards Malvern and Hereford, which is the Cotswold Line, crosses Foregate Street on an arched cast-iron bridge which was remodelled by the Great Western Railway in 1908 with decorative cast-iron exterior serving no structural purpose. Between Foregate Street and the St. John's area of the city, heading towards Malvern and Hereford, the line is elevated and travels along the Worcester viaduct which also crosses over the River Severn.
Worcester Shrub Hill is located just outside the city centre on Shrub Hill Road. The station is on the Cotswold Line as well being a spur off the Birmingham to Worcester line. Unlike Foregate Street, Shrub Hill does not have single working lines. Being the much bigger of Worcester's stations, due to a large number of tracks and sidings, Shrub Hill is often used as a stabling point and a through route for goods trains.
Alongside the Worcester Shrub Hill station, on Shrub Hill Road, was the Worcester Engine Works. The polychrome brick building was erected about 1864 and was probably designed by Thomas Dickson. The venture was not a success and only 84 locomotives were built and the works closed in 1871. The chairman of the Worcester Engine Works was Alexander Clunes Sheriff.
Both stations frequently serve Birmingham via Droitwich Spa, then either lines being firstly via Kidderminster and Stourbridge into Birmingham Snow Hill and Birmingham Moor Street then onwards usually to Dorridge or Whitlocks End or secondly via Bromsgrove and University and Birmingham New Street these services are run by London Midland.
London is also served frequently by both stations via the Cotswold Line and, infrequently, via the Birmingham-Bristol/Gloucester-Swindon/Bristol-London lines. Services to Oxford and London Paddington are operated by First Great Western.
Although connected to the Birmingham-Bristol 'Cross Country' mainline only two miles away, Worcester is not served by Inter City Cross Country services therefore making Worcestershire the only county in England where Inter City Cross Country services pass through but do not stop in during normal scheduled timetables. The proposed station, Worcestershire Parkway is expected to end this.
The main operator of bus services in and around the city is First Midlands, while Diamond Bus Company, trading as Diamond, and Worcestershire County Council, trading as Woosh, operate many other services. A few other smaller operators provide services in Worcester, most notably Astons (Veolia Transport) and Bromyard Omnibus Company. The terminus and interchange for many bus services in Worcester is Crowngate Bus Station located in the city centre.
The city formerly had two park and ride sites, one located off the A38 in Perdiswell (opened in 2001), and the other at Sixways Stadium next to the M5 (opened 2009). Worcestershire County Council voted to close both of them in 2014 as part of a cost-saving package of cutbacks to bus services.
Worcester's nearest major airport is Birmingham International which is accessible by road and rail. Gloucestershire Airport is approximately 25 miles away, and provides General Aviation connections and scheduled services with Citywing to Jersey, the Isle of Mann and Belfast.
Worcester is home to the University of Worcester, 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. From 2005 to 2010 it was the fastest growing university in the UK, more than doubling its student population. 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 Heart of Worcestershire College.
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 (on the site of the defunct Elgar High School), Nunnery Wood High School and New College Worcester which caters for blind and partially sighted pupils from the ages of 11 to 18.
Worcester is also the seat of three independent schools. The Royal Grammar School, founded in 1291, and Alice Ottley School merged in 2007. The King's School was re-founded in 1541 under King Henry VIII. St Mary's School, a girls' Catholic school, was the only remaining single-sex independent school, but closed in July 2014. Other independent schools include the Independent Christian school, the River School in Fernhill Heath.
- Worcester Warriors, a RFU Championship Rugby Union team who play at Sixways Stadium.
- Worcestershire County Cricket Club whose home ground is New Road.
- Conference North football club Worcester City (The team currently plays at Aggborough in Kidderminster)
- Worcester Hockey Club has teams entered in the West Hockey Leagues.
- Worcester St Johns Cycling Club
- Worcester Wolves, a professional basketball team in the British Basketball League.
- Worcester Racecourse is on an open area known as "Pitchcroft" on the east bank of the River Severn.
- Worcester has King George's Field in memorial to King George V.
- Worcester Rowing Club which is situated near the city centre on the River Severn.
- University of Worcester Rowing Club which shares accommodation with Worcester Rowing Club.
- University of Birmingham Rowing Club
- Worcester Athletics Club who meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Nunnery Wood Sports Centre
- Worcester University Climbing and Mountaineering Club
- Worcester Dominies and Guild Cricket Club
Festivals and shows
Every three years Worcester becomes home to the Three Choirs Festival, which dates from the 18th century and is credited with being the oldest music festival in the British Isles. 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 was host of the festival in July 2014.
The Worcester Festival was established in 2003 by Chris Jaeger MBE. Held in 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. Worcester Festival ends with a spectacular free firework display on the banks of the River Severn on the Monday of the August bank holiday. The Artistic Director of the Worcester Festival is now actor, director and writer, Ben Humphrey.
For one weekend the city plays host to the Worcester Music Festival. Now in its 8th year (2015) the festival comprises a weekend of original music performed by predominantly local bands and musicians. All performances are free, and take place throughout the city centre: in bars, clubs, community buildings, churches and the central library. In 2010 the festival comprised 230 different acts. The 2015 Festival will take place between 18 and 20 September.
Founded in 2012, the Worcester Film festival, is all about placing Worcestershire on the film-making map and encouraging local people to get involved in making film. The first festival took place at the Hive and including screenings, workshops and talks.
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. Status Quo came to Sixways Stadium (Worcester Warriors) on Saturday 28 July 2007.
The CAMRA Worcester Beer, Cider and Perry festival takes place for three days each August  and is held on Pitchcroft Race Course. This festival is the largest beer festival within the West Midlands and within the top 10 in the United Kingdom with attendances being around 14,000 people.
2015 will see the first Worcester Canal Festival, held at Lansdowne Park from the 12 to 14 June, to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.
Arts and cinema
Famous 18th-century actress Sarah Siddons made her acting début here at the Theatre Royal in Angel Street. Her sister, the novelist Ann Julia Kemble Hatton, 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 stages a mixture of professional touring and local amateur productions. It is also home to the Worcester Repertory Company. Past Artistic Directors of the Worcester Repertory Company (and by default The Swan Theatre) have included John Doyle and David Wood OBE. The company's (and theatre's) current Artistic Director is Chris Jaeger MBE.
A number of 'stars' started their careers in the Worcester Repertory Company and the Swan Theatre. Imelda Staunton, Sean Pertwee, Celia Imrie, Rufus Norris, Kevin Whately and Bonnie Langford were all actors with the Rep at the start of their careers. Directors too have made a name for themselves with Phyllida Lloyd starting her directorial career as an Associate Director under John Doyle, a position that is now filled by Ben Humphrey.
The Countess of Huntingdon's Hall is a historic church now used as venue for an eclectic range of musical and comedy performances,. Recent acts have included Van Morrison, Eddie Izzard, Jack Dee, Omid Djalili and Jason Manford.
The Marrs Bar 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 on Foregate 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.
There are a number of arts organisations in Worcester. The Worcester Arts Workshop is an arts venue with spaces to hire for performances and exhibitions, a cafe and a pottery studio. There are regular performances including music (the Workshop is one of the annual Worcester Music Festival venues) and film, alongside numerous courses and workshops for adults and children. Based in Worcester, Dancefest is the Dance Development Agency for Worcestershire and Herefordshire, running classes across the counties for children and adults, alongside regular projects and performances including Jigsaw, an annual integrated performance. C&T (formerly Collar & Tie) is an educational theatre company that specialises in theatre for young people tackling topical issues using a blend of drama and new media technologies.
Twinning and planned twinning
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. The proposal was later rejected by the Executive Committee of the City of Worcester Twinning Association for lack of funding due to its present commitment to existing twinning projects.
- Jabez Allies (1787–1856) a Worcestershire folklorist and antiquarian lived at Lower Wick, now part of Worcester city.
- Elizabeth Blower (c. 1757/63 – post-1816), novelist, poet and actress, was born and raised in the city.
- Sir Thomas Brock, sculptor most famous for the Imperial Victoria Memorial in London was born here in 1847. Worcestershire Royal Hospital stands in a road named in his honour.
- Lee Cornes, comedian and actor - best known for roles in Blackadder, The Young Ones and Bottom, was born in Worcester in 1951.
- Revd Thomas Davis, hymn-writer, was born in Worcester in 1804. He is an ancestor of the Duchess of Cambridge.
- Philip Dorrell, English Cricketer who played for Worcestershire.
- Stephen Dorrell, English Conservative politician. Secretary of State for Health, Secretary of State for National Heritage and Financial Secretary to the Treasury.
- Composer Sir Edward Elgar's father ran a music shop at the end of High Street; a statue of Elgar stands near the original location of that shop. His birthplace is a short way outside Worcester in the village of Broadheath.
- Timothy Garden, Baron Garden (1944–2007), Air Marshal and Liberal Democrat politician, born in Worcester
- Philip Henry Gosse, naturalist, was born in the city in 1810.
- John Mathew Gutch, a respected journalist, lived at Barbourne, a suburb to the north of Worcester, with his second wife from 1823 until his death in 1861.
- Kit Harington, actor, lived in Worcester from the ages of eleven to eighteen, attending Chantry High School and Worcester Sixth Form College. He is most famous for his role of Jon Snow in the popular HBO TV series Game of Thrones.
- Sir Charles Hastings, founder of the British Medical Association lived in Worcester for most of his life.
- Ann Hatton, writer of the Kemble family was born in Worcester.
- Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power of experimental music group Fuck Buttons were both brought up in Worcester.
- Alexander Clunes Sheriff City Alderman and director of many city companies.
- Hannah Snell, famous for impersonating a man and being enlisted in the Royal Marines in the 18th century was born and brought up here.
- Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, poet and author, famously known as "Woodbine Willy", was for some time the Vicar of St. Paul's Church in the city. He rose to fame during World War I when he became an army chaplain, his sermons and poetry helping boost morale to the troops. He acquired his nickname from his habit of handing out "Woodbine" cigarettes to the men in the trenches.
- Dave Mason musician, singer, songwriter and guitarist, was born in Worcester.
- David McGreavy, child murderer known as the "Monster of Worcester", lived and committed his murders in Worcester.
- William Morris, Lord Nuffield, (founder of Morris Motors Limited and philanthropist), spent the first three years of his life in the city.
- Ernest Payne was born in Worcester and rode for the local Worcester St Johns Cycling Club. He won a gold medal in the team pursuit at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.
- Peace (band) An Indie Rock band formed in Worcester in 2009 fronted by Harry Koisser. They were nominees for the BBC's Sound Of 2013 poll.
- Sheila Scott, aviatrix was born in Worcester.
- Vesta Tilley, English music hall performer who adopted, at age 11, the stage name Vesta Tilley was born in Worcester. She became one of the most famous male impersonators of her era. She was a star in both Britain and the United States for over thirty years.
- James White (1775–1820), founder of the first advertising agency in 1800 in London, was born in Worcester.
- Edward Leader Williams, designer of the Manchester Ship Canal, was born and brought up in Worcester, living at Diglis House (now the Diglis House Hotel) with his brother, noted landscape artist Benjamin Williams Leader.
- Mrs. Henry Wood writer, was born in Worcester.
- See also People from Worcester.
- The Elgar Trail. ELGAR. Retrieved on 2013-08-02.
- City of Worcester. "The First Settlers". Worcester City Council (Worcester), 2005.
- City of Worcester. "Vertis—The Roman Industrial Town, 1st–4th centuries A.D." Worcester City Council (Worcester), 2005.
- Roman Britain. "Vertis".
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Media related to Worcester at Wikimedia Commons
|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Worcester.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Worcester.|