Bristol 2011 – Day 3

Monday, September 5th 2011

High wire act
High wire act
Window cleaner working at Primark

The sun is shining this morning so let’s hope the weather is set fair today. We’re not in any rush because, as today is a week day, we have to wait until 9:30 for off- peak travel prices. We forgot to buy porridge yesterday so we will breakfast just on biscuits and tea. We can catch up at lunch time or a mid-morning snack.

Great Malvern Station
Great Malvern Station
A charming old fashioned station

Today’s plan is to take the train to Great Malvern and then catch a bus to Worcester. From Worcester we shall return to Bristol by train. This gives us the best combination of cost and time.

Great Malvern Station
Great Malvern Station
Small but designed to impress

A good introduction to Great Malvern is its station. Consisting of a single storey, it is in the Gothic style and was built in 1861-2. Now Grade II listed, it was obviously designed to impress visitors when they arrived. It certainly impressed me!

Unusual capitals
Unusual capitals
The station pillars have botanical decorations

There is a row of pillars supporting the station canopy and the pillars have elaborately decorated capitals in the form of leaves and flowers, beautiful and most unusual. In addition, there are at least two other historical treasures on this station.

Victoria R posting box
Victoria R posting box
Is it still in use?

The first is this posting box, dating from the reign of Queen Victoria. Victorian pillar boxes and wall boxes are not all that rare but they are not common, either, and it is always a pleasure to me to find one.

Weighbridge
Weighbridge
Made by Henry Pooley & Son of Birmingham

The second is this weighbridge made by Henry Pooley & Son. This firm was an extremely prolific manufacturer and maintainer of weighbridges, scales and other appliances and engines. The firm was founded in the 18th century and was established in Liverpool until the 1890s when it moved to Birmingham. Their weighbridges were commonly found on railway stations across the whole country. This one is virtually a museum exhibit.

Beetle
Beetle
Rather handsome, isn’t he?

We walked up the road towards the town and I photographed this beetle on the way. I don’t know what species it is and would appreciate an identification.

House with a view
House with a view
Fine houses and lovely views

On the road to town from the station we saw some very fine old houses, well situated with views of the hills. Malvern is of course known for its mineral water and in Victorian times enjoyed a boom as a spa town. People would have visited the town to “take the waters” and some would have moved in permanently.

Wells Road
A view of the hills

Malvern is a hilly town as you can see from the above photo. The hills are what produce its famous water and they also provide pleasant views.

30 Church Street
30 Church Street
Currently a branch of the NatWest banking company

Malvern is an old town and has buildings to match its venerable status. One of the first we saw was at 30 Church Street, a rounded building, almost a rotunda, currently occupied by the NatWest.

The Exchange
The Exchange
In need of some care and attention

Then there is the Exchange which would have been the business centre in its day. When was that? To tell you the truth, I don’t know, but suspect it dates from Victorian or Edwardian times. It lies within Great Malvern’s Conservation Area but there have been complaints that it is not being maintained sufficiently well.

Priory Church of St Mary and St Michael
Priory Church of St Mary and St Michael
Parts of it date back to William the Conqueror

You cannot miss this historic pile, the Priory Church of St Mary and St Michael. It is big and extensive. Parts of it are reckoned to date back to the era of William the Conqueror.

Sundial
Sundial
Telling the right time too!

In the churchyard was this odd little sundial. If you look closely, it seems to indicate a time of 12.15 or 12.20, which is remarkably close if you add an hour for summer time: my photo is timed at 1.23 pm.

Priory Steps
Priory Steps
Leading down to one of the church gates

You can leave the churchyard by a short but pretty street called Priory Steps. This leads to another of Malvern’s heritage buildings.

Priory Gatehouse
Priory Gatehouse
A survival from medieval times

This is the medieval Priory Gatehouse, thought to have been built between 1480 and 1500. Today it is occupied, appropriately enough, by the Great Malvern Museum of Local History.

Edward Elgar
Edward Elgar
Contemplating the fountain

A more modern work is a bronze sculpture of the composer Edward Elgar who lived for some time in Great Malvern. He stands in a corner of Belle Vue Terrace, contemplating the fountain installed in honour of himself and his music.

The Enigma Fountain
The Enigma Fountain
By Rose Garrard who also modelled the bronze of Elgar

The three-pronged fountain apparently celebrates Elgar, his composition “The Enigma Variations”, and Malvern water. It was unveiled in May 2000 by Prince Andrew.

Henry's
Henry’s
Lunch in Malvern

We had lunch nearby in Henry’s Cafe Bar and Bistro, after which we did some more exploring before thinking about engaging in the next phase of our journey.

Public Library and War Memorial
Public Library and War Memorial
The library is set in a pleasant garden

In the course of this ramble, we discovered an institution close to my heart – the public library. It is set in a pleasant garden along with a memorial commemorating both world wars.

Library entrance
Library entrance
Tasteful Edwardian style

The library was funded by Andrew Carnegie and by C.W. Dyson Perrins, a local businessman and philanthropist, and was built in 1905 on land donated by Sir Henry Foley Grey, Chairman of the Malvern Urban District Council and Lord of the Manor of Malvern. It is pleasing to see that the enterprise founded by their generosity is still going strong 106 years later. Long may it continue to do so.

Angel Place
Angel Place
Once called Little Angel Street when it was the heart of the old city

As planned, we caught a bus to Worcester. This city, the county town, is much bigger than Great Malvern and therefore harder to get to grips with in a short time. We wandered more or less at random, taking in anything that caught our eye.

Artificial birds
Artificial birds
They look real at a quick glance but are not

You might at first sight wonder why these birds were gathered on this building façade like flies on a fly paper but then you realize they are fake, some better imitated than others. Is it a work of art? Something deeply symbolic? Or just a bit of fun…? (Someone somewhere knows!)

Tower and spire of St Andrew's
Tower and spire of St Andrew’s
All that remains of the church demolished in 1949

This church spire is impressive, all the more so because it is all that remains of the church of St Andrew, demolished in 1949 because it had fallen into neglect. The tower, with its vaulted ceiling dates from the 15th century but the spire was added in the 1750s by a local master mason, Nathaniel Wilkinson.

Edward Elgar 1857-1934
Edward Elgar 1857-1934
Born nearby, died in Worcester

It is no surprise to find that Worcester claims Elgar as well. He was born near the city, lived here for some years and died in Worcester in 1934. Here he is shown wearing a gown and what I take to be the Order of Merit.

Victoria R pillar box
Victoria R pillar box
A counterpart to the wall box on
Malvern station

Hexagonal Penfold pillar boxes like this were introduced during the period 1866-1879. I assume this is a genuine example though reproductions are not unknown. One difference between Victorian pillar boxes and later ones lies in the royal cipher: subsequent ciphers included the reign number, e.g. George VI, but the Victorian cipher is simply a ‘V’ and an ‘R’.

Worcester Cathedral
Worcester Cathedral
This is as close as we got on this trip

Worcester Cathedral is of course famous and many tourists consider it a must-see but this is as close as we went to it. I am not sorry, as it is all too easy to become “churched-out” by the plethora of churches, chapels, cathedrals, priories and abbeys up and down the land. I can only stand so much goddery in one day.

Tudor houses
Tudor houses
A wonderfully warped end house

Worcester has so many Tudor buildings that it is not possible to give even a representative sample. I thought that you might like this set, however, because of the delightfully wonky aspect of the upper storey of the end house. I wonder what it is like inside: does everything roll to one end of the room?

The Pheasant
The Pheasant
A royal refuge (more’s the pity)

Oh, all right: just one more, then. This is an inn called The Pheasant, dating from 1577. Apparently, it was from this house that King Charles II escaped his enemies after the Battle of Worcester in 1651, thus perpetuating the whole sorry mess that is called the monarchy.

Laslett's Almshouses
Laslett’s Almshouses
Still providing accommodation for elderly folk

William Laslett founded these almshouses in 1868, designed for 33 elderly men and women. A property called Newton Court Farm was placed in trust to finance the endowment. The almshouses are still part of the city’s establishment for caring for the elderly.

Berkeley's Hospital
Berkeley’s Hospital
Founded by Robert Berkeley in 1692

Another set of almshouses is this one, known as Berkeley’s Hospital. Robert Berkeley left money for this foundation in 1692 and the houses were built in 1705.

St Slug and Lettuce
St Slug and Lettuce
God no longer lives here

This building may look like a church but whatever it once was (I am not sure whether it was a church, as Wetherspoon’s own Web site says, or a Masonic lodge), today it is a pub called the Slug and Lettuce.

Inside the Slug and Lettuce
Inside the Slug and Lettuce
The original layout is still discernible

Wetherspoon’s has a good record for preserving as much of the original structure of the building as possible. This makes sense because it gives the pubs the appeal of character and novelty. In this one, the end where the altar would have stood (if it was a church) is illuminated dramatically in bright blue light.

Stained glass window
Stained glass window
Christian or Masonic?

On either side of the blue-illuminated focal point there is a stained glass window. It’s difficult to see the details with the balustrade in the way but something suggests to me that these symbols are Masonic rather than Christian.

It had been a long and active day and the light was fading so it was time to return to Bristol. We caught the 19:03 train and from Temple Meads a number 8 bus to the town centre. We had decided to have supper at the Kathmandu Nepal and Indian Restaurant as a good way to round off our day.

The Kathmandu
The Kathmandu
The Nepali and Indian dishes

Copyright © 2011 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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