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History of Worcester

Important dates in the History of Worcester timeline

In 1500 the population of city stood at 4000.

Cloth manufacture was the major industry, and over half of the citizens worked as weavers, spinners, dyers, fullers and carders.

1502: Prince Arthur, heir to the throne, was brought to Worcester Cathedral for his funeral, having died at Ludlow.

1541: King’s School established by Henry VIII following dissolution of the Monastery.

1575: Queen Elizabeth I visited Worcester with a great procession, before hunting in the Parks of Battenhall and Hallow.
By now the population of Worcester had reached over 8000.

By 1610 river-borne trade became of increasing importance, and the cloth industry was already beginning to decline.

1642: The first skirmish of the Civil War in Worcester took place at Powick Bridge.

1646: The siege of Worcester, during which the medieval walls were strengthened and the suburbs to the south flattened.

1651: the Battle of Worcester ended the War when Cromwell’s forces defeated the Scottish army. King Charles made his escape through the back of a house in the Cornmarket and finally to France.

The city was left with areas of major devastation and much rebuilding to be done.
Buildings destroyed in the Civil War were replaced with the Georgian buildings which now line Foregate Street and the Tything.

1718 saw the first horse race held on Pitchcroft.

1721-1723 The central part of the Guildhall was built, the wings being added 1725-27.

1751: The Founding of Worcester Porcelain Works, its first Royal Warrant being granted in 1789.

1771: Worcester General Infirmary was opened in what is now Castle Street.

1781 The old medieval bridge over the Severn was demolished and replaced by the present one.

1788 King George III visited Worcester with Queen Charlotte to attend the Three Choirs festival.
The century began with gloving as the major industry, but by 1826 there was a major decline as import duty on imported gloves was abolished.

1802: Nelson visited Worcester and was granted the Freedom of the City.

1815: The Birmingham – Worcester Canal opened, stimulating local manufacturing.

1844: Diglis Weir was built.

1858: The Water pumping plant opened.

1894: Powick Mills became a steam & water driven hydro-electricity station.

1896: The Public Library was established in Foregate Street as part of the new Victoria Institute.

1897: The County Cricket Ground opened
1902: The Power Station in Hylton Road went on line.

1913: Fort Royal Park was donated to the City.

1932: Cripplegate Park was opened by the Prince of Wales and Stanley Baldwin, and the river bridge re-opened after widening.

1963-65: Demolition took place of the medieval Lichgate, Lich Street, and the lower end of High Street.

1969: Opening of the Lychgate Mall, Giffard Hotel and car park.

1975: City Walls Road completed.

1992: Crowngate Shopping Centre opened.
2001: The Royal Infirmary moves from Castle Street to Newtown.

The city loses two important longstanding employers: Kays catalogue (2002) and Royal Worcester Porcelain (2008).

2005: The former Worcester College of Higher Education becomes the University of Worcester.

2010: The opening of the new City Campus on the former Infirmary site, and work in progress on The Hive, Europe’s first fully integrated Public and University Library, including Records Office, Archaeology Service and Hub.

2012, July: The Hive (pictured) is opened by The Queen.

2013: The Recession has caused damage to some businesses and shops, but new developments such as those at Diglis and Lowesmoor continue to further the expansion of the city.