A stroll down Worcester Road, Great Malvern
This page is a continuation of our stroll around Great Malvern, taking in more of the architecture of the Worcester Road northwards from Church Street towards Link Top. See route marked in blue on the map below; click to enlarge.
Map of central Great Malvern
Most of the photos were taken on 29th December 2015, two years before the preparation of this page. We are in the process of adding references to Stevens street directories of 1911 and 1940, and the census. In 1911 a number of properties were advertised to let suggesting that with the decline of the 'water cure' there was a surplus of accommodation in Great Malvern and consequently a drop in prosperity, which loss of lives in the First World War would only worsen. In 1940 just after the start of the Second World War the situation may not have changed greatly, but with the arrival TRE and ADRDE scientists and their support staff in May 1942, the town would be soon 'bursting at the seams'.
In recent years it has been good to see that many of the tired Victorian villas in Great Malvern have either been renovated or are in the process of being modernised.
Looking north along the Worcester Road
Starting at Belle Vue Terrace at the top of Church Street we walked north along the Worcester Road to photograph those houses visible from the road.
The photo above shows the view looking north along the Worcester Road. In the foreground is Barclays Bank, once the Royal Library, and beyond Burley's hairdressers, and then Whatley Recordon solicitors, opposite the Zebra crossing, where the Coburg Baths were once situated, many years ago. Out of picture further on is the Foley Arms.
The shops, mostly on the western side of the Worcester Road, can be seen in the distance together with the spire of Holly Mount United Reformed Church.
After the Royal Library now Barclays Bank, Stevens directory of 1911 listed Montague House, the building now occupied by Burleys, a hairdressers.
Good Friday procession passing Burleys
Then came the Foley Estate Office and JB Harper and sons Auctioneers and estate agents. Possibly the Foley Estate Office was above the shop entered by the door before Burley's, and the auctioneers premises was entered through the archway on the other side.
It is thought the Malvern Baths, later known as Coburg House, was designed by Samuel Deykes and completed about 1823; the premises next door now occupied by the Nationwide Building Society may have formed part of the original building (see photo below).
The Malvern Baths was later renamed the Coburg Baths probably after Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg. With competition from the 'water cure' establishments of Dr James Wilson and Dr James Manby Gully the Bath House element of the business probably fell away and by 1881, the building was known as Coburg House, providing lodgings with shops below.
Edward Archer (1827 - 1892) who once owned The Foley Arms Hotel, had a wine merchants business here, on the ground floor. By 1911 the building seems to have been renamed Beresford House, occupied by wine merchant Charles Pratt Green trading as Archer and Co, Wine, Spirit, Ale, Porter, Cider and Perry Merchants, Telephone 199. He was born at Kempsey in 1852 and died in 1950.
The Foley Arms
The Foley Arms, now numbered 14 Worcester Road, is Grade II listed and run by the pub chain JD Wetherspoon.
A good place to eat, but note the pub no longer has a car park.
There are good views from the rear towards the Severn plain.
On the side of the pub there is a sign (see below) harking back to former owner, the above, Edward Archer, who had taken over from his father John. They are buried in a family tomb in the Priory churchyard.
The sign reads:
The Foley Arms Hotel
Licensed to let
Post Horses and carriages for hire
Livery and Bait Stables
In 1911 the Foley Livery Stables was being run by W and B Woodyatt and Miss Mary H Younger was manageress of the Foley Arms Hotel.
The Foley Arms
Above the main entrance you will see a coat of arms which relates back to a visit by Princess Mary of Teck.
Coat of Arms
The Foley Arms, designed by Samuel Deykes, was built about 1810 as a coaching inn for John Downes. It opened as the Down’s Hotel but was later renamed the Foley Arms after the Lord of the Manor, Edward Foley. The crest on the outside is that of the Teck Family, which belonged to Princess Mary of Teck, Queen Elizabeth II's grandmother - she is said to have presented the crest to the hotel after staying there for six weeks in 1891. The motto 'Treu Und Fest' translates as Faithful and Strong.
In 1911 next came Trafalgar House where Miss Elizabeth Anne Dowding had apartments. We speculate this building was demolished and replaced by a 'parade' of shops which in 1940 was known as Trafalgar buildings where now are:
Kimberleys Estate Agents
Number 16 Worcester Road; no photo
Terrace on the Hill Cafe/Brasserie
Number 18 - 20 Worcester Road; no photo.
Earlier a Pound Plus discount store was here.
Number 22 Worcester Road
Sue Ryder charity shop
Number 26 Worcester Road; no photo
Next comes Foley House which in 1911 was apartments run by a Mrs Griffiths; now numbered 28 Worcester Road, it is Grade II listed, and known as Foley House Antiques.
Foley House in 2015
When we took this photo Foley House gave the impression of being unoccupied and in a slightly neglected state.
A plaque on the left of the main entrance records:
This house was the home of the Lanchester Marionette Theatre 1936 - 1952.
Stevens directory of 1940 records St Anne's Pottery and Marionette Theatre at this address run by Waldo and Muriel Lanchester.
You can read about puppeteer Waldo Lanchester on Wikipedia.
The theatre had a connection to Gerald Morice who lived at Edith Lodge in Graham Road and in 1979 published the booklet 'A Brief History of the Malvern Festival Theatre'.
The present Charlbury House numbered 30 Worcester Road, recently renovated to a high standard to provide apartments, once housed the Town Club.
In 1911 Stevens street directory recorded Marienberg at this location, occupied by Miss Emily Cox and Mrs JB Connell. In 1940 the property was known as St Mary's Mount, occupied by William Edward Charteris Watkinson (1910 - 1981). In the 1930s, he was known as a rally driver and trials drivers for MG and other car makers; in 1942 he married Anne Farmer after being engaged to two other ladies.
There was a 'water cure' establishment at Marienberg near Boppart on the banks of the Rhine circa 1843 after which the house was probably named (ref 1). The name of the house may have been changed to St Mary Mount during the First World War when German names became unpopular.
The sign above Charlbury House
Next after a gap with views eastwards across the Severn plain comes Burford House, numbered 32 Worcester Road.
In 1881 this was the home of wine merchant Edward Archer, who is mentioned above, whose business was at Coburg House. By 1891 he had moved to Littleford Lodge now the Cotford Hotel, when he is described in the census as An Artist in Oil Painting, a Wine Merchant, Farmer and Hotel Keeper. He was a friend of the artist David Bates.
In 1911 Burford House was occupied by Miss Sophia Bradley (apartments) and living there was wine merchant Charles Pratt Green who seems to have acquired the Archer and Co business at Beresford House.
Next is a large block of modern apartments known as Peterson Court. The date on the iron railings near the entrance gives the date of construction as 1986.
In 1911 Coburg and Sandford Lodge stood here which were advertised to let; these must have been demolished as Stevens street directory of 1940 records the Central Car Park at this location associated with the Central Garage across the road run by Rothwell and Milbourne.
Numbered 34 Worcester Road, Bredon House is a Grade II listed building now being used as a Buddhist Temple.
The sign outside reads:
34 Worcester Rd
In 1911 Bredon House was occupied by widow Mrs Esther Hunt (apartments); the census describes her as a boarding house keeper aged 78 years, living with her daughter.
Next is a pair of semi detached villas known as Brankstone, numbered 36 Worcester Road, and Ivy Crest, number 38, which were being renovated when we visited in 2015.
Brankstone and Ivy Crest in 2015
The next picture shows the decorative wrought iron-work around the porch of Brankstone in more detail.
The porch of Brankstone
Stevens directory of 1911 records Brankstone was unoccupied, while the 1911 census records in residence Edith Maria Rowlands, a trained hospital nurse and masseuse aged 33 years, and her sister Emma Louise aged 24 also a masseuse. In 1940 Alex McLeod rented an apartment.
Ivy Crest, 38 Worcester Road, was subsequently advertised for sale by John Goodwin in 2017 for an asking price of £725,000. It is described as a striking Grade II listed semi-detached late Georgian house dating back to the 1820s enjoying an elevated position with wonderful views across the Severn Valley, offering generous four storey accommodation.
Stevens directory of 1911 advertised Ivy Crest to let, but the census records in residence Mary Agnes Wallace, aged 53, a Costumier (ladies clothing) and her aunt. She died at South Villa, Wells Road, Malvern in 1940 when Ivy Crest was occupied by a John Taylor.
Next comes Sidney House, numbered 40 Worcester Road offering Bed and Breakfast accommodation.
Sidney House in 2015
In 1911 Sidney House was occupied by widow and boarding house keeper Caroline Henderson and the property is described as having 14 rooms; in 1940 the property was occupied by Sidney William Ridout.
Concealed out of sight below the road is Sidney Cottage, numbered 42 Worcester Road. Stevens records that in 1911 it was occupied by Frederick Bosley, a porter, but we have not found him in the census.
Next is a large villa named Montreal House, numbered 44 Worcester Road.
A plaque on a gatepost placed by Malvern Civic Society reads:
In 1851 Charles Darwin stayed here with his daughter Anne Elizabeth who was being treated by pioneer of the Malvern Water Cure Dr James Manby Gully.
Sadly Anne did not survive and you will find her buried in the churchyard of Great Malvern Priory.
Stevens records that in 1911 Montreal House was occupied by Miss Doorbar (apartments). The census tells us that Mary Doorbar, single, aged 51 years was an Apartment House Keeper and that Montreal House had 16 rooms.
Oriel Villa, now numbered 46 Worcester Road, is a Grade II listed castellated house, almost fairy tale like in design, now apartments.
In 1881 wealthy widow Celia Jane Taylor aged 53, born Stourport, was living here; her occupation was described as income from dividends and insurances. She died at Brighton in 1890. Celia Jane nee Hill had married Thomas Taylor at Claines in 1845; he died just two years later in 1847 as did their infant son. Thomas Taylor signed his Prerogative Court of Canterbury Will on 24th May 1847, and must have died a few days later as the will was proved on 30th June at Kidderminster.
In 1911 and 1940 retired draper George Thompson born Upton 1855 was in residence with his wife Elizabeth; they had no children.
The building next door, where wealthy benefactor Charles Morris once stayed while visiting Malvern, has been demolished and replaced by a modern block of two luxury apartments, designed by Nick Caroll Architects, numbered 48 Worcester Road. Built on a slope the building has at least two further levels below the Worcester Road, which can be viewed from the north end of Waitrose car park.
The Chase in 2015
The 1881 census recorded Samuel Berrow, a lodging house keeper and carriage proprietor at The Chase.
Charles Robert Paterson Mitchell MD Edinburgh, born 15th Sep 1878 died 10th Dec 1942 was in residence at the Chase in 1911, when he was physician, surgeon, and medical officer to the Urban District Council. He is buried Glasgow Necropolis.
The property was not listed in the 1940 directory; possibly because military people were billeted there.
Worfield House, now numbered 50 Worcester Road.
In 1881 Worfield House was the home of Surgeon and General Practitioner Edmund Wadams and his wife Louisa. He was born Grafton, Warwickshire about 1823, and died at Worfield House on 7th July 1905.
In 1911 Worfield House was advertised to let.
In 1940 Worfield House was the home of retired art historian and diplomat William Algernon Churchill (1865 - 1947) whose sons served with distinction in the Second World War.
Sam Beard (now deceased) recounted to the Guarlford History Group that in 1940, Worfield House was also the home of Lt William Oliver Churchill, and his wife. Sam became his Batman and Oliver would drive him to Norton Barracks in his Lagonda SS. After he was posted out Sam never heard from him again, but we now know Oliver joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and survived WWII. You will find an account on Wikipedia. His brother Group Captain Walter Myers Churchill served with the RAF and was sadly killed in action in 1942. His brother Peter Morland Churchill also served with the SOE; despite being captured by the Nazis he survived WWII and after the war married the SOE agent Odette, who was the subject of a film of the same name made in 1950. A distinguished family.
52 Elm Bank, now numbered 52 Worcester Road.
In 1881 Elm Bank was occupied by retired wine merchant Richard Cope a widower aged 93 year who was born Birmingham.
Viscount James Spencer Pomeroy Haberton died, 4th December 1912, briefly stayed here; his wife Lady Florence Haberton supported the Suffragette movement and the right of women to wear more practical clothing.
In 1911 Elm Bank was advertised to let.
In 1940 Arthur John Lucy (1865 - 1945) had been in residence; his obituary was published in 1946 by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Here is a transcription:
Aucott House, now numbered 54 Worcester Road, with an ornamental wrought iron porch.
Aucott House in 2015
In 1881 the house was occupied by spinster Mary Emma Fenton aged 62 years, born Huddersfield, described as a landed proprietress; also in the household were a housekeeper, lady's maid, cook, housemaid, kitchen maid, and perhaps surprisingly a young optician's assistant, William H Smith, aged, 22 who was born in Great Malvern. Mary Fenton had been staying here with her Aunt Elizabeth Hind in 1871; she was the daughter of Captain Lewis Fenton 55th Regiment of Foot, elected MP for Huddersfield Dec 1832 and sadly died the following year.
St Richard's Roman Catholic preparatory school for boys was started here in 1921 by John Richard Keble, an Oxford MA and published poet.
In 1911 Aucott house had been advertised to let. In 1940 Miss KB Harrison and Albert Jas Hartwright were in residence.
Abberley House, now numbered 56 Worcester Road, is a Grade II listed building where 'water cure' Dr James Loftus Marsden stayed with his family when he first came to Malvern.
Abberley House, 56 Worcester Road in 2015
In 1881 Abberley was occupied by spinster Mary Candler, aged 70, described as a funded proprietress, her brother , sister, a cook and a housemaid.
In 1911 Abberley seems to have been split into two halves with the other known as Cotswold House. Abberley was advertised to let, while Cotswold House was occupied by the Misses Alice and Mary Jane Cowls (apartments).
Stevens 1940 directory lists seven people in residence one of who was Captain Archibald J R Napier. Maybe this was him:
Sidmouth House, now numbered 58 Worcester Road, has a red front door.
In 1911 Sidmouth House was occupied by Mrs L Doody (apartments). In 1940 Bertram Smith was running a boarding house here.
Next to Sidmouth there is a view eastwards of housing below, then an electricity pylon and countryside in the distance.
View through gap next to Sidmouth House
Next is number 60, a tired looking villa; possibly this was Sidmouth Villa occupied by John Woodman Lee in 1911.
Then number 62 which extends further back, possibly Grade II listed. In 1911 this may have been named Leighurst occupied by estate agent Edward Lear.
Here is a footpath to Graham Road which in 1911 was known as Victoria Walk.
Next comes Malvern Surgeries, Grade II listed, at 64 Worcester Road (no photo). In 1940 this was probably the house named Dalston occupied by Chiropodists Laura Evelyn Need and Miss DW Jones.
Here is Bank Street, where there is a blue plaque on the railings of a car parking area on the south side of Woodland Lodge. It reads:
Beyond are Zetland Court flats and a left turn off the main road towards West Malvern, but we turned round to return along the west side of the Worcester Road to Belle Vue Terrace. There is not much to be seen here as the ground slopes steeply upwards and the few houses there are mostly hidden from view.
Footpath flanked on right for much of the way by wall of Malvern stone and blue engineering bricks topped by trees and shrubbery.
Inset into the wall is a milestone reading:
A small break in the wall marks a narrow tarmac drive up to Hill House. Here was a boys' prep school run by Lumley Fitzgerald Lyster; you can read about the school on our page Malvern schools then and now.
In 1911 the house was named The Lodge and occupied by Baronet Sir Henry Foley Grey, died 1914, who is buried in Great Malvern cemetery.
The Lodge Spring
Weaver and Osborne recount that Charles Darwin stayed at The Lodge in 1849 when he visited Malvern to consult Dr Gully, and that there is an ornamental spout and basin on the left of the drive, still flowing (ref 2).
Further on is a two storey brick property known as Copsewood, numbered 49 Worcester Road.
In 1911 this was occupied by a Miss Harper and a Miss Armstrong. In 1940 Guy Frank was in residence
Classic Interiors and Central Garage
Next to Copsewood is Classic Interiors, which used to be the Central Garage. The word 'garage' was first used in the UK about 1902 and was copied from the French, from garer to shelter; the term was used to describe a large building where motor vehicles were kept.
In 1911 the proprietors of the Central Garage were Joseph Coley, and his son of the same name, who described themselves as, motor engineers, dealing in motor vehicles and cycles.
Rothwell & Milbourne
Joseph senior died in 1923 and the business became known as Rothwell and Milbourne. Rothwell and Milbourne had first acquired Cowleigh Garage in Cowleigh Road, North Malvern in 1919. It was previously known as Moore's Garage Ltd).
We have attempted to trace the business founder(s) with little success. Were they business partners or was this simply a brand the proprietor of the business invented - do tell us if you know?
Our current theory is that Joseph Rothwell born 1886 and his wife Dorothy nee Milbourne bought Moore's Garage in 1919 after he was demobbed from the Royal Flying Corps. Their daughter Pamela Leslie Rothwell was born in Malvern in 1922; she became a dental surgeon and in the 1950s was the first woman to set up a dental practice in the Australian capital of Canberra; Pamela died in 2016. We don't know what became of Joseph, but he may have divorced Dorothy, and could be the man who married Emmie Agnes Rudd, grand-daughter of the landlord of the Nag's Head in 1927. Tragically Emmie died in 1931 and you will find her buried in Great Malvern cemetery.
Joseph Rothwell was the youngest son of cotton manufacturer William Andrew Rothwell, proprietor of the Primrose Mill in Walkden a suburb of Manchester. A trade directory of 1891 records Primrose Mill had 180 looms, and made nankeens, blue jeans, ticks, grandrills, dobbies and checks.
Arthur Linnell MacVitie acquired the company in 1926, but continued trading as Rothwell and Milbourne. Prior to that he had worked for Shellmex. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Motor Trade (FIMT) which is now known as the IMI.
In the 1930s St James Garage in West Malvern joined the group.
In 1953 Rothwell and Milbourne became a Limited Company and in 1959 a service department was opened in Newtown Road; son, John Linnell MacVitie joining the business. In the 1980s we remember this being Rothwell and Milbourne's car showroom, with a cream exterior, and taking our car for servicing in Newtown Road. In March 1989 it was decided to put the business into voluntary liquidation and it closed in 1990.
When the garage closed it became an Exhaust, Tyres and Battery depot, now tastefully converted into a shop.
Classic Interiors and the top of Copsewood beyond
Low on the wall of Classic Interiors is a tether, for tying up your dog while visiting the shop.
You don't see many of these, but it seems a good idea, providing your dog can be safely secured.
Next door to Classic Interiors is the entrance to a drive, which leads up to a house named Silver Hill situated high above the Worcester Road with commanding views over the Severn Plain.
Silver Hill stands on part of the land once occupied by Holly Mount Mansion where Princess Victoria and her mother the Duchess of Kent stayed in August 1830, when they visited Great Malvern for a ten week holiday.
A glimpse of Silver Hill in 2018
Stevens street directory of 1911 recorded Holly Mount Mansion at this location occupied by Herbert Hall Woodbridge; when the property eventually fell into disuse it was bought by a developer and destroyed in a fire!
We think Silver Hill may have been built in the 1930s.
Next comes a small group of red brick semi-detached shops, and just before these is a green plaque placed by Malvern Civic Society which reads:
This pavement from Great Malvern to Link Top was designed to allow local people and visitors to walk or 'Promenade' a popular Victorian social pastime and exercise.
The 'Promenade' seems to have comprised the group of redbrick shops and what we now know as Bray's outfitters.
Shops with date 1891 above
The shops, of red brick construction, are mentioned on our page about some of the Shops in Worcester Road.
There are three gables and this time we spotted a plaque at the top of the centre gable dated 1891, which must relate to when the shops were built.
Stevens directory of 1940 recorded here,
Smith Geo and Co, restaurant
Hart S and Sons, fruiterer
Quinton, Jabez, antiques dealer
Next is Brays' outfitters.
Brays of Malvern is an independent family-owned store which according to their website was established in 1895, but there were shops here before that; can you tell us when the building was built?
Brays on the Worcester Road
Stevens directory of 1940 recorded:
Brays (Malvern) Ltd, tailors
Bradley, Chas, draper
Marshall Walter H, draper
Brays (Malvern) Ltd, ladies' outfitters
Just beyond Brays and before Holly Mount URC church we diverted into Queen's Drive, earlier Queen's Road, which runs up behind Brays, before turning sharply back on itself past the rear of Holly Mount URC church.
The next photo shows the rear of Brays, looking down Queen's Drive towards the Worcester Road.
Looking down Queen's Drive to the Worcester Road
Turning round, on the sharp bend in Queen's Drive, a glimpse can be had of a modern house named Holly Mount, which was built about 1994 next to Silver Hill both on the site of Holly Mount Mansion where Princess Victoria stayed in 1830.
Holly Mount in 2018
Below is an engraving, courtesy of Malvern Museum, of the house that stood here in 1830.
Holly Mount Mansion circa 1830
Holly Mount URC
Queen's Drive does a 'U' turn at Holly Mount and proceeds uphill past the rear of the church, where there is a more convenient entrance, avoiding the stairs from Worcester Road. There are some houses here before the road ends in a cul-de-sac.
The west side of Holly Mount United Reformed Church
Holly Mount was built as a Congregational church and opened for worship in 1876. You will find a history of the church in Rod Ellis's book Dissenters All. Lady Foley is said to have forbidden church bells, which could have disturbed local residents. The Congregational Church merged with the Presbyterians to form the United Reformed Church (URC) in 1972.
The panorama below shows the relative position of some of these properties; click to enlarge in a new window.
From Holly Mount we retraced our steps to Belle Vue Terrace.
The Donut Dugout
During WWII the American forces had a club run by their Red Cross opposite the Foley Arms. One resident remembers it was entered by a door next to a shop and you went round the back. Do you have a photo?
While looking at Malvern Library microfiche records of The Malvern Gazette recently, we spotted in the corner of the page this report, from Saturday January 5th 1945.
The Donut Dugout is long gone but we would love to hear your memories of wartime Malvern.
We hope you enjoyed this 'virtual' stroll down the Worcester Road. You can find out a little more about this area of Great Malvern by following the links below.
Do tell us if corrections are needed or you can add to this article.
Last updated 3rd April 2018