A Quick History of Worcestershire (and 3 of its districts)

Worcestershire as we know it today, consists of six districts, and this has been the case since 1998. The name ‘Worcestershire’ was first recorded as ‘Wirceastrescir’ in 1040. The county’s name derives from the district - Worcester, which is Latin for 'fort of the Wigoran', referring to the Roman fort of the Wigoran tribe. However, we mustn’t forget the most vital event, in the history of Worcestershire, when Worcestershire sauce was invented, by pure chance.

So, here we have the history of Worcestershire sauce: In 1835 Lord Marcus Sandys, from Worcestershire, ordered two chemists to adapt a concoction (of a fish sauce) which he had discovered during the period he spent in Bengal, India. The two chemists - Lea and Perrin - attempted to recreate this, but the result left them disappointed, so they stored their creation in a cellar – neglected and forgotten about. Two years later they rediscovered it and tasted it once again and, to their pleasant surprise, they found that the sauce had matured and had developed into a delicious mixture. Today this is the famous condiment known as Worcestershire sauce, enjoyed around the world.

History of Worcester

We start our timeline of Worcester history in the 1500s. During this period, the population of the city was very small, made up of only 400 inhabitants. The main industry at this time was cloth manufacturing, and a large majority of Worcester’s residents worked in this sector.

By the 1600s, the population grew to 20 times more than it was in the previous century. An important event in the history of Worcester was the civil war which began in 1642 with its first battle. This battle lasted almost 10 years and the last fight took place in 1651. This meant that Worcester was left in ruins and devastated in most parts, requiring a large amount of reconstruction.

During the 1700s, buildings which were destroyed were replaced with Georgian ones. The year 1771 marks the date of the first opening of the Worcester General Infirmary.

In the 19th century, the conditions experienced by the poor residents of Worcester began to improve with the introduction of clean water and the improvement in sanitation.

To continue reading about the history of Worcester, click here.

History of Malvern

Malvern history goes back further than most of the other Worcestershire districts. For example, Malvern Hills’ igneous rocks are said to be around 600-800 million years old and approximately 300 million years ago, upheavals led the point of Malvern Hills to form.

Many years later, the history of Malvern continues, after the Norman Conquest in 1066, when a monastery, named Great Malvern Priory, was built in Great Malvern.

Jumping to the year 1614, the first prep school in England - ‘The Elms School’ - was founded in Colwall.

The history of Malvern in the 19th century requires the mention of James Gulley’s first ‘water cure’ clinic which transformed Malvern into a health spa town. (More about Malvern’s history.)

History of Redditch

Redditch history begins in the 13th century (because it did not exist during the Anglo-Saxon period) when it developed more modern, city-like characteristics.

The development of the needle industry is what Redditch is best known for. The needle industry was first introduced in London by Flemish refugees and later reached Redditch in the 17th century where almost 2000 people were employed in the manufacturing of needles. 90% of the world’s needles were produced here.

Later in the history of Redditch, in the 19th century, The Redditch Railway was approved, from Barnt Green to Redditch, and was built in just over a year. The Railway was open to the public in 1859.

More recent Redditch history includes the introduction of the New Town which was established over 50 years ago. The New Town plan was introduced in attempts create an area, with both old and new elements within it, which could be developed to increase Redditch’s popularity. Within this plan to create a new town; new houses were built, more jobs were created and there was an improvement of the roads (some of which were previously struggling to handle the increased volume of traffic).

More about the history of Redditch can be found here.