Worcester’s Skyline – then and now

When you arrive in Worcester by train, step out of Shrub Hill Station and walk past the tall office block, one of the striking aspects of the city as you look down on it is the array of churches of different shapes and sizes. This is no longer so obvious from the other side of the city but below is a glimpse of how that view looked in the eighteenth century.

 

West View of the C ity of Worcester. Image copyright of the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral                               West View of the City of Worcester. Image copyright the Dean and Chapter of Worcester                                                                                                        Cathedral (UK)

Many of these churches still remain, or parts of them, some still churches, others deconsecrated.

The Cathedral was and still is dominant, although with subtle changes in its outward appearance.

 

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                                  North East View of Worcester Cathedral in 1789. Image copyright of the Dean                                                                                                        and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (UK)

 

Valentine Green in his two volume book “The History and Antiquities of the City and Suburbs of Worcester” published in 1789, from which all the pictures in this blog are taken, introduces many of Worcester’s churches as they were then. It is interesting for those who know Worcester to spot the changes.

 

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                                   St Johns in Bedwardine and St Clements. Image copyright the Dean and Chapter of                                                                                                      Worcester Cathedral (UK)

St Johns is still a well-used church. The St Clements in the picture was on the east of the river. It was demolished and a new church, dedicated to the same saint, was built across the river in the St Johns area of the City in the nineteenth century.

 

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              St Michaels and St Peters. Image copyright the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (UK)

 Near the Cathedral but both demolished some years ago are St Michaels and St Peters.

 

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                           St Albans and St Helens. Image copyright the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (UK)

 St Albans houses the Maggs Day Centre, providing a refuge for Worcester’s homeless. St Helens for many years contained part of the County and Diocesan Record Office and but is now again a place of worship.

 

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                                    St Andrews. Image copyright the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (UK)

 The spire of St Andrews, nicknamed the Glover’s Needle, remains a very familiar landmark to those who know Worcester but the church of which it was part was demolished in the last century.

 

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                        St Swithuns and All Saints. Copyright the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (UK)

St Swithuns, no longer consecrated, is lovingly preserved by a group of volunteers under the auspices of  The Churches Conservation Trust. All Saints stands in a prominent position when entering the City from the west and is a popular and active church.

 

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                     St Nicholas and St Martins. Image copyright the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (UK) 

St Nicholas, with its lovely tower, is arguably possibly the church building whose use has changed the most but still appreciated by many as a popular public house. St Martins, now Old St Martins in the Cornmarket, is still a busy place of worship.

 

Julia McCreath

 

 

 

 

 

 

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