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magazine Autumn/Winter 2016

Worcestershire

KING JOHN: WAS HE REALLY THAT NASTY?

And how he ended up in Worcester Cathedral

Walking and talking with actor

EDWARD BENNETT THE BROMSGROVE RAIL ACCIDENT

CRUISE

Fred. Olsen’s perfect winter getaways

REVEALED

Shakespeare’s marriage puzzles

The 1840 explosion with tragic consequences

WWII: the RAF’s

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Autumn/Winter 2016

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£3.25

defence of county skies

PLUS . . .

The Archers celebrates 65 years | Architect Frederick Gibberd’s county school design | Worcester’s two medical museums | The history of hops | Are you prepared . . . for the what ifs? | The future of farming | The Worcester Warriors’ story and lots more . . .


Be transported back to the start of manufacturing in 1751 and learn about the workers, famous customers and a world class industry. Skilled craftsmen regularly work in the galleries and special talks, demonstrations and refreshment packages are available for groups. The Museum Shop sells vintage, antique and the largest range of new Royal Worcester in the City.

Open Monday to Saturday November to February: 10 am – 4 pm March to October: 10 am – 5 pm

Severn Street, Worcester WR1 2ND T 01905 21247 www.museumofroyalworcester.org

‘Royal Worcester’ and the C51 crown device are registered by and used under kind permission from Portmeirion Group UK Ltd to whom all rights are reserved.


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Worcestershire

Features Editor Gerald Heys MA Media Executive Jenny Walsh Editorial Contributors Neville Billington Dr Johnny Birks BSc PhD MCIEEM Scott Cammish Robin Jackson Elaine Lewis Michele Longari Emma Lucia Caroline Palethorpe Dan Wild Stuart Wilkes Martyn Wilson Client Accounts Lissie Goble Accounts Katherine Baines BA (Hons) FCCA WR magazine

Wyche Innovation Centre Walwyn Road Upper Colwall Malvern WR13 6PL worcestershire@wrmagazine.uk www.wrmagazine.uk

ISSN 2059-2965 WR magazine is published by International Business Press Ltd. Articles and other material appearing in this magazine may be reproduced only with the express written permission from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed in the articles herein are those of the authors concerned and are not endorsed by the publisher. While every care has been taken during the production process, the publisher does not accept any liability for errors that may have occurred, nor for the views expressed. © International Business Press Ltd. 2016

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contents

Autumn/Winter 2016

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Image: Dave Webb

Production Director Pippa Sanderson BA (Hons)

Image: Manuel Harlan

Publisher Peter Smith

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8 MUCH ADO ABOUT

WORCESTERSHIRE

Edward Bennett walks and talks with theatre director, Emma Lucia.

10 ALL OUR YESTERDAYS

The puzzles surrounding Shakespeare’s marriage are revealed.

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12 JUST AN

EVERYDAY STORY . . .

As it celebrates it 65th birthday, we uncover The Archers’ roots, which most likely lie somewhere in Worcestershire.

20 THE BROMSGROVE

14 THE SONG OF

The story of the infamous explosion in

THE SOMME

RAIL ACCIDENT

November 1840 that saw the death of

Composer Ian Venables on the marriage of words and music, the power of Woodbine Willy and the influence of Elgar.

two railwaymen.

16 THE RETURN

THE SKIES OF WORCESTERSHIRE

OF GOD’S WONDERFUL RAILWAY

The relaunch of one of the most redoubtable names in the history of transport: the Great Western Railway.

24 DEFENDING

The RAF bases in Worcestershire during World War II were perfectly placed to train pilots and aircrew. We uncover their history and what remains of them today.

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Nestling at the foot of the Malvern Hills, Malvern Theatres is a major centre for the arts in the West Midlands. Home of the famous Malvern Festivals, founded by Bernard Shaw and Barry Jackson in 1929, the theatre underwent a lottery-funded refurbishment in 1997. Hailed both locally and nationally as a model of artistic and architectural excellence, Malvern Theatres boasts one of the most diverse selection of plays, music, comedy, dance, film and education work to be found under a single roof anywhere in the country.

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contents

Autumn/Winter 2016

30 NATURE’S ENEMY

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32 MAKING MEDICAL HISTORY

Worcester boasts not one but two medical museums, testament to the enduring legacy of one of its most celebrated citizens.

34 A VERY MODERN EDUCATION

Worcestershire once boasted a modern secondary school designed by an architectural pioneer.

36 FULLY CHARGED!

Malvern’s electric vehicle show in September was well attended by manufacturers and enthusiasts keen to explore the possibilities of EV ownership.

38 JAPANESE GHOSTS AND DEMONS

The latest exhibition at Broadway’s Tudor House museum.

39 COSY CALM WINTERIORS

Updating your living rooms to create the perfect winter home fit for hibernation.

Image: RAF Defford Museum

800 years after King John’s death, we look at whether he really was as nasty as everyone assumes, and how he ended up being buried in Worcester Cathedral.

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48 FESTIVE DUNG ON A

64 MAKING GREAT

The story of mistletoe, from Druidic tradition to its long and colourful association with Tenbury Wells.

Power walking is becoming increasingly popular as we understand the importance of health and fitness.

49 RETURN OF A LONG-

66 FABULOUS KNITS

STRIDES

TWIG ANYONE?

LOST FRIEND

Ecologist and author, Dr Johnny Birks, celebrates the return of the polecat.

Wrap up warmly and make a fashion statement with these cosy men’s and women’s jumpers.

50 THE FUTURE

68 RECIPES

OF FARMING

From GPS to cloud-based data services, technology is quietly revolutionising agriculture in a field near you.

Carrot and apricot loaf with orange drizzle, spicy turkey burgers in a brioche bun and roasted vegetable soup. Yum!

70 GREAT AUTUMN/ WINTER WINES

54 BREWING UP A STORM

The history of hops, from ancient Egypt, their introduction into Worcestershire and the occasional riot.

Sommelier Michele Longari’s guidelines to help you decide your choice of seasonal wines.

74 CONCERT

LORD 42 BANISH THE BLUES . . . 58 ARE YOU PREPARED . . . HIGHLIGHTS NELSON’S ROYAL CHOOSE TO CRUISE

Fred. Olsen on why cruising could be the perfect winter tonic for you.

46 PUTTING YOUR GARDEN TO BED

Award-winning garden designer, Martyn Wilson, on how to turn your garden into a winter paradise.

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FOR THE WHAT IFS?

What we need to consider from a legal point of view should we, or our loved ones, become physically or mentally incapable of managing our personal affairs.

WORCESTER CONNECTION

Haydn’s mighty Nelson Mass performed by 150 voices in Worcester Cathedral.

60 WE ARE WARRIORS

From its foundation in 1871, Worcester Warriors’ rugby club has gone from strength to strength.

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WELCOME

V

ery few remain today who remember first-hand the sacrifice given freely by those during World War II and, although Worcestershire was not on the front line, it played a significant role in protecting not just the county, but the country as a whole. The work carried out by the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) at Malvern College is the subject of a future article, but we touch upon its crucial work as we discover the RAF stations based in the county during the war and what remains of them today. In a similar vein, we explore powerful, poignant art songs created from the works of five Great War poets to commemorate those who fought – and died – in World War I. Reaching further back in the county’s history, we look at the life and invaluable medical work of Sir Charles Hastings (1794–1866), a man of many talents who founded the British Medical Association and devoted his professional career to the county. We also get to the truth of Shakespeare’s marriage with the help of archives at The Hive; and find out whether King John (1166–1216) was really as bad as he’s always been portrayed. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, which welcomed more than 90,000 guests on its four ships last year, tells us why cruising away to warmer climes and sunshine – just the thing when outside is cold, dark and dank – could be the perfect winter tonic for us all. And if you need some inspiration for freshening up your home, make your way to our article about inspirational design ideas for your interior decor: we’re thinking warm Scandinavian and Nordic styles to keep those cockles of your heart toasty warm.

Digital subscription or individual issue purchase for PC, Apple and Android: www.magzter.com

Keep well and cosy, and have a great autumn/winter.

COVER PHOTO:

Pippa Sanderson Production Director

Hop kilns in Worcestershire.

Production Director, Pippa Sanderson BA (Hons), oversees all aspects of production, editorial content and design. She is an acclaimed and highly experienced magazine and books editor, and worked for leading Englishlanguage publishers in the Middle East. She has also managed her own UKbased publishing company and has extensive commercial experience.

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Above image: The moody winter Malvern Hills.

Images: Pippa Sanderson

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THE INTERVIEW

“I went to the Principal to ask if I could leave early, half expecting him to say, ‘No, you must complete your training,’ but he said, ‘Of course, that’s the point of this place. To get you work!’”

Image: Freda Griffith

Image: Bee Gilbert

Image: Freda Griffith

The walk & talk with theatre director, Emma Lucia

Much ado about Worcestershire

It is a sunny, cold Sunday when I catch up with county-born actor, Edward Bennett, and his enthusiastic family dogs: Daisy, Brack and Cassie. They take me on a 45-minute circular walk, with delightful views of the countryside close to picturesque Broadway

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dward was born in 1979 in North Littleton, Worcestershire, and he spent some of his formative years at the Royal Grammar School in Worcester. His family still live in the county and, as we walk, we talk about life and art, as well as finding time to stop and admire the views. Emma: Did you enjoy growing up in Worcestershire?

Emma: Having successfully studied for a science degree at Cardiff University, what made you decide to change direction and attend The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)?

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Above left: Walking alongside Stanway Ash Wood. Above: Heading south towards Toddington. Next page: Edward as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing.

Edward: Yes. I grew up in North Littleton until I was 16 and remember being able to roam freely. Having all that countryside around was so important, and I think my imagination was nourished by it as well. I still come home to Broadway often, and Worcestershire and its countryside has proved a tonic, a respite and a sanctuary throughout my life.

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Edward: I’d always wanted to be an actor but my family was wise to make me cautious about having a degree ‘to fall back on’. It proved the right thing, because those three years in Cardiff instilled confidence and patience in me, which meant I got more out of the training opportunities at RADA.

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Emma: You have gone on to have a solid career in the world of classical theatre. I remember first seeing you in Noel Coward’s Hay Fever. Was that one of your first major roles? Edward: Hay Fever was my very first job out of drama school. In fact, I was still at RADA when I got the job. I went to the Principal to ask if I could leave early, half expecting

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Image: Manuel Harlan

him to say, ‘No, you must complete your training,’ but he said, ‘Of course, that’s the point of this place. To get you work!’ It was a wonderful experience and I will never forget my first pay slip, not quite believing that I’d got paid for doing something I loved so much. I’m glad to say that feeling has never really evaporated. Emma: You have had some brilliant parts to play for the Royal Shakespeare Company. I loved the sparkling comedy, Much Ado About Nothing. What have been some of your Stratford highlights so far? Edward: Seeing The Cherry Orchard when I was 14 made me want to be an actor. The countless plays I saw there over the years made me fall in love with the place. I got to be a spear carrier (a walk-on part) when I was 18, which gave me access to all the actors and the whole building. It felt like I was in Narnia! Then I got to play Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Emma: You understudied the role of Hamlet. What went through your mind when the phone call came to say you were needed to replace David Tennant? Edward: The RSC has a brilliantly robust understudy policy so you’re prepared.

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The feelings are mixed when you get the call. First is concern for the actor who is not well and a back problem for David was worrying. Next, you go into a kind of autopilot, which I imagine is shock. I can remember not being able to tie my shoelaces despite thinking I was quite calm. Then it’s about going over as much as you can before curtain up, which wasn’t long as I only had a matter of hours before the show began. There was also a huge knock-on effect for other actors, as I was originally playing Laertes. Rerehearsing the fight scene was odd, as it meant I was basically fighting against myself! It was a fairy tale, but an odd one, as it was never intentionally my role. Your job as an understudy is to facilitate the story and support the performances of the other actors. Emma: Have you ever performed on any of Worcestershire’s stages? Edward: At Malvern a few times. One of my favourite things is to drive to Malvern from Broadway around dusk to see the sun setting over the Malvern Hills, listening to Elgar knowing that I’m doing a show there that evening. Cheesy, I know, but it feels great! Emma: Recently you’ve been in the West End playing alongside Nicole Kidman in Photograph 51. How was that? Edward: It’s very exciting to be in the heart of London in a sold-out show with a wonderful cast. Emma: There’s been no time to talk about your film and TV credits, but I must at least ask about Miranda. Please can you reassure me that Miranda Hart is as lovely in real life as she is on screen? Edward: Rest assured. She’s genuinely the same on and off camera. She and Patricia Hodge were hysterically funny in the make-up room. 

The walk

Use OS Explorer Map OL45: The Cotswolds (North Sheet). Park in the lay-by at 091328. Follow the south-westerly lane that borders Stanway Ash Wood. At the first right-hand turn, a bridleway, head north; as you leave the wood and reach the brow of the hill, you’ll see Broadway Tower in front/ to the right of your view. The first footpath right will take you quickly and directly back to the car but, to retrace Edward Bennett’s walk, you should continue and take the second right-hand footpath. Branch slightly left across the field, down the hill, through a gap in the wall and through new gates onto the lane to Snowshill village. Walking downhill, well before you reach the village, take the first right-hand footpath along a vehicle track. Keeping the barn on your left, use a couple of gates to cut the corner of the field, following a beautiful Cotswold stone wall on your left. A broad grassy fenced path guides you back to your car. A brief glance at the map will show you many loop extensions to this delightful short walk. Edward will next appear . . .

. . . reprising his RSC roles of Benedick, in Much Ado About Nothing (Love’s Labour’s Won) and Berowne in Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket in London from 9 December 2016 until 18 March 2017.

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HERITAGE

All our yesterdays . . .

A year after WR magazine first celebrated The Hive as a library and community centre, a trip by Gerald Heys to investigate the puzzles surrounding Shakespeare’s marriage reveals the extent and excellence of its archive service

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n his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, one of George Orwell’s most insidious contributions to the lexicon of tyranny is the memory hole: a slot in the wall where documents contradicting the official version of events are deposited and incinerated. The constant and casual vaporization of inconvenient historical records allows Big Brother’s state to exercise complete control over past, present and future. Orwell’s vision is extreme, but it doesn’t stretch the imagination much to see that merely neglecting the multiple pieces of paper that punctuate our lives – the press clippings, the photographs, the minutes of the meetings – is to do history a disservice. As for the role archives play, Dr Adrian Gregson, Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service’s Archival Policy and Collections Manager, based at The Hive, puts it succinctly: much of the past, he says, exists as a series of documents. It follows that acquiring, cataloguing, examining and interpreting these documents is essential if we want to make sense of what’s gone before and construct a convincing narrative from them. To collect and preserve is a duty. The material the archive service receives comes from a wide variety of sources, including private individuals, history societies, the church and from landed families. The archive team is in regular receipt of deposits, but would like more local businesses and organisations to be represented in the archives. Adrian stresses, though, that they don’t take artefacts: objects go to the museum. But, he says, they do have some teeth that allegedly came from Waterloo and a Turkish dagger picked up at Gallipoli.

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Among the 12 miles of shelving, and the microfilm and electronic sources, there are journals, directories, local newspapers, thousands of photographs, maps and plans, a searchable database of archaeological sites, and records from the Worcestershire County and District Councils. The public is offered the means to research life stories and social history through census returns; parish registers, with baptisms, marriages and burials; and via wills and probates. The Hive also acts as the records office for the Worcester diocese, with documentation going back to the twelfth century. Moving on to the topic of The Hive’s association with Shakespeare, Adrian puts the recording of marriages into the context of the great political and religious changes of the Reformation. In 1538, after the split from Rome and during the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief minister, ordered that each parish record all births, marriages and burials. With the monarch now head of the church, arrangements such as these laid the foundations of the modern nation state. Two documents in the archive at The Hive relate directly to the marriage of William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway. Remarkably well preserved, they are fascinating to see close to. But they appear to contradict. The marriage bond, dated 28 November 1582, states there was nothing to prevent a marriage taking place between ‘William Shagspere and Anne hathwey of Stratford’. But the entry in the Bishop of Worcester’s register, dated the previous day, says that a licence was granted to William Shakespeare for his marriage to ‘Anne Whateley of Temple Grafton’.

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The ‘Anne Whateley of Temple Grafton’ has, understandably, been the cause of some consternation. Various scholars have speculated that Will Shakespeare changed his mind at the last gasp and gave the mysterious Miss Whateley the elbow to do the decent thing by marrying the pregnant Anne Hathaway; or even that he had his mind changed for him at the end of a pitchfork. Most conclude, however, that the clerk had made an error, proof of which may be that Anne Whateley from Temple Grafton is a name that appears nowhere else on any records. It might also be added that spelling at the time was far from standardised, which could explain ‘Whateley’ for Hathaway. The bond was necessary for a licence to be granted. It cost those posting it – friends of the Hathaway family and, some have said, those with the pitchforks – £40 (a year’s earnings for a yeoman farmer), which would have been forfeit if the validity of the marriage was questioned. The licence allowed William and Anne to marry after only one reading of the banns (a notice usually read out on three successive Sundays in a parish church announcing an intended marriage and giving the opportunity for objections). The seeming haste to get wed that a licence offered them is explained by the fact that Anne was three months pregnant with Susanna, allowing insufficient time for the banns to be read three times between Advent Sunday and the Octave of Epiphany on 13 January, a period when marriages were traditionally not performed. Having said that, a heavily pregnant Anne coming up the aisle in January might have been an embarrassment, but not an aberration: something like a third of marriages at the time featured brides in the family way. This perhaps makes the notion of Shakespeare being dragooned into a shotgun wedding seem a little more fanciful.

These documents are held at the Worcester County Records Office and the images accompanying this article have been reproduced with the kind permission of the Bishop of Worcester. If you have material about your family, business, community group or organisation about Worcestershire, which you think could be of interest and importance for research, then please contact the WAAS Cataloguing Team on 01905 845714 or email: archivecataloguing@ worcestershire.gov.uk likely to be more reliable. For many of the other parishes where their wedding might have taken place, the registers have not survived. Tradition has it, though, that they were married at Worcester’s Old St Martin’s. Intriguingly, the register from Old St Martin’s covering the period does exist and is at The Hive. Examine it closely, however, and you’ll see that the page for the year 1582 has been cut out, leaving only a thin sliver of parchment.

Previous page top: Dr Adrian Gregson. Previous page bottom: The marriage bond between William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway, dated 28 November 1582. Below: The Bishop of

There is no clue as to where or when the page was removed. Perhaps, in a clandestine moment, a Shakespeare artefact hunter took his penknife to it, then tucked it into a secret compartment in his top hat. And now, over a hundred years later, it’s in the humidity-controlled private collection of a Texan oil baron.

Worcester’s register, dated 27 November 1582, which states a licence was granted to William Shakespeare for his marriage to Anne Whateley.

Perhaps. . . . 

Because of the licence entry, the church at Temple Grafton has been suggested as the location of Anne and William’s wedding. But there is no evidence for this. In addition, it was thought by more than one authority that the priest there, John Frith, was a little too attached to the old religion for comfort. And even though the register links Anne to the parish of Temple Grafton, the actual licence with the name of her parish is, like most wedding licences from the period, lost. The bond, a more important document than the register, is

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THE ARTS

Just an everyday story . . . As the world’s longest-running soap marks its 65th birthday with blood, followed by Helen’s harrowing trial, it’s worth remembering that The Archers’ roots most likely lie somewhere in the quiet Worcestershire countryside. Gerald Heys examines the evidence

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t’s a slow burner,’ says Chris Arnot, joint author of The Archers Archives, a comprehensive survey of the show’s first 60 years. ‘For a long time nothing happens, and they’re discussing the state of the slurry and Adam’s plans for greener farming . . .’ when two-and-a-half years of water torture reaches a gory climax over the tuna bake and explodes in the ears of a dumbstruck nation. Moments as frenetic as Helen’s dinnertime attack on evil husband Rob are, of course, hardly new: way back in 1955, Grace Archer was fatally injured when she ran into blazing stables to rescue a horse (picking up 20 million listeners and spoiling ITV’s first night). For the most part, though, the more extreme village goings on are almost decorously unfurled and rarely sprung upon the listener. As Chris Arnot points out, this is something that perhaps the patient Radio 4 audience expects. Emotional high spots in some TV soaps can, in contrast, be more abrupt, slamming into your senses like a runaway meat wagon. Bromsgrove-based Archers scriptwriter, Paul Brodrick, explains that taking its time is an essential part of the series’ modus operandi. That Helen would have a violent snap in response to Rob’s machinations had been in the pipeline, he says, for something like two years. And there are some aspects of the show, its ‘dynastic cycles’ (who is likely to inherit what and when) that,

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even though they may not happen for 20 years, are being thought through now.

Left: Helen Archer and ‘evil husband’ Rob Titchener. Image

Those who produce and write The Archers, Paul says, also know there are some changes that those who tune in simply won’t put up with. ‘A lot of our listeners were a little bit up in arms when they thought at one point that David and Ruth were going to leave Brookfield. A part of me would say that was probably never likely to happen. Because if you did that, you’d be taking the heart out of the programme.’ And alongside such restraints, there are constant nods to the show’s heritage. ‘What we can never forget is this is a programme that’s 65 years old. And it has a history, a very long history, which we as writers are always looking back to . . . and there is that very strong sense that The Archers is rooted in this village in the heart of England. That they’ve always been there. And somehow are probably always going to be there. And that this is, in a traditional sense, Everyman’s England.’

courtesy of the BBC: Pete Dadds. Next page top: Is The Old Bull pub in Inkberrow the prototype for The Bull of Ambridge? Next page bottom: David and Ruth Archer. Image courtesy of the BBC: Gary Moyes.

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‘Make them laugh, make them cry, make them wait.’ Charles Dickens (1812–70)

Because despite the occasional flashes of violence, criminality and skulduggery, there will always be a summer fete, a flower and produce show, and Lynda Snell’s Christmas extravaganza. ‘These are things you can mark on your calendar, and I think that is critically important for the success of the show, regardless of whether there is a stabbing going on at Blossom Hill Cottage.’ Then there’s the question of where the real Ambridge lies, its equivalent location in our parallel universe. ‘This has always been a bone of contention,’ Chris Arnot says. But both he and Paul Brodrick mention the villages of Hanbury and Inkberrow, and hint how Ambridge might somehow be a blend of the two. The Church of St Mary the Virgin in Hanbury and its bells have several times played the role of Ambridge’s St Stephen’s. And in Inkberrow, there’s a place regarded as the inspiration for an even more regular Ambridge institution. Straddling the A422, Inkberrow is, in part at least, the village idyll: the green, the vicarage, the church and, a stroll down from the tidy churchyard, a neatly landscaped pond with attendant ducks. And there’s The Old Bull, the local pub you feel you know before you walk through the door. Inside, there are flagstones, oak beams decorated with hops, and not one blazing fire, but two. The bar is named the Ambridge Bar, and on display there are photos of Phil and

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Jill, Ruth and David, Eddie and Clarrie, et al. When The Archers celebrated 50 years, this is where the pints were pulled and the G&Ts mixed. Julia Elledge remembers that day well; 35 years ago she and her husband were looking for somewhere south of Birmingham to live, and they found a village that took their fancy. They visited the local pub and wondered why it was so familiar. As soon as they realised this was widely thought of as The Archers’ pub, the prototype for The Bull, Inkberrow had to be home. Julia is a fan of the show, but a fan with intimate knowledge: until 1993, she worked on The Archers as an audio supervisor at ‘dear old Pebble Mill’ and loved it. ‘It was a long day. We were in for half-past eight in the morning and finished at half-seven at night. And we did a twoweek lot of episodes in one week. And the cast were absolutely marvellous. It was a great party when you got together.’

Being a stickler for such detail is further evidence of how deeply the radio gallery care about their show and its integrity. And down the years, Julia says, such dedication to The Archers’ cause has not been confined to the listeners. ‘The thing that really sticks in my mind was Chris Giddings, who was Walter Gabriel, coming to work in a wheelchair. And the same with Doris Archer. They were so intent on getting there. Those things stay with you.’ The story is that this half-timbered pub was a favourite of Archers’ creator Godfrey Baseley, who was born in Alvechurch and died in Bromsgrove. God (as he was known, and not just because it was short for Godfrey) certainly wouldn’t have approved of the way everything in the series has gone, but he would surely be pleased that there are, and always will be, Archers at Brookfield. And good company and a pint of Shires to be had at The Bull. 

The sound effect of a lamb being born involved (and involves) a wet towel, a pile of recording tape and a bowl of yogurt. And, Julia adds, for their exacting audience, pre-recorded effects had to be just so. ‘We used to get a lot of correspondence about birdsong. And the vast BBC library of 45s were all labelled with what season it was. But they got the October one wrong, because blackbirds don’t sing in October.’

Emotional high spots in some TV soaps can, in contrast, be more abrupt, slamming into your senses like a runaway meat wagon.”

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THE ARTS

Ian Venables, seated, with the Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Paul Denham. The photograph is of Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy

Image: Andy Burton

(Woodbine Willie).

The Song of the

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Composer Ian Venables talks to Gerald Heys about the marriage of words and music, the simple power of Woodbine Willie and having Elgar breathe down your neck www.wrmagazine.uk


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e should never forget. But how best to remember? Only a few yards from Ian Venables’ home, Gheluvelt Park stands as a proud memorial to the Worcestershire Regiment’s actions in October 1914 (vividly recalled in WR magazine’s Winter 2015 issue by Alan Cowpe). In his programme notes for Through These Pale Cold Days, Ian writes: ‘It was this regiment’s self-sacrifice that prevented the German army from breaking through the allied lines in the early months of the war. . . . So, first and foremost, I wanted to dedicate this new work to their memory.’ Commissioned by the Limoges Trust for the City of Worcester, the song cycle was premiered at the Worcester Royal Grammar School’s Perrins Hall on 30 June, the centenary of the eve of the Battle of the Somme. In its review, the Birmingham Post said, ‘Ian Venables has long enjoyed a deserved reputation as a renowned composer of English song, but in his latest offering he has surpassed even his own amazingly high benchmark.’ That the Perrins Hall was first opened in 1915 makes it an apt place for such a commemorative work: a piece dedicated not only to those who fought at Gheluvelt but also to the 90 former pupils of the school who died between 1914–18, whose names were read out in tribute at the premiere. Ian stresses how grateful he is, particularly to headmaster John Pitt, that the school was able to offer the hall as a venue and for all the support they have given him. Through These Pale Cold Days turns into song five poems from five poets of the Great War: Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, Francis St Vincent Morris, Siegfried Sassoon and Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy. The last of these, the vicar of St Paul’s in Worcester as the War began, volunteered to be a chaplain at the Western Front and won the MC for bravery and the nickname Woodbine Willie for his habit of giving out free cigarettes to injured and dying soldiers. Studdert Kennedy’s grandson was at the premiere and, Ian says, was ‘thrilled and moved by the experience’. Ian adds how ‘If You Forget’ from The Unutterable Beauty (Studdert Kennedy’s collected works) so jumped out at him when he read it that it simply had to be part of the song cycle. Ian – affable and thoughtful, with just a trace of his northern heritage in his voice – explains how words drive his music. ‘I’m always looking for poetry that I can connect with, engage with, resonate with. But with this cycle it was really quite different. The actual poetry itself is so deep, poignant and powerful, and often brutal and uncompromising, that I wasn’t sure I could even engage with the subject matter itself. However, the more I read, I thought to myself, I’m not going to set poetry about the brutality and horrors. And I don’t want to do anything jingoistic; that’s not in my nature. But I thought I could deal with themes that resonate with me, such as loss. I understand what it means to say goodbye to someone you love. . . . And I could deal with love; even death itself. So I was looking for themes that might resonate with a contemporary audience. And that’s why I chose those particular poems.’ Born and educated in Liverpool, Ian studied music with Professor Richard Arnell at Trinity College London and later with Andrew

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Downes, John Mayer and John Joubert at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music. Musical Opinion magazine describes him as ‘Britain’s greatest living composer of art songs’. Art song is a vocal music composition, usually for a single voice with piano accompaniment, written in the classical tradition. But Ian refines that definition: ‘The connection with music is at a very deep level . . . [art song] brings words and music together as a marriage – they kind of live off one another – a symbiotic relationship . . . they end up producing something that’s greater than the sum of their parts. And that’s what’s special about art song; it’s highly condensed, and the emotions are very highly charged.’ His time in Worcestershire has, he believes, contributed to his development as a composer. He emphasises the importance of the landscape: ‘It has become more important in my work as I’ve lived here longer and longer. When I arrived in 1986, the first thing I wrote was a violin piece called Pastorale, sitting up on the Malvern Hills and Elgar breathing down my neck. . . . It’s very Elgarian as a piece of music . . . he’s all around us.’ Further performances of Through These Pale Cold Days have been planned for the forthcoming months, including at Gloucester Cathedral Chapter House and possibly at Ypres. And here we speculate on the limitations of commemoration. How, for example, can we hope to imagine what it was like for the thousands who walked to their deaths on the first day of the Somme? Or, indeed, grasp the feelings of men fighting over that same territory more than a hundred days later? Ian mentions Edward Thomas, another poet of the Great War, who hated the anti-German jingoism of the official propaganda and for a long time was undecided about whether to enlist. However, he did eventually join up. When asked why, he picked up a handful of earth from an English field and let it trickle through his fingers, saying, ‘Literally, for this.’ At this distance, it’s sometimes hard to gauge these men and their motives. But to forget them and what they did seems unforgivable. 

The First Battle of the Somme (1 July–18 November 1916)

After a week-long artillery bombardment, the British infantry went ‘over the top’ at 7.30am on 1 July, but were mown down assaulting the virtually impregnable German positions. There were nearly 60,000 British casualties on the first day, with almost 20,000 dead. The offensive then deteriorated into a battle of attrition. In September, the British introduced their new weapon, the tank, for the first time, but with little effect. October saw torrential rains turn the battlefield into a sea of mud. By mid-November, the Allies had advanced only five miles. The total casualties over the 141 days amounted to roughly 650,000 German, 195,000 French and 420,000 British. The battle became a metaphor for futile and indiscriminate slaughter. However, by launching the offensive, the Allies managed to relieve German pressure on Verdun, and the fighting did much to wear the German army down.

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HERITAGE FICTION

THE RETURN OF GOD’S WONDERFUL RAILWAY If you haven’t boarded a train since last summer, take, say, the 11.06 am from Shrub Hill to Swindon (change at Bristol Parkway) and you might notice that something has changed. First Great Western, the company that ran the line from 1998 to September 2015, now no longer exists. In its place stands one of the most redoubtable names in the history of transport: the Great Western Railway. Gerald Heys reports

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an Panes, head of communication at the new GWR, explains that the rebranding of First Great Western began back in 2011, off the back of market research. While acknowledging that the industry has its detractors, he says that there is still a significant number who simply love travelling by train and have a warm folk memory of the original GWR. ‘We serve some of the most beautiful parts of the UK – Dorset, Weymouth, the Devon

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South Coast, the Cotswolds – and at its essence there are still some parts that tug at the heartstrings, and some of that is in its history.’ He adds that the changes accompanying the rebranding will be gradual but far-reaching. ‘We are undergoing the biggest fleet upgrade in a generation, which includes a brand new fleet of electric-diesel hybrid trains, allowing us to provide more

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THE INTERVIEW

services and more seats. The actual rebranding process will be taking place slowly. The vast majority of our trains won’t exist in their current form by 2018/19.’ There will also be, he says, an investment of around £50 million in stations. In addition, passengers will see the return of Pullman Dining and, with the Riviera Sleeper, a complete rebuilding of its sleeper service. ‘We are seeing a resurgence in rail and more and more people are choosing to holiday at home.’ Asked how the old GWR has influenced the rebranding, Dan says, ‘What’s very clear is that the railway in this region is synonymous with Brunel, and how the pride and the passion he had is synonymous with the Great Western Railway. This was part of the 2012 franchisebidding process.’

Look him in the eye, the short chap with the stovepipe hat, the cigar clamped between his jaws. Every photograph of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, especially that one where he stands, hands in pockets, against the massive launching chains of the SS Great Eastern, is of a man who radiates confidence like heat from a firebox. Such was his reputation, the Bristol merchants who founded the GWR made him its engineer when he

The relaunch of GWR: locomotives with the new logo and livery.

So, what of the original GWR and that man Brunel? How did it capture the public’s imagination? Take that train to Swindon to the Steam museum and you can relive some of the glory.

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Standing between two great locomotive wheels and opposite the gleaming brass of a GWR fire engine, IKB surveys the foyer of Swindon’s Steam museum. Steam seems the perfect single name to celebrate the GWR: to stand on a station platform as a steam express thunders through is an unforgettable thrill; a whoosh of steam is

Image: Mary Evans Picture Library 2008

was only 29 years old. The money men wanted to maintain Bristol’s status as the country’s second port by building a railway to the nation’s capital. Brunel’s ambition was, as always, far grander: to link, by rail and steamship, London via Bristol to New York City.

redolent of stations strung with bunting and platforms lined with children waving flags. Recently, the Flying Scotsman, former star of British Empire exhibitions, has, after a £4.2 million refurbishment, returned for a sell-out tour of the nation. Swindon’s Steam museum not only puts you in touch with the sights, sounds and – yes – smells of the golden days of GWR, but if you contact it before your visit, you can have access to its extensive archive maintained by the permanent staff and a platoon of dedicated volunteers. The museum’s foundry, locomotives, driver’s footplate, chocolateand-cream painted seaside stations and hands-on signal boxes recapture a tangible past. The thoughts and deeds of those who ran and worked on the GWR can, however, only be found in detail in its archives, which also put you in touch with the days of Railway Mania, the frantic boom and bust that saw the launching of a myriad of lines and schemes, making overnight millionaires of some and reducing others to penury. It was, after all, a revolution. And no revolution is dull or without casualties.

Top left: The OWWR prospectus. Top middle: The solicitor’s clerk’s letter about OWWR’s bankruptcy. Top right: Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Left: A mannequin of Brunel at the museum. Next page top: In 1932, a Castle Class locomotive became

Image: STEAM museum of the GWR, Swindon.

We fondly imagine that we live in an age of profound technological change, but the Victorians experienced alterations vastly more bewildering. The end of coaching, for example, was as sudden and shrill as a whistle in the dark. In 1840, with the GWR only two years in operation, the Bath and Cheltenham Gazette reported that innkeepers

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the fastest train in the world. Next page bottom: A new GWR train being put through its paces.

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HERITAGE

between Bath and Reading were ‘starving’, and that the value of tavern property had been reduced by between 60–80 per cent. In one week, the Gazette told its readers, the maximum number who could be carried by coach between Bath and Bristol was 4,560; the trains could, even in those early days, take four times that figure. And how did the Worcestershire railways slot into the GWR puzzle? The 1844 share prospectus of the Oxford, Wolverhampton and Worcester Railway (the OWWR) placed alongside a handwritten note from a solicitor’s clerk from 1852 bookends the period: in Dickensian syntax, the solicitor regrets to inform of the OWWR’s bankruptcy. A precariously financed and at times dangerous enterprise, the OWWR was known at large as the Old Worse and Worse. In 1863, it was subsumed by the GWR, which, conveniently, already had connections at either end of the OWWR line.

money. A group of some 2,000 navvies under Brunel’s command – in effect, a private army – assembled to finish the job, squaring up to Marchant’s unpaid men. The Riot Act was read and, later, plenty of bones broken. Brunel, of course, carried the day. And, you suspect, had a rare old time of it. GWR Mark II may lift some spirits. Its rolling stock, for example, cuts an undeniable dash. But, for the travelling public in recent years, the railways, a source of so much past pride, have been, to put it mildly, a disappointment. Maybe we should wait and see what GWR comes up with; give it a chance. Meanwhile, we might raise a cheer or two to see such a grand old name back on track. 

And another choice item from the archive: a series of Brunel’s own documents referring to the Mickleton Tunnel, where a dispute over construction escalated into what Berrow’s Worcester Journal called ‘the Mickleton riot’ but was more like open warfare. Brunel decided that the contractor working on the tunnel, one Robert Marchant, was too sluggish, and cut off his

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HERITAGE

Left: The newly restored and erected grave stones in 2014. Below: An illustration of the Surprise before the fatal explosion. Next page: A report of the accident in Berrow’s Worcester Journal on Wednesday 11 Image: Dave Webb

November 1840.

The Bromsgrove

rail accident

Illustration: Robin Barnes

Author Neville Billington recounts the story of the infamous explosion in November 1840 that saw two railwaymen lose their lives

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A

t 1750hrs on Tuesday 10 November 1840, at Bromsgrove Station, a tragedy occurred that we may, today, regard as symptomatic of the embryonic stage of mechanical engineering in the early 1840s. The accident may also be regarded as a milestone event that led to the foundation of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in January 1847, ‘to give an impulse to inventions likely to be useful to the world’. The Directors of the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway Company (B&G) received a proposition from one Samuel Aspinall Goddard of Birmingham that a locomotive he had built, designed by American inventor Dr William Church and named Surprise, should undergo a month’s evaluation on the B&G lines. The engine was, by this time, around three years old and had been used on other railway lines, first as a ballast engine and then as a luggage engine before standing in the open for several months in Birmingham. William Creuze, Superintendent for the Locomotives Department, was tasked with examining the locomotive and, along with Joseph Rutherford, a foreman in the engine house, he went to Mr Goddard’s yard and made an initial appraisal following which the locomotive was brought to Bromsgrove by John Henshaw, an employee of Goddard. The locomotive was given an uneventful seven mile test run and then parked over an ash pit at Bromsgrove Station. Several people were on board, including Joseph Rutherford, Thomas Scaife, a banking engine driver; Thomas Luke, Creuze’s call clerk; Henshaw and others. Suddenly, the boiler of the engine exploded with great violence. Scaife was killed instantly while Rutherford was blown through the brass rails of the footplate, these breaking under the force. Henshaw was blown over the rails and survived, as did all the others except Rutherford, who died some hours later. A draughtsman with the company, GD Bishopp, was in an office at the station when he heard the explosion and ran outside. At the inquest, on 12 November, Bishopp had the harrowing task of explaining to the court the full horror he had witnessed and especially the gruesome state of Scaife’s remains. (Within a year, Bishopp was working closely with locomotive engineer, James McConnell, and we can assume he told him how appalling the accident had been. McConnell aspired to improve standards in

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Suddenly, the boiler of the engine exploded with great violence. Scaife was killed instantly while Rutherford was blown through the brass rails of the footplate, these breaking under the force.”

railway engineering and, meeting with renowned ‘Father of the Railways’ George Stephenson and others at Bromsgrove Station in 1846, the idea to found an institution was born). The coroner was Mr Ralph Docker and his court was convened in Rigby Hall, the home of the Foreman of the Jury, a man named George Ellins. The court later moved to the Dragoon public house where the jury had the macabre task of examining the fragmented remains of Thomas Scaife which, almost unbelievably, had been laid out on a table. The jurors then examined Rutherford’s body in his company cottage. Rutherford had been carried there immediately after the accident where a surgeon, George Horton, administered rum, but it was a forlorn gesture and Rutherford died the same day leaving a wife and three children. Scaife was unmarried. After the visit to Rutherford’s cottage, the jury returned to the Dragoon where the inquest continued. However, perhaps to give a change of environment, given the stressful way in which it had been felt necessary to display Scaife’s remains in the Dragoon, the coroner decided to move his court yet again. The venue this time would be the Cross Hotel in Bromsgrove’s High Street. Although the jury seems to have identified with reasonable accuracy the cause of the explosion, they failed dismally to address a strong contributory factor. They also had good reason to conclude that, perhaps surprisingly, the engine had generally been very well made. The general design of the locomotive was

The Bromsgrove Society

This article is an extract from one written by Neville Billington for The Bromsgrove Rousler, which is the annual local history magazine published by The Bromsgrove Society. The society has also published a number of books about Bromsgrove, including the Bygone Bromsgrove series and a History of The Bromsgrove Guild, the organisation that made the magnificent Buckingham Palace gates. These and many other books about Bromsgrove and nearby can be obtained by contacting John Weston on: 01527 873483. Details about The Bromsgrove Society, including membership and dates of future local history meetings, can be obtained at: ▷ www.bsoc.co.uk

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The Moment of Explosion, by Mike Kedian, 2013. John Henshaw and a colleague being thrown clear. The wrench crashed through the station roof.

unconventional with the controls being ‘forward’, very similar to the arrangement on another of Church’s inventions, his steam road coach. The boiler consisted of an inner and outer tube with water in between. Dr Church said he ‘thought’ he instructed the boilermaker to construct the walls of the inner tube three eighths of an inch thick (though later declared to the court he should have said ‘a quarter of an inch’). The explosion seems to have been due to intense fire upon the plate of the inner tube which catastrophically failed. The gap between the two tubes was only one and a half inches at the point of failure and the recovered fragments showed they had a wall thickness of only three sixteenths of an inch. This alarming lack of wall thickness was partially attributed to corrosion caused by the engine standing idle in Birmingham for so long. That was not all, however. There was evidence of sand, assorted washers and other items, including tools, having been left inside the boiler, evidence for the latter arriving in spectacular fashion by a wrench being blown sky-high in the explosion. The presence of sand was discussed. William Creuze was sceptical there would have been any but this contrasted with evidence by John Henshaw. Replying to a question by the coroner, Henshaw is reported by the Worcester Herald to have said that when he picked himself up after the explosion, he was ‘completely smothered in sand as well as water – trousers, coat and even my hair was covered with it’. Henshaw’s evidence was telling as there is strong evidence that sand, from the local soil, was infiltrating the water supply at Bromsgrove Station, causing particular difficulty with the

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banking engines. Unfortunately, the jury foreman, Ellins, and the coroner, Mr Docker, seem to have steered the jury away from any conclusion that would have been embarrassing for B&G. The strong possibility of sand in the water system being a contributory factor should have been highlighted in the coroner’s findings but Docker simply returned a verdict of Accidental Death and imposed a deodand of £60 on the locomotive. (A deodand was the term given to an object that had contributed to the death of someone and was believed to share the guilt of the death. The value of the object was forfeit to the Crown and was then applied for charitable purposes.) Meanwhile the grief felt by the families left behind by the two railwaymen had to be borne and much compassion was shown by the local railway community towards Rutherford’s widow and her children. A joint funeral for the two men was held on the Sunday after the accident in St John’s Church in Bromsgrove. The ecclesiastical historian GK Stanton, writing within living memory of the tragedy, tells us the church was packed for the occasion. The service was conducted by the Rev GA Jacob DD, Head Master of the Grammar School who, Stanton assures us, ‘preached a most impressive extempore sermon.’ The widow of Joseph Rutherford, ‘late Engineer to the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway Company’, erected a stone over his grave in 1841. A gravestone revering Scaife was paid for by his fellow workmen and was put in place in 1842. The gravestones underwent a major restoration in 2013 and today, for the people of Bromsgrove and further afield, they provide a memento that is both melancholy and historic. 

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Lancaster Bomber Taxy Ride Experience

Experience the vibrations, smells, sound and atmosphere of a real Lancaster Bomber operating on an authentic Bomber Command airfield.

Lancaster Bomber Taxy Rides . . . the ultimate World War II aviation experience at the largest Bomber Command museum in the world The only chance in Europe to ride inside a Lancaster Bomber. The sound of the four Merlin engines will have a profound effect on anyone with an interest in WWII. Ride in one of several positions, including: • • • • •

Rear Turret Middle Turret Radio Operator’s seat Navigator’s seat Cockpit and Bomb aimer’s position

The whole experience lasts for approximately an hour, with the taxy run itself lasting around 15 minutes; and each guest takes home a certificate signed by the pilot.

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Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre East Kirkby, Spilsby Lincolnshire PE23 4DE 01790 763207

www.lincsaviation.co.uk

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Image: RAF Defford Museum

HERITAGE

Defending the skies of

WORCESTERSHIRE

At the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, the Air Ministry understood the need to expand its airfield programme and it wasn’t long before it turned its attention to Worcestershire which, although too far inland to act on the front line, was perfectly placed for training pilots and aircrew. Pippa Sanderson goes full throttle to find out more and uncover what remains of Worcestershire’s RAF today

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RAF Pershore

Worcestershire Flying School, flying Tiger Moths from a grass field at Pershore Airfield (known locally as Tilesford), was managed by RJ Bunning between 1934–39. In 1940, however, the Air Ministry requisitioned the airfield and moved in to create RAF Pershore, which included the construction of three runways forming an ‘A’ pattern: runway one of 2,000 yards (1,829 metres), bisected by Long Lane; runway two of 1,510 yards (1,381 metres) and runway three of 1,405 yards (1,285 metres). Four T2 hangars and one J-type hangar, along with the Control Tower (or Watch Office), were also built, as well as four hexagonal brick and concrete pillboxes around the perimeter. Housing light machine guns and rifles, they were designed to protect the base from land attack. Construction work attracted attention from Germany’s Luftwaffe; in fact a high-flying reconnaissance photograph of the construction site was found in a disused building close to Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in northern Germany in 1945. As a result, the area was bombed three times by the Luftwaffe: on 11 September 1940, 12 October and on 22 November, the nearest strike was just a quarter of a mile from the site. Operational by 1941, RAF Pershore was initially home to No 23 Operational Training Unit (OTU), training Canadian aviators in Vickers Wellington bombers until 1944. Together with other training units, the OTU participated in several leaflet-dropping exercises over France, along with raids over Germany, including those at Essen, Bremen and Dusseldorf. Unfortunately, like the majority of OTUs, there was a very

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Image: RAF Defford Museum

high accident rate at Pershore; the large Canadian War Graves section in Pershore Cemetery is a poignant reminder of the airmen’s bravery and sacrifice. Between 1944–48, the airfield became home to No 1 Ferry Unit, the purpose of which was to ‘ferry’ aircraft from factory to front line operational units overseas. It was then used for RAF Police training until 1952, when No 10 Advanced Flying Training School took over until 1954 to train pilots and aircrew in Airspeed Oxfords. The Radar Research Flying Unit (RRFU), which trialled various radar test-bed aircraft, used the base between 1957–76. During the 1960s, Pershore also acted as a dispersal airfield for Vulcan bombers, carrying the UK’s nuclear deterrent. The airfield officially closed in 1977. The one-time base is now owned by QinetiQ (formerly known as the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency until 2001) and is used as a business park and trials centre. The annual Throckmorton Air Show ran at Pershore from 2010–15, but was cancelled in 2016 because of spiralling insurance costs and new Civil Aviation Authority conditions.

RAF Defford

Much of the land required for RAF Defford was requisitioned from the Croome Estate in 1940. The station’s technical area and domestic sites were built on the eastern part of Croome Park, complete with huts, hangars and aircraft hardstandings among the trees. (Croome Court was the ancestral home of the Earls of Coventry but the 10th Earl was killed while serving with

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the Worcestershire Regiment during the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940.) The laying of the runways extended across Defford Common and necessitated the closure of a public road. Constructed in an ‘A’ pattern, the longest runway was 2,000 yards (1,829 metres) in length, with the two shorter runways being both 1,400 yards (1,280 metres) long. Various communal and domestic sites, including the Station Sick Quarters (now used by the National Trust as visitor facilities), were clustered around Croome Court. When construction was completed in September 1941, Defford opened as a satellite station to No 23 OTU (Pershore) and its Vickers Wellington bombers. Then, in May 1942, RAF Defford became the main station in Britain for the development of airborne radar during and after World War II. The airfield was used by the Telecommunications Flying Unit (TFU), later called the RRFU, carrying out flight trials for the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE), which had moved from Worth Matravers to Malvern College

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Previous page top: Aerial photograph of RAF Pershore. Previous page bottom: The RAF ensign. Middle: RAF Defford with the Malvern Hills in the background. Above: The German aerial photograph of RAF Pershore found by a Mr Marshall when printing works near Belsen were liberated in 1945. Presented by Dr W Parsons to Pershore Branch RAFA in February 1978. Image courtesy of Pershore Heritage Centre.

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Did you know . . . ?

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n 2001, the site at RAF Pershore was used as a mass burial ground for more than 100,000 cattle affected by foot and mouth disease. As the burial pits were being dug, intensive archaeological investigations were carried out by a team from Worcestershire County Council. Channel 4’s Time Team visited the site and geophysical surveys conducted were most revealing. Watch the episode here:

▷ www.channel4.com/programmes/time-team/ondemand/32389-009.

‘RAF Pershore provided the focus for some archaeological exploration of an unexpected and unusual kind between 2001–2 when part of the disused airfield was identified as one of the emergency burial sites for animals that had to be slaughtered during the Foot and Mouth outbreak. Maps from before the airfield was constructed showed a field known as ‘Blackpits’, and fields with such names have often been found to contain remains of archaeological sites, their soil having been blackened by the charcoal and rubbish from long abandoned settlements. ‘As a result, following a rapidly set-up meeting, archaeologists from Worcestershire County Council mounted a watching brief to monitor the excavation of the burial pits. This was one of the most challenging sites imaginable as clearly it wasn’t possible for the team to hold progress up given the national emergency unfolding but, at the same time, we quickly realised that significant remains of an Iron Age and RomanoBritish farmstead were present. As a result, the archaeological team operated two shifts a day, enabling them to work throughout daylight hours alongside the numerous machines digging out the burial pits adjacent to one of the former runways. All of this was undertaken dressed in protective overalls, while carcasses were constantly being delivered and dumped into the prepared pits; however, our team managed to rapidly investigate and record the well-preserved remains of an extensive farmstead or small hamlet dating from the first century BC through to the late fourth century AD. ‘Our team also carried out much of the detailed surveying of the burial pits on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF), while a rapidly commissioned geophysical survey revealed remains of a further and possibly earlier settlement on the other side of the runway. As a result of these discoveries, Channel 4’s Time Team was invited to spend three days making a programme, with the aim of helping local archaeologists further understand the site. The Time Team trenches and more geophysical surveys revealed that across the runway from the burial pits were the well-preserved remains of Middle Iron Age roundhouses occupying rectangular ditched and banked enclosures. These dated from the mid third century to mid first century BC and, together with the discoveries made during the digging of the burial pits, showed that a large farm or small hamlet was present at this location for more than 600 years. The people living here appear to have made a living from pastoral farming, with sheep the main livestock during the Iron Age but, later on, in the Roman period, there was a shift to keeping cattle and horses.’ Robin Jackson, Senior Project Manager, Worcestershire Archaeology

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in May 1942. At the height of the war, 100 aircraft and more than 2,500 servicemen and women were stationed in buildings – and tents – in and around the park. Some of the buildings survive and have been restored by the National Trust. The experiments and developments carried out at Defford were of great historic significance, for they played a vital part in helping the Allies win the war, and paved the way for many electronic applications that we now take for granted. There were several ‘firsts’ at RAF Defford, including automatic aircraft approach and landing, which took place for the first time in 1945. Without a doubt, the war’s outcome was influenced by TRE’s H2S radar, which enabled Bomber Command to locate its targets, and Air-to-Surface Vessel radar, which gave Coastal Command the means to seek and destroy U-boats in the North Atlantic. The airfield closed in 1957, after it was decided the runways were too short for large jet bombers, and the flying unit made the short move to Pershore airfield, formerly used by the RAF for training. However, Defford then provided a base for radio astronomy, an activity that has continued to the present day.

RAF Comberton

Located close to the village of Wick, near Pershore, but named Comberton (the next closest village) to avoid confusion with the station of the same name in Scotland, RAF Comberton saw action as a GCI (Ground Controlled Interception) radar station,

The RAF Defford Museum

Plans were put in place to start building work in early Spring 2014 at RAF Defford in Croome Park to accommodate the RAF Defford Museum. The main building of the museum, in the meticulously restored RAF building that housed the Decontamination Annexe of the Station Sick Quarters during World War II, opened to the public in September 2014. A second building, the former Ambulance Garage, has been restored and preserved thanks to the generosity of a private donor, and opened to visitors in February 2016. This building houses the preserved forward fuselage of a Canberra jet bomber, which was in use at Pershore following the arrival of the RRFU after Defford closed for flying in 1957. The museum and Canberra exhibit tell the fascinating story of RAF Defford during World War II and the Cold War years, and its vital role in the flight testing of secret radar systems devised by scientists at the TRE in Malvern. It describes the part played by the station in the social history of rural Worcestershire and the way in which the construction of the airfield dramatically changed the landscape of Croome Park, now owned by the National Trust. See ▷ www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ croome/features/raf-defford for more information. The Defford Airfield Heritage Group (DAHG) seeks to record, research and preserve the history of Defford Airfield, working in partnership with the RAF Defford Reunion Association, which formally merged with DAHG in September 2011. DAHG works in support of the Friends of Croome Park and the National Trust. See ▷ deffordairfieldheritagegroup. wordpress.com for more information.

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Image: RAF Defford Museum

Image: RAF Defford Museum

HERITAGE Training School (EFTS) was based at the grass airfield with its portable, arched blister hangars between 27 October 1940 and 9 July 1945, flying Tiger Moths and taking receipt of the somewhat fragile, noisy, hedge-hopping Fairey Battle fighter bombers, built 20 miles away at Longbridge’s Austin Motors. It was said that if the aircraft being tested made the flight in one piece, it passed the test!

Top: RAF Defford’s Control Tower. Middle: An aerial view of RAF Defford in 1943. Bottom: Brick base remains of radar scanners at RAF Comberton today.

Larger, sometimes bullet-riddled, aircraft used the ‘Lavatory Emergency’ grass airfield, on occasion crash landing, sometimes fatally, to a standstill on the road or becoming submerged in the large fish pond adjacent to Perdiswell Hall. One such landing in September 1942 contained Hollywood movie star and co-pilot Clark Gable (who, although official records placed him in the US, was accompanying a film crew in the making of a gunnery training film in Worcestershire), travelling on board a Douglas Dakota transport plane called Idiot’s Delight, which was flying from RAF Pershore and crash-landed through the railings onto the Bilford Road and then into Worcester’s rubbish dump. In 1945, the RAF relinquished the airfield to the city council and, until 1947, the barrack buildings were employed to house German prisoners of war (PoWs).

one of five inland bases dating to early 1941, whose primary role was to supply radar coverage of inland Britain, and detect, locate and track enemy aircraft.

Post-war, RAF Comberton became a ROTOR station, an air defence radar system set up to counter the emerging threat from the Soviet Union.

RAF Worcester

The site, now occupied by Perdiswell Park and Ravenmeadow Golf Course on the northern fringes of Worcester, had been at the forefront of aviation as the world’s first Municipal Airport in the 1920s. Requisitioned in 1939, No 2 Elementary Flying

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Image: Pippa Sanderson

It initially served as a Transportable station (reporting to Ternhill Fighter Sector), with operators in trucks or temporary accommodation operating transmitter and receiver aerial arrays seated on gantries some 220 feet (67 metres) apart. Then, in May 1943, it was upgraded to a Final GCI station complete with operations block, ancillary buildings, guard hut and AMES (Air Ministry Experimental Station) Final Type 7 GCI Fixed radar, which was made up of a single rotating aerial array, underneath which sat transmitter equipment in what was known as a well. As well as being long range, this radar was able to track several enemy aircraft at once.

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aerial photograph dates to 24 October 1942. Hedgerows once criss-crossed the airfield (between the red lines) but had been removed. Instead, lines of bitumen were painted on the ground where they once stood to fool the Luftwaffe. The below images show the Watch Office (left) and cookhouse (right) today and their locations on the

Image: Pippa Sanderson

This airfield, also known as Pendock Moor, was operational between 1941 and May 1945. Used by the RAF as a Satellite Landing Ground (SLG), it consisted of a grass airstrip and accompanying buildings, all of which were designed to be inconspicuous from enemy eyes in the sky by clever use of topography. In addition, to the north-west of the airfield, ‘hides’ were constructed from an overhead web of steel cables and 20 foot poles, similar to those seen in hop fields, topped with a covering of wire wool that was painted green for camouflage and, under which, aircraft were secreted before being delivered to their squadrons. The airfield provided extra storage for several RAF maintenance units, including No 5 Maintenance Unit from RAF Kemble (now Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire) in 1941, No 20 Maintenance Unit from RAF Aston Down (in Gloucestershire) between 1941–42

Image: Pippa Sanderson

aerial photograph.

RAF Berrow

and No 38 Maintenance Unit from RAF Llandow in South Wales from August 1942. Nearby, a GCI (Ground Controlled Interception) radar station was operated by Malvern’s TRE (Telecommunications Research Establishment) and some associated aircraft were permitted to land at Berrow, albeit within narrow time limits.

RAF Honeybourne

This base, sitting 4.6 miles east of Evesham on the Worcestershire/ Gloucestershire border, was in operation between 1941–46. Home to No 24 Operations Training Unit (OTU), which trained Canadian aircrew to fly Vickers Wellington bombers and Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys, it undertook bombing raids and leaflet-dropping exercises. The station consisted of three runways forming an ‘A’ pattern; a J-type hangar and four T2s; and temporary and permanent buildings to accommodate 382 women and 1,973 men as of 1 December 1944. Five Oakington pillboxes situated round the airfield’s perimeter defended the station from ground attack.

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Image: RAF Defford Museum

RAF Berrow. The

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The Ferry Training Unit was based at RAF Honeybourne between November 1941–March 1942, flying Lockheed Hudsons and Bristol Beauforts; and No 1425 (Communication) Flight flew Liberators from the airfield between November 1941–April 1942. On 2 June 1943, a Whitley bomber plane crashed less than 180 metres from Broadway Tower due to poor visibility while carrying out a non-operational training flight. The crew from RAF Honeybourne were all killed. From August 1945, RAF Honeybourne played temporary host to No 21 OTU and its Vickers Wellington bombers for a couple of months as the runways at its home at RAF Enstone near Oxford were being repaired. After which, it was used by No 107 Sub Storage Unit from No 8 Maintenance Unit to store aircraft prior to their decommissioning. Closing in 1947, much of the airfield has reverted back to farm land. The concrete runways were removed in 1968 but several buildings (many of which are well preserved) and the hangars are now part of Honeybourne Airfield Trading Estate.

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HERITAGE

Special thanks to Dr Dennis Williams, Curator at the RAF Defford Museum, for his help in ensuring this article is as accurate as possible.

Honeybourne images: Pippa Sanderson

of Birmingham, Coventry and part of the Black Country from aerial attack.

Gatehouse. Top right: Honeybourne’s J-type aircraft hangar, still with its original WWII doors. Above left: Derelict buildings in front of the J-type hangar at Honeybourne. Above right: RAF Honeybourne’s Control Tower, now a private residence, which seems to have changed little since the war, apart from the ubiquitous satellite dish. Right: RAF Wythall, viewed from the church tower in Chapel Lane. It shows the base extending over the area now occupied by The Transport Museum and The Caravan Club.

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RAF Hartlebury

RAF Wythall’s territory spanned some 600 square miles and at least one of its balloons found its mark by halting the progress of an enemy aircraft: a Heinkel He111P bomber on 9 April 1941, which had flown in from northern France. At the end of the war, the station became No 105 Personnel Despatch Centre (WAAF) Wythall, a

Another Worcestershire RAF station used by RAF maintenance units was at Hartlebury near Kidderminster. No 25 Maintenance Unit was based there from 1938 until well after the end of World War II and, in 1977, it became Hartlebury Trading Estate. The majority of personnel were civilians and the station stored almost everything required by the RAF for distribution throughout the country and overseas, including medical supplies, Spitfire spare parts and fighter engines. Nissen huts, halfcylindrical prefabricated buildings constructed from corrugated steel, and other buildings, such as a canteen and offices, were spread over a large area; there was also a football pitch.

RAF Wythall

The War Office requisitioned 105 acres of land belonging to Yew Tree Farm in Wythall in 1939 to construct what would become RAF Wythall, located just 10 miles from Bromsgrove in the north-east of the county. Shortly afterwards, the station became operational as the home of No 6 Barrage Balloon Centre, responsible for numbers 914, 915 and 916 squadrons, the aim of which was to defend the southern flanks

Image: The Transport Museum collection

Top left: RAF Honeybourne’s

Barrage balloons, or ‘blimps’, as they were known, were vast 60-foot-long hydrogen-filled balloons that were tethered to terra firma by metal cables, whose principal aim was to disable enemy aircraft and thwart the Luftwaffe’s dive bombing attempts over Britain’s major cities. As an airborne obstruction, enemy aircraft either flew into them or were forced to fly higher and into the sights of anti-aircraft fire.

‘demob’ centre for servicewomen; after which, it served as the headquarters for No 90 Signals Group between 1951–59. During that time, the Radar Navigation Aids Wing was accommodated there from April 1952 to February 1953, and between 1952–57, RAF Wythall became part of the Joint Services School For Linguists, which trained interpreters and translators in several languages, including Chinese, Russian, Polish, Czech and German. The Longbridge-based Austin Motor Company rented the station’s main hangar from 1956, in which supplies of the new Mini were stored. In December 1959, however, RAF Wythall became non-operational and was auctioned off in the 1960s. Parts of the site are now home to The Caravan Club of Great Britain and The Transport Museum, which boasts collections of vintage buses, battery-electric vehicles, those most often used by milkmen; and a miniature steam railway. See ▷ www.wythall.org.uk for more information. 

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HERITAGE

‘Nature’s Image: Georgios Kollidas – Fotolia

enemy’

800 years after King John’s death, we look at whether he really was as nasty as everyone assumes, and how he ended up being buried in Worcester Cathedral WORDS: GERALD HEYS

D

uring one of the family squabbles in The Lion in Winter, the future Richard I (Anthony Hopkins) tells Henry II (Peter O’Toole) that he doesn’t care about his plans for succession: he’ll take the crown and the land no matter what and, pointing at his brother John (Nigel Terry), refuse to do any deals with ‘that walking pustule’. Such harsh words could, of course, be just Hollywood embellishment, but according to Marc Morris, author of King John: Treachery, Tyranny and the Road to Magna Carta, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that this fictional Richard’s estimation of his real brother’s worth was spot on. As king, John was a disaster. He began his reign with a dominion that stretched from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees but lost almost all of his continental possessions to the French. Then, his increasingly tyrannical ways at home led to his barons forcing him to seal the Magna Carta to curtail the power he abused. And when he wouldn’t go along with its provisions, he died fighting a bitter civil war. But a bad man? A man worse than the rather grisly standards of his time? Marc Morris says yes. And you can count the ways.

infamous example being Maud de Braose and her son, locked up and left to die in Corfe Castle. Marc explains how this lay beyond even the medieval pale: ‘In this period, if you were captured, you expected to be imprisoned, and perhaps ransomed, but certainly not murdered. It seems what he’s trying to do is put psychological pressure on the relatives of the people he’s captured by saying your son or your nephew is not being fed until you submit. . . . It’s almost impossible to find an example of any other medieval monarch doing that.’ Also, there’s the issue of John’s cowardice. ‘It’s one thing to be brutal and effective, but when push comes to shove, he runs away. On about half a dozen occasions in his career where it’s critical for him to stand his ground, he doesn’t. With Richard, even his Muslim enemies acknowledge his prowess [as a soldier]. Whereas with John, if the odds are anything other than entirely stacked in his favour, he bottles it.’

These accusations of faint-heartedness are hard to ignore. In his lifetime, John earned the nickname ‘Softsword’, and the troubadour Bertran de Born said, ‘No man may trust him for his First, treachery. And here, Marc says, one of John’s acts of betrayal heart is soft and cowardly.’ On his failure to challenge the invading stands out like the sorest of thumbs: he attempts to usurp the French in 1216, Professor John Gillingham wrote: ‘This time it crown when his brother was on the beaches of England is on crusade. Whatever that John chose not to fight.’ But, we think of crusading Marc adds, he was a coward, not a And to try and seize the throne when your now, at the time it was milksop. ‘He was perfectly happy brother is trying to reclaim Jerusalem, the Holy to go to war if he knew he was the highest, most noble, most Christian calling City, for Christendom, that’s mud that sticks.” going to win, but cruel once he’d imaginable. And Richard got the upper hand.’ I fulfilled that societal expectation in spades. ‘The most ignominious thing you could do And there’s a charge of lechery. Marc points out that even is attack the land of an absent crusader. . . . And to try and seize the though this is hard to prove, it’s one that’s repeated often throne when your brother is trying to reclaim Jerusalem, the Holy enough to be taken seriously. In John’s case, it was said that City, for Christendom, that’s mud that sticks. And contemporaries he constantly preyed on the female family members of his were scathing. And that really does for his reputation.’ great men: the kind of behaviour bound to imperil the political stability of his court and unlikely to have done his cause much As does John’s cruelty. Lopping off lowly miscreants’ hands good when the crises came. and ears to keep them in line was integral to the medieval criminal justice system, but John was prepared to mete out John’s rapacious tax-gathering is explicable, even if it all came cruel and unusual punishments to those of high birth. One such to nothing: ‘Greedy you can excuse because he wanted to regain punishment was the starving to death of his captives, the most the empire he lost, but he exploited England to a greater extent

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Image: Christopher Guy and courtesy of Worcester Cathedral

John was, of course, a great unifier: all those who hated him put aside their differences to come together against a common enemy. And without King John, there would have been no Magna Carta. But, as Marc Morris says, it’s very difficult to ignore the evidence that, even by the appalling standards of his day, John was a rotter. A genuine rotter. 

Previous page: John, King of England between 1199–1216; an engraving from 1830. Top left: King John’s tomb in Worcester Cathedral, which dates to 1232.

An exhibition about King John is on until the end of the year at Worcester Cathedral. Groups can contact the cathedral to book a King John talk by his tomb or visit the cathedral’s medieval library where his Will and other artefacts are housed, including a thumb bone and fragments of his clothing. See ▷ www.worcestercathedral.co.uk for further details.

About Marc Morris

Bottom left: Marc Morris, author of King John: Treachery, Tyranny and the Road to Magna Carta.

Marc Morris is a bestselling historian and broadcaster, specialising in the Middle Ages. In 2003, he presented the highly-acclaimed television series Castle, and wrote its accompanying book. His bestselling biography of Edward I, A Great and Terrible King, was published in 2008, with his widely-acclaimed history, The Norman Conquest, following in 2012.

than any king since William the Conqueror, then squandered it by his military incompetence. . . . Had John raised that huge war chest, gone to France and beaten Philip Augustus and regained Normandy, he would have been treated to a hero’s welcome.’ As John lay dying (probably of dysentery) in Newark Castle, he willed that his body ‘be buried in the church of St Mary and St Wulfstan at Worcester’. But the civil war, Marc points out, limited his choice of resting place: much of the rest of the country was no longer his. John’s original intention was to be buried at Beaulieu in Hampshire, the abbey he founded in 1204. ‘The problem is that when he’s dying, in 1216, Hampshire is enemy territory.’ An ignominious end for John. ‘He started his reign as the ruler of the greatest dominion in western Europe, and he ended up with the West Midlands.’ For many years, it was assumed that John had been buried in the Lady Chapel at Worcester Cathedral and that the tomb in the chancel was empty. In 1797, they decided to move it to clear access to the altar. To their surprise, the workmen found a decayed sword and, in a robe of crimson damask, John’s bones. A crowd gathered, some of whom helped themselves to souvenirs, including a pair of teeth that weren’t recovered until 1923.

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Prof Stephen Church, a leading authority on King John from the University of East Anglia

King John died on the night of 18–19 October 1216 in the midst of a civil war and invasion by a foreign ruler. As a result, much of his kingdom was inaccessible to him and so, faced with the immediate prospect of his own death, John was forced to dictate the terms of his last testament by which his body would be brought to rest at the Church of St Mary and St Wulfstan, Worcester. Remarkably, after 800 years, what remains of King John lies here still. The Benedictine monks of Worcester treasured their royal guest and, indeed, the document by which they were entrusted with his body. It was their decision to place King John’s remains in the Quire of the Church before the High Altar and between the bodies of Wulfstan and Oswald, the Abbey’s two sainted bishops. Throughout the remainder of the Middle Ages, the Worcester monks venerated King John, singing masses for his soul daily and watching over his resting place.

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HERITAGE

O

pened formally by Henry Sandon MBE in 2003, the George Marshall Medical Museum cares for a fascinating collection of artefacts, which illustrate the way medicine and healthcare have developed over the past 250 years. Housed in a modern medical training facility on the site of the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, there is plenty to see, including a collection of nineteenth-century plaster casts of the heads of hanged criminals, a pair of horns belonging to Blossom (the cow of Edward Jenner’s famous smallpox experiments), a reconstructed apothecary’s shop and a nineteenth-century operating theatre. The museum also holds a significant collection of medical textbooks, photographs, artefacts and oral histories. The Infirmary is Worcester’s newest heritage venue. The history of Worcester Infirmary is told from the early days at Silver Street through to the devotion provided by volunteers in the former hospital who set up cafe services for visitors and fundraising purposes at the former Worcester Royal Infirmary. Interwoven with objects from the George Marshall Medical Museum and extensive content from Powick Hospital, the aim is for visitors to improve their understanding of healthcare, how can they look after themselves better and also be grateful for the advances thus far. Perhaps they will also contemplate what a hospital visit might entail in 50 years. The story of Worcester’s importance in the advances of medical treatments during the Victorian era is spreading. The Infirmary covers half of what was once Rushout Ward at the former Worcester Royal Infirmary, a building which had six main wards named after generous benefactors who contributed to its achievements. Originally built in 1770, the first patients entered the Georgian building a year later – when the money to buy beds was raised – and treatments continued to be delivered until 2002. An incredible 231 years of advances in healthcare are covered from the misguided approach of bleeding for many ailments to the introduction of anaesthetics, X-rays, drug production and keyhole surgery. The figure celebrated most is Sir Charles Hastings, a man of many talents who lived during the expansion of Worcester and devoted his professional career to the county. Hastings died 150 years ago and, in his life, he witnessed the introduction of railways and Worcester’s sewage system, the coronation of Queen Victoria

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and – medically speaking – the invention of the stethoscope and anaesthetics, which revolutionised the diagnosis and treatment of patients’ illnesses. Hastings was appointed as House Surgeon at the age of 18, for which he would have taken on an incredible amount of responsibility as he would visit each patient daily to assess their ailments and send for the physician or surgeon as needed. As House Surgeon, Hastings was the designated apothecary and would make up and dispense potions, poultices or even apply leeches to the patient based on a physician’s notes. Hastings enjoyed the job so much he wanted to qualify as a physician and attended Edinburgh Medical School. He soon returned to Worcester as an honorary physician and completed a total of 46 years at Worcester Infirmary. Hastings’ curiosity, innovative thinking and desire to understand patients and their illnesses better contributed to his energy to help establish the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association (PMSA) in Worcester in 1832. An organisation of paying doctors from across the country, they began to publish a regular journal containing their discoveries for new techniques to treat illnesses and it was also a place to share thoughts, ideas and communicate with like-minded individuals. The PMSA grew in popularity, becoming national, and was renamed the British Medical Association (BMA), an organisation still putting knowledge and patient care first today through its work as a trade union for doctors. The success of the association and public events Hastings attended meant he came to the notice of the Court of Queen Victoria. He was invited by the court to sit on a new public body, which was set up after the 1858 Medical Act on which Hastings had advised. The General Medical Council (GMC) was established to maintain standards and make sure those claiming to be a doctor were trained and qualified to do the job. The GMC and BMA were significant milestones in medical history, influenced by Hastings, which ensured medical knowledge was being shared widely to benefit patients, doctors and the country alike. A philanthropist who used his own money to construct modern houses designed to promote public health, he was knighted by Queen Victoria for his pioneering work in 1850. Hastings’ final years were lived at Barnard’s Green House in Malvern (look for the blue plaque on the wall outside) and, when he died aged 72 on 30 July 1866, he was laid to rest in Astwood Cemetery, Worcester. 

Worcester has played a significant role in the evolution of medicine and can boast two museums that recount its intriguing history. Visit The Infirmary Museum to learn about the formation of the British Medical Association (BMA) by Sir Charles Hastings, arguably Worcester’s most celebrated citizen, or the George Marshall Medical Museum to discover why there is a collection of death masks of hanged criminals

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1: The Infirmary gallery holds a significant

1

collection of medical textbooks, photographs, artefacts and oral histories. 2: Sir Charles Hastings (1794–1866). 3: Plaster casts of hanged criminals at the 4 and 7: Artefacts on display at the GMMM. 5: A reconstructed apothecary’s shop at the GMMM. 6: A nineteenth-century operating theatre at the GMMM.

For opening times and further information, visit ▷

medicalmuseum.org.uk

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Image: Lee Allen Photography

2

Image: Wellcome Library, London

Image: 2015 Laura Peters Photography

George Marshall Medical Museum (GMMM).

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Image: Lee Allen Photography

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ARCHI TECTURE

Worcestershire once boasted a modern secondary school designed by an architectural pioneer WORDS: STUART WILKES

A very modern Y our school days leave indelible memories on you. Lifelong friendships are made, knowledge is imparted that hopefully sets up young minds for a fulfilling future and stories of classroom antics continue to amuse many years after their actions have taken place. One lasting memory that I took from my school days was the building. Its huge windows let in copious amounts of natural light that reflected around its off-white interior. It had a central garden that, admittedly, needed some attention, but it all felt very modern. It felt open, spacious and even when the pressure of exams would arise, the school had a peaceful functionality about it. Only in later life did I discover that the school in question, The Hill Junior High School as it was called when I was there in the mid 1980s, was designed by one of Britain’s foremost architects and a pioneer of the architectural style known as modernism.

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Sir Frederick Gibberd (1908–84) is probably best known for designing the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, which opened in 1967 but, more than a decade before that, he had drawn up plans for a new school to be located at the top of Tunnel Hill in Upton-upon-Severn, the Upton Secondary Modern School.

The school itself would have all the hallmarks of classic modernity. Most of all, it was to be functional. Form was indeed to follow function, a phrase that was much heralded by the mid-century modernists. It had quiet classrooms for English adjacent to the library, and the woodwork and metalwork shops were placed in the opposite corner to ensure that noise from overeager would-be craftsmen and engineers never disturbed the more cerebral studies. Gibberd, originally from Coventry, had set up his architectural practice in 1930 and his work was heavily influenced by famed architects Le Corbusier and Mies van der

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education Previous page top: Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. Previous page bottom: Sir Frederick Gibberd (1908–84). This page: The Upton Secondary Modern School, which became The Hill Junior High School. All photos courtesy of the Frederick Gibberd Partnership.

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Rohe. He went on to develop the post-war new town development of Harlow and many housing schemes in and around London. Educational design also featured prominently in his work, and he designed technical colleges in both Bath and Kingston upon Hull. However, time has not been kind to modern architecture of this era and even this school suffered from harsh criticism. In the book, The Buildings Of England: Worcestershire by Nikolaus Pevsner, the scholar of architectural history referred to it simply as ‘Hill School, by Sir F. Gibberd; nothing special.’ I have to disagree with the assessment of Pevsner, for what the school lacked in ornament and decoration it more than compensated for in its future-looking approach. Elements of modernism, such as central courtyards, large areas of glazing and modular construction are now commonplace in schools, offices and shopping centres across the country. The Achilles’ heel of the school, which ultimately led to its demise, was that the build quality was somewhat lacking. Flatroof technology, at that time, was notorious for leaks, which led to all manner of damp-related issues. Issues that despite many attempts to fix, ultimately condemned the school to a much shortened life than originally anticipated. It closed its doors in the late 1980s and the pupils were merged with Hanley Castle High School on the other side of Upton-upon-Severn. It was

demolished not long after and the site was developed into housing. A small portion of the school, however, remains to this day – The Upton Hill Community Centre – which was originally the school gymnasium from where, today, a wide variety of clubs, activities and sporting events are run. The design and feel of the school resonated with me during those most influential years, to the point that I now personally lean more towards a modernistic approach to architecture as opposed to a more traditional or classical aesthetic. It left a lasting memory on me and, in the best way possible, that’s exactly what a school should do.  Stuart Wilkes is a freelance technology writer, living in Malvern, and was a pupil at The Hill Junior High School between 1983–86. He can be contacted through LinkedIn at ▷ uk.linkedin.com/in/

stuartjwilkes/

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MOTORS

Fully charged!

Malvern’s EV show sparks surge of interest

A

n estimated 1,700 visitors came to Priory Park and Malvern Theatres for the 5th Electric Automobile Association (ElectrAA) show on Sunday 4 September. This year, there were a range of electric cars to test drive plus a selection of electric motorcycles to augment the production cars and conversions on display. Exhibitors reported many sales and firm enquiries, and noted that knowledgeable enthusiasts joining in with sales conversations contributed significantly to the concept and understanding of electric vehicle (EV) ownership. Inside Malvern Theatres, Chris O’Donnell, Deputy Chairman of Malvern Hills District Council, formally opened the event. Keynote speaker, Robert Llewellyn, well-known EV enthusiast, journalist

and television personality, amused and intrigued the audience with narrative on the developing EV marketplace; and he was followed by several speakers who provided insights about the charging network and technical arguments for owning and driving EVs. Outside, the bustling throng in Priory Park were offered opportunities to experience test drives in electric cars and/or motorcycles, and slots were taken almost as quickly as a Tesla takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill . . . about 2.5 seconds! The variety of vehicles on display included the BMW i3; the new Rally Zoe; Mercedes Protean (sporting an electric motor at each wheel) and a rare Tesla Roadster, along with an electric London Black Cab taxi, and conversions included a classic VW Beetle and camper vans.

With nearly 2 per cent of UK vehicle registrations now attributed to EVs, the time when they become mainstream is gathering pace, so look out for next year’s even bigger event! 

ElectrAA’s ‘Ambassadors’ team visits and speaks at clubs and societies throughout the county. If your club wants to know more about the benefits and enjoyment of electric car ownership, please contact evanswers.co.uk@gmail.com Dan Wild (Secretary) 2, Warwick Court, Malvern WR143HU 01684 566543, danwild.electraa@gmail.com

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CULTURE

The latest exhibition on the top floor of Broadway’s Tudor House museum is a striking series of woodblock prints illustrating the long-held Japanese fascination for the world of the supernatural and the apparitions that inhabit it

and

JAPANESE GHOSTS

DEMONS

T

he Ashmolean Museum Broadway is hosting a touring exhibition from the Ashmolean Museum Oxford, which explores the bizarre and beguiling world of the Japanese supernatural. Giant spiders, dancing skeletons, winged goblins and horses of ghostly warriors are among the spooky subjects depicted in this display of striking nineteenth century woodblock prints, drawn from the Ashmolean Museum’s rich collection of Japanese art. Belief in the supernatural is deep-rooted in the folklore of Japan. According to Japan’s native Shinto religion, spirits reside everywhere: in forests, fields, mountains, rivers and in the home. The

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arrival of Buddhism during the sixth century AD brought with it a host of supernatural beings, and many Chinese folk tales of spirits and monsters were also absorbed into Japanese tradition. This varied population of ghostly beings has long been represented in Japanese art and literature; depicted in paintings and prints and turned into hair-raising dramas for the kabuki theatre. The exhibition presents the Japanese supernatural as portrayed in ukiyo-e popular prints; mass-produced woodblock prints that were a product of the vibrant entertainment culture which thrived in Japan’s major cities during the Edo period (1600–1867). Characterised by

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vivid colours and bold designs that made them hugely influential on Western artists in the late 1800s, ukiyo-e most commonly depicted the beautiful courtesans and kabuki actors who were the fashionable celebrities of their day. This exhibition focuses on works by the celebrated print designers Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861) and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839–1892), two of the most prolific and successful artists of their day. 

The exhibition is on until 20 December 2016. For opening times, admission prices and further information, visit

▷ www.ashmoleanbroadway.org

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INTERIORS

COSY CALM

WINTERIORS

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Worcestershire interior designer, Elaine Lewis, provides professional insights into how to adapt your interiors with the seasons

ights are drawing in and we can celebrate the season of change by creating a home fit for hibernation. Cooler temperatures affect many aspects of our lives, including the activities in which we engage, the foods we eat and the style of clothes we wear. Just as cold weather might inspire a warm woolly sweater, it may also inspire warmer tones and accent colours in our living space. As with our wardrobe, room schemes can become stale unless they are revisited and updated occasionally. So why not let the seasonal changes motivate some fresh design ideas in your home? It can be fun to refresh a room by introducing a new statement piece, a different or deeper wall colour or simply by having a mini splurge on lampshades, textured and coloured throws, candles and beautiful cushions. Start by drawing inspiration from Christmas, although subtlety is the key. A warm Scandinavian or Nordic style is attractive and fashionable today; it is rustic, minimalist and cosy all at the same time. This style gives an amazing feel of comfort with natural wood branches, black and white, fir tree wreaths and rustic lanterns, which all compose a classical Nordic design to keep the winter out. Scandinavian style is characterised by wonderfully simple decoration with calming colour palettes and natural products such as pine cones and wreaths made of pine branches, all of which produce a beautiful scent which help relieve stress; and, of course, don’t forget the reindeer, one of the main features of this style. So if you like this idea, let’s start with the tree. Choose something simple with a lovely pine smell and put it in a neutral

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coloured basket. Next, you will need to consider lights and ornaments. Keeping a simple approach, try white or glassonly ornaments with a few string lights, which will create a surprising freshness in bare branches.

Trusty accent cushions and throws can refresh a room; salvaged items have the ability to make any project unique, warm and

It’s a good idea to consider how the autumnal tones outside can influence the look and feel of the interior, with examples of greens, browns and yellows combined with natural materials, such as wood; and warm, tactile fabrics including faux fur and large wool knits.

important. Next page top: Vintage lanterns add warmth and glow to any interior space. Next page bottom: An annex Elaine is currently working

Talking of colours, any shade of mustard will instantly update your home this season and it is so easy to achieve: a new cushion, a new throw, even a new lampshade can bring this key accent colour into your home. Tasty and tangy, it is a shade that brings warmth, mixed with an eye-catching contemporary edge that makes it the perfect shade for the autumn and winter seasons. Mixed with accents of oranges and calm greys, mustard can be a great addition to any room scheme.

on, created as a Hunter’s Lodge.

Thinking ahead, one of the emerging trends of the autumn and winter seasons, which is set to continue its influence through to spring and summer 2017,

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is the use of dark primary colours to bring depth to a room, especially within the green and blue spectrum. A palette of bottle greens and mosses can be layered up on their own for a single statement scheme, or can be toned with navy and dark inky blues. If the thought of going this dramatic strikes you full of interior fear, the trusty accent cushion and throw is the best way to enjoy this trend, especially when mixed with tones of grey.

Image: Stillview Photography

Interior design does not have to be as expensive as you think. With the recent trend in salvaging, there are many architectural elements that lift an interior setting, ranging from the bizarre to the grand, so hunting around at a local flea market or reclamation centre might just unearth the perfect piece. Gothic candlesticks, a reclaimed vintage wooden sleigh, a silver tilley lamp or simply a church-style candle stand dressed with ivy and white candles can make a stunning table arrangement. They might be old, but

Elaine Lewis has been professionally styling residential and commercial interiors for over a decade. She lives in Malvern with her family. See

â–ˇ www.elainelewisdesigns. co.uk for more information.

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interesting architectural materials are always in fashion. Adding salvage to your home also has the ability to make any project unique, warm and important. And finally, look what’s around you as colours for interiors are inspired by nature. Often the most beautiful ornaments and decorative objects are right on our doorstep. Filling vintage jars with fairy lights; making a home-made advent calendar from twigs, brown paper and ribbon; making hanging fir tree chandeliers . . . the list is endless; the personal satisfaction immeasurable. 

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‘live a life less ordinary’

elainelewisdesigns Interior Design 07816 369 895 info@elainelewisdesigns.co.uk www.elainelewisdesigns.co.uk Malvern, Worcestershire


TRAVEL

Banish the blues . . . choose to CRUISE With winter snapping at our heels and the cold beginning to bite, what could be better than imagining lazy days in warm sunshine, glass in one hand, book in the other and without a care in the world. Maybe now is a good time to start planning to get away and a great way of seeing the world without living out of a suitcase is to go on a cruise. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, which welcomed more than 90,000 guests on its four ships last year, tells us why cruising could be the perfect tonic for you

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ancy kicking back and letting the world come to you? You’re not alone and embarking on a leisurely cruise is becoming ever more popular and visible on people’s holiday radar, as they realise the many benefits of travelling in this way. Firstly, you only need to unpack once and, secondly, a raft of destinations can be enjoyed in one holiday. Thirdly, the exquisite food, which is five-star, utterly delicious, diverse in range and in plentiful supply and, fourthly, facilities and the range of entertainment, from quizzes and deck games to fun-filled shows, are second to none. Did we mention the food? What’s more, the travelling is very much part of the holiday. With Fred. Olsen’s small, more intimate ships, the ‘sea days’ are actually part of the trip. Sailing through the Norwegian fjords, the Stockholm archipelago, along the Amalfi Coast, past the picturesque villages on the River Seine or down the mighty Amazon, it is often found that guests enjoy the days of scenic cruising just as much as the ports of call themselves. Fred. Olsen will be visiting an impressive 220 destinations in 70 countries around the globe during the 2017/18 cruise season, and there are more than 100 unique itineraries to enjoy. Guests can choose to head to the sunshine on a Mediterranean, Iberian or Canary Islands

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holiday; soak-up culture and fascinating cities on a northern European or Baltic voyage; discover the magnificent fjords of Norway or Greenland; sail leisurely along the rivers of France and Spain; explore Canada, South America, Australia or the Black Sea on a ‘Grand Voyage’ or even take a fly–cruise to the Caribbean or the stunning Indian Ocean and South Africa. As well as a host of beautiful destinations from which to choose, there are also a variety of different types of cruise holidays, such as itineraries that incorporate world-renowned events, including the Monaco Grand Prix, the Rio Carnival, the America’s Cup in Bermuda and the Braemar Highland Games. Plus, there are adult-only holidays and themed cruises, where guest speakers join the ship to enhance the on-board experience; topics covered include gardening, wine-tasting, baking and music, to name just a few.

Top cruise myths busted

I’m too young: The majority of guests on board a Fred. Olsen cruise are mature; however all ages are welcome and during school holidays there are many multi-generational families on board. With a broad range of entertainment and activities, including a children’s club, entitled Little Skippers, for guests aged 5–11 years’ old, and a host of shore excursions from visits to theme parks, kayaking, walking tours, canal trips, and food and drink tastings, there is always plenty to do both ashore and on board for all the family.

Clockwise from top: Cruising is a wonderful way to see the world; the Castle of Arade (Sao Joao do Arade) in Portimao, Algarve, Portugal; Bryggen, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site since 1979, is a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings lining the eastern side of the fjord coming into Bergen, Norway; and the town of Eidfjord, situated at the end of the Hardangerfjord in

There won’t be enough time to enjoy each port of call: At Fred. Olsen, each cruise itinerary is carefully planned to

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western Norway.

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nder son Imag es: P ippa Sa

all of which will be advised at the time of booking. There is also the option of the informal, buffetstyle restaurant, should guests not wish to dress up every evening for dinner and, on occasions, this restaurant will host specialist dining evenings, including an eclectic range of Indian, Thai or Chinese fare.

allow guests the most amount of time in the destination. Many itineraries are often scheduled with overnight stays, sometimes even two or three nights, so that guests can immerse themselves in the local culture and see places during the day and well into the evening. I’ll have to wear formalwear for every dinner and sit with the same people (and what happens if I don’t like them?): There are several dining options on board for guests to choose from and in most cases this will be arranged during the booking process. The crew on board will do their best to seat guests how they wish, whether that be in groups of six, eight or ten, or on a more private table for two. If guests are not happy with their dining arrangements, then the crew will do all they can to find an alternative option. Depending on the duration of the cruise holiday, there will be a mix of themed evenings, formal nights and smart casual dining,

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There won’t be any Internet: While on board, guests can use their mobile and Wi-Fi-enabled devices by purchasing pay-as-yougo or Internet packages. When in the ports of call, or close to land, guests will most likely be able to connect to their own network provider, but it is advised to check any data roaming charges for using mobiles or tablets abroad before setting sail. There won’t be enough to do while at sea: Once on board, it’s completely up to the guest what type of cruise experience they want. For some, joining in with all the activities – craft lessons, bingo, bridge, quizzes, dance sessions and meeting lots of new people – is the ideal holiday experience. For others, relaxing peacefully by the pool, sipping a cocktail and gazing out to sea is the perfect holiday pastime. I’ll put on weight: A cruise holiday is a great opportunity to enjoy some truly delicious food; however, there are also plenty of activities to work off some of those indulgent treats! Guests can enjoy swimming, the well-equipped gym, yoga and Pilates classes, or even join the ‘walk-a-mile’ club, a group of guests who get together every day to walk around the spacious deck until

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they reach one mile. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with active shore excursions, including cycling, walking tours and even kayaking!

Boudicca’s 16-night D1706 ‘Discovering the Amalfi Coast’

Balmoral’s eight-night L1708 ‘Best of Spain’ cruise, departing from Dover on 7 May 2017

Ports of call: Southampton, UK – Edinburgh (Rosyth), UK – Pass through Corran Narrows – Cruising Loch Linnhe – Fort William, UK – Cruising past Duart Castle – Belfast, UK – Dublin, Ireland (overnight stay) – Falmouth, UK – Portland, UK – Southampton, UK

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Black Watch’s seven-night W1706 ‘Norwegian Fjords’ cruise, departing from Dover on 4 June 2017 (adult-only)

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Braemar’s 10-night M1712 ‘UK Scenes from the Silver Screen’ cruise, departing from Southampton on 21 May 2017

Ports of call: Dover, UK – La Coruňa, Spain – Gijon, Spain – Santander, Spain – Bilbao, Spain (from Getxo) – Dover, UK

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Ports of call: Falmouth, UK – Cartagena, Spain – Palermo, Sicily, Italy – Amalfi, Italy – Cruising Amalfi Coast & Capri – Rome (from Civitavecchia), Italy – Sorrento, Italy – Olbia, Italy – Portimao, Portugal – Falmouth, UK

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Depart from Falmouth on 13 April 2017 (adult-only)

Fred. Olsen’s ships are smaller and more intimate than other cruise lines. However, they still have all the facilities expected of today’s cruise ships: a selection of bars and restaurants, swimming pools, a beauty spa, gym, selection of shops, spacious deck and outside areas, and entertainment lounges.

om

See below for just four fantastic cruise holiday offers by Fred. Olsen. Please visit ▷ www.fredolsencruises.com or call Reservations on 0800 0355 242 for more information. 

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines operates four ships: Balmoral, carrying 1,350 guests; Braemar with capacity for 929 guests; Boudicca with 880 guests; and Black Watch, 804 guests.

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It’s too expensive: There is so much included in the price of a Fred. Olsen cruise: the chance to see lots of destinations in one holiday, accommodation, all meals, coffee and tea, and a choice of facilities, including swimming pools, a gym, bars, lounges and access to a beauty spa, as well as a packed itinerary of entertainment. Plus, guests can choose to upgrade to the ‘allinclusive’ package (priced from just £10 per person per night), which includes all house wines, spirits and a selection of beers and soft drinks as well.

Ports of call: Dover, UK – Cruising Lysefjord, Preikestolen & Kjerag – Cruising Karmsund – Eidfjord, Norway – Cruise Hardangerfjord – Cruising Maurangerfjord & Furebergfossen – Flåm, Sognefjord, Norway – Cruising Nærøyfjord – Bergen, Norway – Dover, UK

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Image: Martyn Wilson

Image: Ervins Strauhmanis (ervins.strauhmanis@gmail.com)

FLORA

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ur gardens in autumn and winter are the very thing that can still entice us outside for a bracing bit of fresh air, to blow the cobwebs away and (certainly in my case) for some much needed exercise. But often, once summer is over our gardens are forgotten until the next year.

A winter garden can still be full of colour, structure and interest. And, in recent years, our approach to maintaining the garden during this season has changed. No longer do we feel the sense of urgency to chop foliage back to the ground, but rather to leave it to wither away in its own time to feed and mulch the soil. Grasses and flowers can stand as sentinels until early spring, before being cut back to allow fresh green growth. After all, what can be better than the muted tones of colourful plants covered with winter dew and frosted spider webs? There are also more practical benefits to leaving your garden untamed through winter. Plant stems play host to hibernating insects, which become beneficial once summer rolls around, while seed heads provide a much needed food source for hungry garden birds.

Trees such as crab apples not only provide a spectacular show of spring blossom but also brightly coloured fruit from autumn right through to January. Many of us may be familiar with the Mountain Ash or Rowan, particularly our own native species Sorbus aucuparia with its red, orange, yellow, pink or white berries, which are favourites of birds from Scandinavia such as fieldfares.

Award-winning gardens

Our award-winning garden for Primrose Hospice in Bromsgrove, voted People’s Choice at this year’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival, was designed to offer a space with year round structure and interest. The garden featured the soft contours of topiary Box balls

Creating structure

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Image: Nik Burns

Shrubs, hedging and trees traditionally offer the backdrop and structure to the garden. But they can offer so much more too. Think colour, berries or fruit, and even scents from evergreen shrubs such as Sarcococca humilis (often referred to as Christmas Box), Skimmia (Kew Green) or Mahonia (Winter Sun). Try planting fragrant varieties near a pathway, door or in the front garden, where you can savour the delightful scents as you come and go.

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Wilson Associates Garden Design is a multidisciplinary and collaborative practice that strives to create aesthetic and functional spaces that are informed by their existing buildings and surroundings. See ▷ www.wilsongardendesign.co.uk for further information.

Putting your garden to bed Award-winning garden designer, Martyn Wilson, shares his advice on how to turn your garden into a winter paradise (Buxus sempervirens), coupled with the brilliant white bark of the multi-stem birch (Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’) and under planted with grasses.

Image: Ian Thwaites

But it is not just plants that can add interest to the winter garden. Metal arches, or arbours, with evergreen scented climbers Lonicera × purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’, a rustic wooden gate, or striking water features such as the Discus water bowl (pictured right) can offer shape and reflection on a clear autumn or winter’s day. When thinking about or planning your winter garden, it is worth considering views from the house so you can maximise the visual impact of trees or shrubs and your enjoyment of the garden.

Getting creative

There are so many opportunities to create a fantastic winter garden. If you take the time and inspiration, it won’t be long before you are relaxing with a cup of coffee watching hungry birds feeding on colourful holly, cotoneaster or pyracantha berries. As for me, time flies in a gardener’s world and I need to start searching the catalogues and ordering my spring and summer 2017 bulbs! 

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Image: Ian Thwaites

How about a well-positioned sculpture or statuary to provide a winter focal point? Such as this contemporary bee sculpture (left), which featured on our RHS Silver–Gilt medal-winning garden in 2015 and on BBC’s Gardeners’ World with Monty Don.

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FLORA

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istletoe was considered sacred by Celtic Druids and, for many centuries, it has been suspended over doorways and in rooms as a symbol of goodwill and peace to all who visited. In contemporary times, its origins are celebrated as it hangs high so that those who gather underneath it can kiss. Although poisonous, mistletoe means ‘all-heal’ in Celtic and, in the Middle Ages, it was believed to repel evil spirits. The common name for mistletoe is derived from bird droppings: ‘mistel’ is the Anglo-Saxon word for dung and ‘tan’ is the word for twig . . . so mistletoe means ‘dung on a twig’. There are nearly 1,500 species of mistletoe worldwide and the ‘classic’ mistletoe of Europe, Viscum album, can grow on a number of different trees, although it is often found on cultivated apple trees. Worcestershire and Herefordshire produce a significant proportion of all mistletoe in England, mainly in long-established, traditional orchards. In 2007, these orchards were designated as a priority habitat for conservation in the UK; however, Natural England estimates that the overall orchard area in England has declined by some 63 per cent since 1950. Although mistletoe itself is not threatened as a species, the increase in intensive orchard harvesting and the rapid reduction in traditional orchards are both having an effect. However, Tenbury’s ongoing support and celebration of mistletoe go some way to ensure the future for furtive festive kissers and the future for the creatures who depend upon the plant, such as the blackcap and mistle thrush, and several insects, including the rare mistletoe marble moth and the deliciously named ‘kissme-slow weevil’ (Ixapion variegatum).

England’s mistletoe capital has operated an annual pre-Christmas auction for more than 160 years and this year there are three auctions at Burford House Garden Stores, Burford, Tenbury Wells, WR15 8HQ, on Tuesday 29 November, Tuesday 6 December and Tuesday 13 December.

Image: Alan Sands

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The Regal will become a performance zone and feature the crowning of Tenbury’s Mistletoe Queen. The ‘Royal Entourage’, including the Mistletoe Queen, Holly Prince and their Royal Attendants, will parade through the town, celebrating the importance of mistletoe to the local community and beyond. Dressed in cloak and glitter, the writer and spoken-word artist, Chloë of the Midnight Story Tellers, will head up the entertainment for the day presenting the Mistletoe Tales and an enchanting collection of Family Festive Fables, complemented by local school and community choirs singing well-loved winter songs. Children and older people will take part in a dance depicting Tenbury’s association with mistletoe folklore. The Winter Fayre at the Pump Rooms will sell mistletoe, locally produced foods and gifts made by local artists. A number of independent shops in the town will also be adorned with mistletoe, holly and berries as they welcome visitors with everything from seasonal inspiration to Christmas essentials. UNDER THE MISTLETOE: to link the Mistletoe Festival with the annual Santa Parade that completes the festivities, a film created by the internationally renowned art company, SDNA, which was involved in the London 2012 Olympic Games, will be shown in the Pump Rooms. The film captures local stories about mistletoe heritage retold by residents. See ▷ www.facebook.com/TenburyMistletoeAssociation and ▷ www.tenburymistletoe.org/festival.html for more information, or contact organiser Caroline Palethorpe on 07974 966412 or caroline@cmpconsult.co.uk 

Festive dung on a twig ANYONE?

The Mistletoe Queen and Holly Prince.

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In celebration of this symbolic plant, on Saturday 3 December, Tenbury Wells will host the annual Mistletoe Festival, with a diverse range of activities, seasonal fairs and entertainment. The festival has been running since 2004, becoming an important event in the annual calendar when Parliament decreed, in 2005, that 1 December should be named National Mistletoe Day and the town earned the honour of being named England’s Capital of Mistletoe.

Steeped in mystery and Druidic tradition, Tenbury Wells’ association with mistletoe is long and colourful. Nearly all of England’s mistletoe is auctioned in Tenbury in the weeks before Christmas and the town also plays host to the annual Mistletoe Festival, a platform for local groups and organisations to celebrate this wonderful plant www.wrmagazine.uk


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RETURN of a long-lost friend Most of us are unfamiliar with the polecat, that much-maligned, bandit-masked ancestor of the domestic ferret that we so nearly eradicated from Britain a hundred years ago. So it’s high time we got to know it again, because an encouraging population recovery is under way and residents of Worcestershire are as likely as anyone to have an encounter with a specimen of Mustela putorius. Ecologist and author, Dr Johnny Birks, explains

O

nce trapping pressure from gamekeepers declined in the early twentieth century, polecats were able to expand their range eastwards from their historical stronghold in the Welsh Mountains. Worcestershire was one of the first midland counties to witness their return in the 1960s after an absence of some six decades (polecats never quite disappeared from Herefordshire). But, unlike the mewing buzzards and cronking ravens increasingly seen and heard over the county again for the same reason, we are rather unlikely to see a live polecat because of its shy, nocturnal habits. Sadly, the best evidence that polecats are about again is the occasional occurrence of a long, ferret-sized, black and tan body flattened on our roads. Indeed road casualties have been used as the basis for a series of distribution surveys by the Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT), which has tracked the polecat’s welcome recovery in Britain since the 1990s. Around 20 years ago, I was privileged to undertake a field study of polecats close to the Malvern Hills while working for the VWT. Radio tracking gave me rare insights into their nocturnal and mainly solitary lives – for each one patrolled a territory of at least one square kilometre – revealing a passion for hunting wild rabbits down their burrows and, in winter, a tendency to feast on farmyard rats. While these habits should rightly flag

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polecats as the farmer’s friend, in reality we have some way to go before native predators are accepted and valued in all quarters. Game shooting, in particular, with trapping by gamekeepers the primary reason for the polecat’s close brush with extinction in Britain, has yet to adapt to a modern world in which predators like the polecat are allowed to thrive. One key to the polecat’s current success is a lack of fussiness about the habitat in which it lives, and Worcestershire farmland seems to suit it well, especially if rabbits are common and their burrows are available as daytime resting sites. Polecats may even thrive in suburbia, with stories of litters raised in dens under garden decking on the fringes of Droitwich and Kidderminster. If their recovery continues, polecats could become one of our most widespread yet least understood wild carnivores.  Polecats, written by Dr Birks and published by Whittet Books, contains sublime illustrations by Antony Griffiths and stunning photographs by Richard Bowler. It is available from bookshops, including Malvern Book Co-operative in St Ann’s Road, Malvern (signed copies available) and online at: ▷ www.booksystemsplus.com. Dr Birks can also be contacted through Swift Ecology at ▷ www.swiftecology.co.uk

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TECH

The future of FARMING Technology is quietly revolutionising agriculture in a field near you WORDS: STUART WILKES

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threshing machines were replaced by more complex combine harvesters and, of course, horses were replaced by tractors. Now it’s happening again, with the very tractor drivers and machine operators themselves being superseded by their technological equivalents.

For the past couple of generations, greater levels of automation in agriculture have improved many of its processes that were, at one time, highly labour-intensive. Bale loaders were attached to the front of tractors to lift as much as 16 bales in one go onto the back of a trailer, negating the need for manual handling. Vintage

With greater and greater pressure being heaped on the agriculture industry for highquality products, at the most competitive market price, technology is coming to its aid through the use of semi-autonomous tractors, a wide variety of sensors, complex communication technologies and cloudbased data services.

s you drive through the beautiful Worcestershire countryside, you may want to look twice at the next tractor you see. If it appears the driver isn’t driving, then don’t worry, he actually might not be. The technology headlines are usually full of the latest mobile phone, games console or must-have consumer device, but ever so quietly and without much fuss or publicity, the agricultural industry is undergoing a technological revolution all of its own and one that puts the latest highly desirable consumer device to shame.

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All agricultural machinery now communicates wirelessly with one another and with cloud data services.

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Image: John Deere

The concept is relatively simple: when a crop is planted, its progress can be monitored so when fertilisers or sprays need to be applied, they can be done on a more bespoke basis. John Deere, the major agricultural machinery vendor, has a system whereby as the tractor passes over the recently planted crop, sensors on the front of the tractor monitor the crop’s growth and, in turn, control the level of fertiliser or spray that needs to be applied, to a level of accuracy that is almost plant by plant. As the tractor passes over the field, all the information gathered is uploaded to a

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cloud-based data service that can then provide detailed maps of crop growth. This allows for maps of crop yield to be created, which can be used for further refinements when the next application of fertiliser or spray is required. Supporting this process, tractors can now essentially ‘drive themselves’ to levels of accuracy that are between 25–50mm. This is done using global positioning systems (GPS) that have been long proven in other industries. But why the need for such accuracy? Because there is a direct correlation between accuracy and real cost savings. Using the previous example, if a farmer is spraying a field, as the tractor turns the arms of the sprayer, it may spray over an area that has already been sprayed, essentially spraying it twice. With the new system, the equipment knows exactly where it has been, knows the reach of the sprayer’s booms and ensures there’s no overspray. With

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Stuart Wilkes is a freelance technology writer, living in Malvern. He can be contacted through LinkedIn at ▷ uk.linkedin.com/in/

Image: John Deere

Image: John Deere

Image: CASE / IH

stuartjwilkes/

farmers easily spraying hundreds of acres of crops, a saving of 10 per cent could mean a dozen acres of spray saved. Better for the farmer and better for the environment too. It doesn’t stop there because when the harvest approaches, the harvesting equipment is also loaded with sensors that can give real-time quality indications of the harvested crop. All this data is uploaded to the cloud service for further analysis. Farming, especially arable farming, is becoming more and more data driven. Does this mean that the farmer is soon to be out of a job? Not at all, they have been promoted to operations managers, if you will, overseeing a range of complex data-driven procedures to meet quality and cost constraints. In fact, this new

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technology is actively encouraging a new younger generation of smartphone-savvy farmers to continue within the industry that, until now, had been seeing a drain of youngsters.

Top: A fully autonomous tractor concept. Left: A yield map. Right: Equipment can be monitored

If that wasn’t enough, drone technology is coming to the market too, which will allow a farmer to send out a drone to monitor a crop, or an animal herd, without the need for him or her to leave their farmyard. It all may sound like science fiction, but it’s not. The potential for continued technological

remotely.

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Image: CASE / IH

Image: Stuart Wilkes

Image: John Deere

TECH

Top: Modern technology prevents ‘overspray’. Middle: An agricultural communications receiver. Bottom: A fully autonomous tractor concept.

advancements in agriculture is so great that small start-up companies are being funded to the tune of millions of pounds to make the fully connected farm – the ‘smart farm’ – a reality.

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So if you do see a tractor going about its work in a Worcestershire field and the driver seems to be looking at his smartphone as opposed to the job in hand, they are probably not checking their social media feeds, but more than likely checking on the quality of the crop that will ultimately end up on all of our dining tables. 

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FOOD & DRINK HERITAGE

Image: Stocks Farm

a STORM

From ancient Egypt, their introduction into Worcestershire and the occasional riot, hops have a fascinating history. Pippa Sanderson visits Suckley’s Stocks Farm to find out more

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s far back as the first century AD, hops were described as a salad plant and are believed to originate from Egypt. Hops were cultivated in the Low Countries (modernday Belgium and Holland) from the thirteenth century and were probably introduced from Flanders to England (in the Maidstone area of Kent) at the end of the fifteenth century. Our national drink until then had been ale, unhopped and sometimes flavoured with herbs such as wormwood. Brewers started to import dried Flemish hops but these contained so much extraneous matter that an Act of Parliament was passed in 1603 imposing penalties on merchants and brewers found dealing in hops adulterated with ‘leaves, stalks, powder, sand, straw and with loggetts of wood drosse’. In those early days, the sole reason for using hops was to preserve the beer and, eventually, the bittering effect was reluctantly accepted by Englishmen. By the seventeenth century, ale (i.e. unhopped beer) was no longer popular and beer was the established drink, and, by 1655, hop cultivation grew rapidly in 14 counties.

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In a successful year, an acre of good hops could be more profitable than 50 acres of arable land, but some farmers would not grow hops due to the erratic yields caused by drought, wet periods and mildew. Duty was imposed in 1710, which prohibited the use of any bittering agent other than hops in beer. The duty varied from year to year and speculation on the tax became a popular form of betting. Image: Stocks Farm

Image: Stocks Farm

Image: Pippa Sanderson

Brewing up

Customers began to ask for a drink that was mixed from two or more casks. This was a slow process and, in 1722, a new beer was brewed that was a combination of three beers. It was an immediate success and became known as ‘porter’ due to its popularity with London labourers and porters. This was the first beer that was ideal for mass production

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Images this page: Pippa Sanderson

The nineteenth century was a golden age for hops. Hop acreage continued to increase until 1878 when it reached its peak with 77,000 acres. Tastes changed with the decline in the demand for porter, but grew for a lighter, more fashionable beer, known as Indian, or Pale Ale. However, pasteurization in the late 1870s led to fewer hops being needed as a preservative. Clean water also became more available and this may have reduced the demand for beer.

and heavy investment was required. Immense profits could be made and porter brewing spread throughout the country. By 1750, paler beer was becoming fashionable with the middle classes and, to prevent fraud, a further Act was passed requiring the bags or ‘pockets’ in which the hops were packed to be stencilled with the year, place of growth and the grower’s name; a tradition that continues to this day.

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The courtyard of Worcester’s Hop Market Hotel at the corner of Sansome Street and Foregate Street was the location for the annual, lively hop market but, in September 1901, ‘Disorderly scenes at Worcester hop market’ were reported by the Worcester Advertiser. As the harvest had been abundant that year, hop merchants were mobbed by growers unhappy with the price they’d been offered. ‘The day of the great fair presented a scene of unprecedented disorder, which almost deserved to be called a riot’, the paper stated. There were only 32,000 acres of land growing hops by 1909 and foreign hops began to be imported. This was because breweries were contracted to brew foreign beers under licence, and thus were required to use the hops stipulated in the original recipes.

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Some 23 years later, hop acreage had fallen to 16,500. The producer-controlled Hops Marketing Board was created to control the flagging industry. The board would negotiate a guaranteed price with the growers and the brewers would indicate their expected demand to the board, resulting in allocated quotas to each grower. This brought stability and, by 1968, acreage had slowly increased to 17,900. However, in 1982, EEC rules led to its disbanding and the introduction of independent producer groups for the marketing of English hops. The hop industry soon faced further problems as lager gained in popularity and fewer hops were required. In addition, the seeded hops produced in the UK were purported, by competing countries, to be of inferior quality. This was disproved but the myth caused considerable damage to the British hop industry. Formerly, hops were grown in almost every region of the UK, but they are now confined largely to the West Midlands and southeastern counties of England. Because a huge itinerant force of workers was needed to pick the crop by hand, production became concentrated near the industrial areas of London, South Wales and the West Midlands, where working-class families were glad to be able to spend their annual holidays in the countryside. However, twentieth century advances in mechanical harvesting eliminated the need for large numbers of seasonal workers. In 1922, the first hop-picking machine to be used in the country was imported from America by a Worcester grower. Machine

picking didn’t become widely practised until the 1950s though as the American machines were not suited to UK conditions and hand pickers were still available. However, when the change came, it was the West Midland growers who led the way. The first British-made picking machine was produced in Martley in 1934 and the two main makes were manufactured in Suckley and Malvern.

First page top: A hedgerow hop field. First page left: Seasonal family workers brewing up in the hop garden, circa 1950. First page right: The only way to string the

In the twenty-first century, a major success has been the cultivation of a new category of hop called the hedgerow hop, which only grows to eight foot tall rather than the traditional 20. They are cheaper to establish, can be harvested at speed by machine, require less labour input and provide a wonderful playground for beneficial bugs and insects.

hop yard framework

And in 2016, British hop farmers have reason to celebrate as a resurgence in craft and real ale brewing means demand for the little green flower, an essential ingredient in beer, has risen almost 10 per cent this year. 

Previous page top

was to don stilts. Circa 1950. First page bottom: Pressing hops into a ‘pocket’, circa 1950. Previous page top left: Harvesting the tall hops. right: The Bruff hoppicking machine, dating to the 1930s, made in Suckley and still very much in use today.

Stocks Farm is a 200-year-old hop and apple farm in Suckley, Worcestershire. Spanning 200 acres, it is one of the largest hop producers in England, harvesting enough hops for a dizzying 46 million pints of beer. It has been in the Capper family for more than half a century and is the only farm in Britain selling its more than 10 varieties of British hops direct to home brewers around the world. It works closely with the British Hop Association and Wye Hops to identify new English hop varieties with potential for the future. The farm comes alive in the spring with apple blossom and is open for visits throughout the summer, up to the harvest in September, when it becomes a real hub of activity. Its annual open day, usually in September, includes a tour of the apple orchards and hop yards, concluding with a tour of the Bruff hop-picking machine and hop kilns. During the 2016 open day, the farm welcomed more than 60 visitors from across the UK. School visits are also catered for, tailored to suit the individual needs of the class year group. Topics such as pollination, the climate, soil quality, wildlife and ‘a day in the life on the farm’, can be covered, along with more complex subjects for older children, often related to local history, geography or the science curriculum.

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Previous page British Hop Grower, Alison Capper,

middle left: A view

of Stocks Farm.

of the Bruff hoppicking machine from one end. The hops are separated from the leaves and stalks as they move

Image: Rod Kirkpatrick/F Stop Press

About Stocks Farm

around an elaborate system of pulleys, conveyor belts and open spinning wheels, before being dried and bailed. Previous page middle right: Hops entering the Bruff hop-picking machine

OPENING TIMES: Stocks Farm is open

for farm tours between April–October. Prior booking is essential. Please call the farm office on 01886 884202.

To purchase hops for home brewing, visit ▷ www.stocksfarm.net. More information about British hops can be found on the British Hop Association’s website ▷ www.britishhops.org.uk

from the other end. Over the five-week harvest, the noisy, but gentle, machine processes some 80 tons of hop flowers. Previous page bottom: Finished hops packed into a 60kg bale.

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LEGAL

Are you prepared . . . for the what ifs? The prospect of being physically or mentally incapable of managing our personal affairs through advanced age, injury or illness can be a frightening thought that not many of us want to consider. However, there may come a time when, try as we may, we have no choice. Solicitor Scott Cammish outlines the benefits of making timely arrangements to prepare wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney

Making a will

There are many reasons why a significant proportion of the UK population die without leaving a will. Contemplating our own mortality is perhaps not the kind of subject matter that encourages us to make what is arguably the single most important document of our lives. Perhaps people believe that they simply do not need a will and that their loved ones will be adequately provided for (which as we will see cannot be guaranteed) or that they are ‘too young’ to need one. I have regularly been informed by clients that they have been ‘putting off’ writing a will for years, yet the importance of doing so cannot be underestimated. The principal benefit of making a will is that it gives a person full control of where their assets are distributed following their death. In the absence of a will, the law dictates how someone’s estate is divided under the rules of intestacy. Certain classes of potential beneficiaries are at a major disadvantage under these rules, not least an unmarried partner, who would not be entitled to receive anything from their deceased partner’s estate, for example. I am reminded of a case reported some years ago where a man died without making a will, who was not married and had no children. Under the rules of intestacy, his closest surviving next of kin were his parents, who had divorced decades earlier. His father had subsequently had no contact with his son during the intervening period yet, despite this, both parents were entitled to an equal share of the estate.

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Making a will is also very important for parents with young children, as guardians can be chosen to care for them if the worst should happen. This can also avoid family disputes where no such persons are appointed. Another benefit of preparing a will for those with more substantial assets is that it can often be structured in such a way as to reduce a person’s liability to Inheritance Tax (IHT). For example, any property passing to a surviving spouse, civil partner or a charity is fully exempt from IHT. Furthermore, if someone leaves at least 10 per cent of their net estate to charity in their will, a reduced rate of IHT will apply to their estate. A will also allows someone to choose who will be responsible for administering the estate, known as the executors. It can also state a person’s preferences regarding their funeral arrangements, whether this be burial or cremation, the type of funeral service and also deal with other issues, such as organ donation. These examples hopefully illustrate why making a will, ideally with the benefit of professional legal advice, is something each of us should consider. This has the added benefit of giving us peace of mind in the knowledge that those we care about the most have been provided for in the best way possible.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Few of us wish to consider the prospect of being physically or mentally incapable of managing our personal affairs through

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Image: Brian Jackson – Fotolia

advanced age, injury or illness. Yet this is a very real issue facing many people who are no longer able to deal with such matters on their own. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives someone the right to choose one or more persons (known as their attorneys) to deal with their affairs when they are unable to do so and can significantly reduce the administrative burden faced by their families. There are two types of LPA. One deals with a person’s assets (Property and Financial Affairs), which can authorise attorneys to pay bills, operate bank accounts, make applications for benefits and allowances, make gifts or buy and sell property. The other governs healthcare needs (Health and Welfare) and can give attorneys power to make decisions regarding where a person should live, what medical treatment they should receive and what food they eat, as well as other matters concerning their daily routines. Before an attorney can act on someone’s behalf, the completed LPA must be submitted (with a fee of £110.00) to The Office of the Public Guardian for registration. An attorney must be at least 18 and not bankrupt, and should be someone who is trusted. By way of a safeguard, it is a requirement that they must act in a person’s ‘best interests’ and in accordance with principles stated in the Mental Capacity Act 2005. It should be noted that a Health and Welfare LPA can only be used where a person lacks mental capacity, whereas a Property and Financial Affairs LPA can be used not only in the event of

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incapacity, but also while a person has capacity but is unable to deal with matters themselves, for example, if they are unwell or out of the country. A person must have full mental capacity to make an LPA and this is a very important reason why an application should not be delayed. To take the example of an elderly person diagnosed with dementia, if they are considered to be incapable of making an LPA through a lack of capacity, the only alternative at this stage would be for someone to agree to act on their behalf (such as a close relative) and then seek an order from the Court of Protection appointing them as Deputy for that person. The process of applying for such an order is far more detailed, lengthy and costly, and the ongoing administrative burden and costs are also greater.  Scott specialises in legal services for individual clients, including wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Probate and Trust work. He is Head of Private Client at Russell & Co Solicitors and can be contacted at: Russell & Co Solicitors Holland House Church Street Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 2AH 01684 892000 scammish@russell-law.co.uk

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SPORT

WE ARE

WARRIORS The Worcester Rugby Football Club was founded in 1871, owing its inception to the cleric, Rev Francis John Eld, former Headmaster of the Grammar School in Worcester

T

he club made its first outing on 8 November 1871 against the Worcester Artillery at Somerset Place, Barbourne, Worcester. Then, in 1893, it moved to Pitchcroft and a field adjoining Worcestershire County Cricket Club at New Road. Unfortunately, in 1896, the club was disbanded. In 1908, the club was revived, playing matches at Pitchcroft and Northwick. Two years later, the start of annual general meetings, which still occur today, cemented the team. However, in 1913,

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only one game was played against Gloucester Franciscans before the onset of World War I.

1920–29

Two years after the end of the war, the club was reborn and, with its first match away at Bromsgrove, a number of new recruits from Malvern, Droitwich, Pershore and Bromyard led the committee to create an

Above: The Warriors’ 2016/17 team. Next page: Aerial photograph of Warriors’ Sixways stadium.

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A and B team. The club continued to grow during the 1920s, playing in the traditional colours of narrow band yellow on blue.

purchase. (The move happened quickly and the official opening of the club’s new home took place on 5 September 1956.) In 1955, it was decided that the club should have a chairman and GH Day was elected to the post.

1980–89

Eager to build on its growing status, the club enjoyed great success on both sides of the pond. In the 1980/81 season, the 1st XV played 45 games and secured 19 wins, 1930–39 but conceded 638 points, the most points This period saw a very strong team and ever recorded against the club team. community spirit develop and, during Worcester tasted silverware the 1931/32 season, the club as it won the Worcester played 30 games, winning 27 The club embarked on a tour to Canada and the Sevens in September, which of them. However, although the team was doing well, the USA in May 1980 and, before the tour, received a was hosted at Sixways. The 1930s saw the club having letter from Downing Street penned by the Prime club embarked on a tour to Canada and the USA in problems with its ground, Minister Margaret Thatcher herself.” May 1980 and, before the having to move to various tour, received a letter from sites, which resulted in the Downing Street penned by the Prime negotiation and the paying of a deposit 1960–69 Minister Margaret Thatcher herself. It still for a ground opposite the Ketch Inn in The club entered the 1960s having made hangs proudly on the wall at the entrance Kempsey. World War II then broke out, great strides in the playing strengths to the clubhouse today. and the club lost its deposit. and facilities of the clubhouse at Bevere. Although this growth saw five senior and two colts teams, a decline hit the club and, 1940–49 1990–99 by 1968, the colts teams had disappeared The war made regular matches difficult Unprecedented success in the 1990s saw altogether. In 1965, it was reported by and it was decided the club should be the club rocket through the leagues. Most David Payner, joint Hon Treasurer with Bill closed down. It restarted at the conclusion Richardson, that the club was in a ‘very of hostilities in 1945 and, following the unstable position’ financially. Membership disappointment of Kempsey, the club was, however, growing and another side secured land at Claines, with the first was created. The playing strength saw game played there in November. The the club have two peaks in 1966/67, with following year, bad weather prevented the 1st XV recording 27 victories under the a full season and saw the club move to leadership of Peter Baxter. a new home by the canal at Perdiswell, with the Saracen’s Head used for changing rooms. That season also saw 1970–79 the formation of the Ground Purchase The club entered the 1970s in a strong and Development Fund. position, but the issue of a home continued to dominate debate. The club At the end of the 1940s, the location continued to play at Bevere for the early of the club changed again, with the part of the 1970s before a move was headquarters moving to the Old Talbot secured to Sixways. The official opening Hotel in Sidbury and the home ground to of the new site took place on 4 September crucially, the decade saw the arrival of Bilford Road. 1975, with the ribbon cut by world famous Cecil Duckworth, who drove the club Irish international, CMH Gibson MBE. A forward. It was Mr Duckworth who few weeks later, the floodlights were used supported the Lottery bid that saw a 1950–59 on 24 September as a President’s XV took grant of £1.3 million awarded to the club. The club settled in at Bilford Road and, on a Public Schools XV. With his guidance, the club enjoyed huge with a series of successful seasons, the success and Worcester changed beyond decision was made to try and improve The club celebrated its centenary in 1971 all recognition in the space of a few years. the facilities, which resulted in a shed and made the Cup Final in the 1976/77 National Division Five and Four were being purchased to serve as a players’ season, sadly losing 13–10 to Dudley in conquered and, in 1997, the club cloakroom and shelter. The club the North Midlands Final. In 1977/78, the again won promotion to Jewson One. embarked on its first Easter Tour in 1953, club was named North Midlands Sevens’ Promotion to Allied Dunbar Premier playing in Weston-super-Mare. On 15 winners. It ended the 1970s in good Division Two followed in the 1999–2000 January 1954, a new ground at Bevere health, with the first team even going on season, when the division was re-named (near Claines) was mentioned for the first tour to France. First Division Rugby. time in the club’s minutes as a possible

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When the game went professional in 1996, Cecil Duckworth decided that if Worcester – now named Worcester Warriors – was going to be successful, it had to be professional with full-time players. Les Cusworth arrived to lead the club; however, an administrative mistake proved the defining moment as Worcester lost promotion to the very highest level at the first attempt as points were deducted for fielding Tom Robinson, who was not properly registered with the team.

beating the likes of Northampton Saints, Saracens and Bath Rugby to secure a tenth-place finish.

2000–09

2013–16

Worcester Warriors started the decade in National Division One and was denied a place in the elite until the 2003/04 season under the guidance of John Brain. The club was promoted to the Zurich – now Aviva – Premiership after winning the title with a perfect record of 26 wins from 26 games in the 2003/04 season, something that had never before been achieved. In the 2005/06 season, the club avoided relegation again and safety was secured long before the final-day drama. The season culminated in an eighth-place finish in the league, one place higher than the previous campaign. In Europe, Warriors made the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup but lost out to local rivals Gloucester at Kingsholm. Despite some last-day drama in the 2006/07 season, Worcester Warriors stayed up at the expense of Northampton and kept its status in the top flight for a further three years.

In 2012/13, Hill’s men started the season brightly with victories over London Irish, Sale Sharks and Saracens, but the second half of the campaign witnessed just one win in the final 11 games. That left Warriors just one place above the relegation zone and the departure of Hill was confirmed with two matches remaining.

A summer of change followed in 2013 with the appointment of Dean Ryan as Director of Rugby, who completely changed the focus of the club to ensure he could bring long-term success to Sixways. Ryan couldn’t prevent relegation during his first season in charge, but focused his attentions on attracting young talent who were trapped at other clubs, and Warriors announced the signings of players such as Sam Smith, Ryan Mills and Nick Schonert ahead of the 2014/15 season. Ryan also added the experience of players such as Welsh international, Jonathan Thomas, explosive winger Tom Biggs and Aviva Premiership winner GJ van Velze, who was handed the captain’s armband ahead of his first season at the club. Ryan, together with High Performance Director, Nick Johnston, also built behind the scenes, with the recruitment of the necessary back-room staff to offer players essential off-thefield medical, nutritional, and strength and conditioning support.

Warriors suffered relegation under Mike Ruddock in 2009/10 but bounced straight back to the Premiership at the first time of asking following a superb season in the Championship with new boss Richard Hill at the helm. Hill’s men topped the league, winning 21 of their 22 matches before winning all six of their pool matches to ensure a home semi-final in the play-offs.

Warriors went on to enjoy a remarkable 2014/15 campaign as it won the British & Irish Cup after winning all nine of its games, while second-string side Worcester Cavaliers reached the Aviva A League final for the first time in its history. And at the first time of asking, Ryan led Warriors back to the Aviva Premiership after two nail-biting ties against Bristol Rugby in the Greene King IPA Championship Final.

The 2011/12 season saw Warriors consolidate a place in the Premiership,

Warriors’ first season back in the Aviva Premiership during the 2015/16

2010–13

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campaign was a success following the redevelopment of the Indoor Training Centre, which became a state-of-theart High Performance Centre to give Warriors some of the best training facilities in the country. It was a season of firsts at Sixways as Warriors recorded a club record four consecutive Premiership victories before South African international, Francois Hougaard, became the club’s first-ever player to win the Aviva Premiership Player of the Month award for his performances throughout March. Warriors secured a tenth-placed finish and started to make

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SPORT

real progress with seven victories. Hougaard soon put pen to paper on a permanent deal with Warriors, while Dean Ryan also signed the likes of Ben Te’o and Jackson Willison ahead of the 2016/17 campaign. And there was also one other major development as Warriors announced that the Sixways pitch would become an artificial grass pitch ahead of the 2016/17 season. Dean Ryan left the club in June 2016.

2016 – The journey continues

Warriors’ Tom Heathcote is challenged by Brendan Cope of Jersey Reds during a pre-season friendly in August 2016.

For more information about fixtures, rugby news, players, tickets and travel, visit:

▷ www.warriors.co.uk

Image: Rogan Thomson/JMP

Following Dean Ryan’s departure, Warriors announced that Head Coach, Carl Hogg, and High Performance Director, Nick Johnston, would be responsible for Warriors’ continued progression on the pitch. Hogg would now

take control of all first-team affairs, while Johnston would oversee the back-room set-up. Both had been essential components of Ryan’s regime and were in a prime position to ensure Warriors’ long-term vision to become a successful European Champions Cup side could eventually come to fruition. 

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HEALTH

Making great

strides

Increasingly popular as people realise the added benefits of staying fit and healthy in a safe, achievable, physically and mentally beneficial way, Jenny Walsh dons her trainers and goes power walking

less gruelling way than jogging. It is also kinder on joints and, according to medical experts, can reduce varicose veins, help drain excess lower leg fluid and be better for our spine due to less pressure on our discs. This form of exercise burns the same amount of calories as running if done briskly, boosts circulation and carries less risk and potential for injury. It is low-impact but you can see results really quickly if done regularly and energetically. Muscles will feel toned, complexion may look healthier and weight loss is more than likely. Image: Blazej Lyjak

Getting started

I

f you don’t like stuffy gyms or are generally struggling to find the time to do any form of exercise at all, power walking may just be for you. With lots of benefits and the chance for some fresh air in beautiful surroundings, many of us are turning to this fun, low-impact, yet challenging form of exercise. There are even groups for single people looking to meet a special friend along the way! More than just a jaunt down a country path or a leisurely stroll to the local convenience store, power walkers need to stride out in a brisk fashion, build up a sweat and get their hearts and lungs working harder. For some, swinging the arms energetically to burn off extra calories and tone up more muscles is also part of this satisfying exercise regime.

Health benefits

Power walking is cardiovascular exercise; it strengthens the heart and lungs and increases overall fitness in a safe, more versatile,

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As with the uptake of any new exercise, it’s best to mention it to your doctor before launching into a fitness regime you’re not used to. The correct footwear is essential so invest in a good pair of shock-absorbing fitness shoes or trainers; doing so will actually make it all seem easier. Bouncing along rather than struggling on a hard sole will help you to sustain a pace and enjoy the experience far more; this inevitably means you will want to keep it up. If you’re really keen, get yourself an activity tracker or download an exercise app on your phone to record distance, pace and the amount of calories burned. To spur you on even further, listening to upbeat music or investing in some trendy fitness clothing is great, but any comfortable, loose-fitting gear is absolutely fine. Walking first thing in the morning is considered to be the best time and it can really help you to enjoy the rest of your day. But equally, if you’ve been in the office all day, an after-work power walk can de-stress and help you sleep better.

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Im

Power walking tips

If possible, choose a route away from traffic to avoid unhealthy fumes; a circular route is better than having to double back on yourself too. If you live in an isolated area, carry a mobile phone and don’t play loud music in both ears so that you’re aware of people, cyclists or vehicles approaching. Carry a water bottle to sip along the way and start off slowly, building up the pace after around five minutes. Stride out with your legs but, to prevent soreness and damage, try to place your heel down before your whole foot so you’re rolling along rather than slamming down on the bottom of your soles. Building up and slowing down the pace to get your heart working harder throughout your walk is recommended and is a far more enjoyable way to exercise than pounding yourself non-stop into an exhausted standstill! If you can find a bit of a hill or incline on your route, then even better, as this will stretch muscles and get your heart and lungs working even harder. Don’t forget to swing your arms backwards and forwards energetically to gain momentum; this also tones arm muscles and burns extra calories. Try to regulate your breathing, taking a breath in through your nose for a count of four before exhaling through your mouth; breathing correctly enables you to keep up the pace as well as oxygenating your whole body, which will improve stamina. Power walking with a friend or in small social groups will not only add enjoyment but means you are less likely to give up! Arrange to meet at a certain time and place regularly, and maybe treat yourself to a sociable coffee together afterwards. Don’t forget to reduce your pace gradually when coming towards the end of your walk; don’t just stop without winding down; do a few stretches at the end of your routine to prevent stiffness and damaged muscles. Look online for suitable wind-down exercises.

There are lots of walking and rambling groups in Worcestershire including:

▷ www.walkingforhealth.org.uk, a group set up by Worcester County Council Adult Services and Health offering the chance to join local groups, advice and good practice. ▷ www.worcesterramblers.org.uk, a varied programme of walks, typically in the beautiful Worcestershire countryside. Experience the groups before paying a small joining fee.

▷ www.singleboots.co.uk, for single people to meet others and socialise along the way.

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ag e:

Dm

itr

iy

Go

lb ay

500 The amount of miles a typical pair of trainers will do during its lifetime

Added benefits

Those of us over 50 will experience less problems if we are sensible in the type and amount of exercise we do. Making the right choices will reduce side effects and long-term damage, which means we can enjoy exercise right through to retirement and beyond. If we can find time for some fresh air and do some walking or light exercise every day, it will help boost vitality, give us a healthy appetite and improve our general well-being. If you really get the bug for walking, why not join a local walking group or rambling association? It’s a great way to get out in the beautiful Worcestershire countryside, make new friends and socialise in a fun way. Take your new exercise regime wherever you go; walking along the beach while on holiday is a lovely way to explore your surroundings and burn off those extra calories we all find ourselves consuming. Some people find walking in the rain even more revitalising and it will certainly keep you cool along the way. How often? Government guidelines suggest we should exercise for 30 minutes, five times a week. As walking is considered one of the safest forms of exercise, you can increase amounts quickly; however, be sensible and get advice before doing so. 

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FASHION

2

Fat Face men’s striped crew neck sweater (more colours available): £45.00 from Fat Face, 96 High Street, Worcester WR1 2HL ▷ www.fatface.com

1

Apricot Green lace hem jumper with scalloped lace to the cuffs and hem, also available in stone: £29.00 from House of Fraser and New Look, Crowngate, Worcester

4 Custom-made Henryka Knit in Grey and Blue: £109 from Stripes, 13 The Foregate, Worcester WR1 3QD

3

▷ www.stripesfashion.co.uk

A Postcard From Brighton Grey Cable Roll Neck Jumper: £53.99 from ▷ www.designerdesirables.com and Swan, Friar Street, Worcester 66 |

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6

A Postcard From Brighton Blanky Cerise Polo Neck Chunky Poncho: £59.99 from ▷ www.

designerdesirables. com and Swan, Friar

5

Street, Worcester

Apricot Black multi-coloured digital fine knit jumper: £22.00 from House of Fraser and New Look, Crowngate, Worcester

Fabulous knits

Wrap up warmly and make a fashion statement all in one go now the seasonal weather is upon us. Choose from a range of textured, beautifully designed knitted sweaters, shawls and cardigans in a range of colours and styles, all available locally or online. Popular sizes can sell out quickly so don’t leave it all until the last minute if you’re going to surprise someone this Christmas. Most stores will give you an extended receipt for returns after the big day if you tell them it’s a gift. . . .

Fat Face men’s moss coloured cotton cashmere jumper (more colours available): £42.00 from Fat Face, 96 High Street, Worcester WR1 2HL ▷ www.fatface.com

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FOOD & DRINK

Image: Georgia Moore

This moist, scrumptious cake is tasty and packed with flavour. Treat yourself to a slice at elevenses or invite friends around for afternoon tea!

Carrot and apricot loaf with orange drizzle INGREDIENTS yy yy yy yy yy yy yy

175 g caster sugar 100 g self-raising flour 75 g ground almonds 6 fl oz olive or rapeseed oil 2 medium oranges 2 large or 3 medium carrots 5 dried apricots, chopped finely yy 75 g raisins yy 2 heaped tsp cinnamon yy 2 tsp grated nutmeg

yy 3 eggs yy 1 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda yy 100 g icing sugar yy Walnuts (as shown) or nuts of your choice to decorate

METHOD Preheat the oven: Gas mark 5 or 190ᵒC or 180ᵒC fan-assisted oven. Line a standard loaf tin with parchment baking paper, greasing the tin lightly first with a little butter or margarine Tip: The easiest way to do this is to cut two sheets of parchment measuring exactly the width and length of the tin and place diagonally across the tin, pressing into the greased sides. 1. Finely grate the peel from the oranges, removing just the orange skin. Squeeze the remaining oranges and set the juice aside. 2. Into a large mixing bowl, place the sugar, oil and eggs, and grate in the carrots. Stir to mix well. 3. Sift in the flour and add the ground almonds, chopped apricots, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, bicarbonate of soda and orange peel. Stir well to combine evenly. 4. Place the mixture into the lined tin, ensuring it is evenly spread. 5. Bake in the centre of the oven for 45–50 minutes. Tip: Before removing from the oven, insert a thin knife into the centre of the cake to the bottom. If it comes out clean with no sticky, uncooked mixture attached, the cake is done. If not, allow a further 5–10 minutes cooking time. 6. Allow the cake to cool in the tin before turning out onto a wire cooling rack or chopping board ready to decorate.

Spicy turkey burgers in a brioche bun Served with crispy sweet potato wedges (serves six) INGREDIENTS For the burgers yy 750 g fresh turkey mince yy 1 Spanish onion yy 2 chillies, red and/or green yy Bunch of coriander yy Ground black pepper yy 1 level tsp salt yy 1 egg yy Olive oil for frying yy 1 tbsp flour

For the wedges yy 6 large sweet potatoes yy Salt and pepper yy Oil for coating Salad leaves, red onion and tomato to garnish. Mayonnaise or relish optional.

yy 6 brioche burger buns METHOD Sweet potato wedges. Preheat the oven: Gas mark 6 or 200ᵒC. Peel the potatoes and slice lengthways into thick wedges. Toss them in olive oil and sprinkle well with salt and pepper before placing on a flat baking tray at the top of a hot oven. After 20 minutes, remove and turn, drizzling over any spare oil. Cook for a further 15–20 minutes until golden and crisp. Burgers. 1. Place the turkey mince into a large mixing bowl. 2. Finely chop the chillies and onion, and add to the mince. 3. Chop a handful of fresh coriander, leaves only, and add to the mix. 4. Add lots of ground black pepper, the salt and the egg, and stir the whole thing together, mixing well. 5. Divide the mixture into large patties; squeeze together in the palm of your hand and flatten into burger shapes. 6. Place them on a lightly floured plate, turning to coat both sides. 7. Heat up a good drizzle of oil in a flat frying pan and fry well, turning once or twice until the burgers are a golden brown colour and cooked through. Tip: avoid turning them too often, which may cause them to break up. Alternatively, grill on a barbecue or bake in a hot oven for half an hour. To serve. Slice the brioche buns in half, warm slightly in a microwave or on the barbecue before adding the burgers and salad garnish. Serve with the crispy hot wedges, straight from the oven. These delicious melt-inthe-mouth burgers will be a welcome change at any event; and served with crispy sweet potato wedges, they make a nutritious, hearty meal that everyone will enjoy

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Image: Georgia Moore

For the drizzle, mix a little orange juice with the icing sugar to form a drizzle that isn’t too thick, but which won’t run straight off the cake. Drizzle over the top of the cooled cake. Tip: Make sure the cake is fully cooled or it will melt the icing too much causing it to run off. Decorate with chopped walnuts or similar . . . and enjoy!

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Image: Georgia Moore

Roasted vegetable soup

This delicious, appetising, vibrant soup, with lots of colour and texture, is easy to make and makes a nutritious snack or main meal. . . . INGREDIENTS: makes six good sized portions yy 1 whole butternut squash yy 2 large carrots yy 1 medium onion yy 6 garlic cloves yy 1 pepper yy 1–2 chillies yy 3 tbsp tomato purée yy 1 pint of chicken or vegetable stock yy 100 ml olive oil yy Parsley yy Black pepper METHOD Preheat the oven: Gas mark 5 or 190ᵒC or 180ᵒC fan-assisted oven. 1. Peel the butternut squash and cut it into large cubes, approximately two inches square. 2. Wash and dry the carrots, and cut into quarters. 3. Peel the garlic.

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This delicious, appetising, vibrant soup, with lots of colour and texture, is easy to make and makes a nutritious snack or main meal. . . .

4. Deseed the chillies and peppers, and cut in half lengthways. 5. Peel the onion and cut into quarters. 6. Place all the vegetables in a large roasting dish and drizzle well with olive oil, making sure you stir them around so they are fully coated in oil. 7. Place the dish in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, checking half way through and stirring again to ensure even cooking. If the garlic cloves appear too well done, remove them before they burn and add again at the final blending stage. Tip: Overdone garlic produces a bitter, non-appetising flavour! 8. When all the vegetables are roasted and softened, place in a large bowl or saucepan and add half the stock and tomato purée. 9. Use a hand blender or food processor to blend, adding more stock until you reach your preferred consistency. Tip: If you don’t have a blender or processor, use a potato masher. 10. Serve hot with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and black pepper, and some nice crusty bread. Add a side of cheese and olives to turn the dish into an even more hearty, fulfilling meal. This roasted vegetable soup can be frozen in meal-sized portions for up to three months.

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FOOD & DRINK

Great autumn/winter

wines

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The secrets for a nice body: alcohol & glycerol

Since I am a sommelier, you may have guessed that we are talking about the body of a wine (no pun intended, huh?), a characteristic that is extremely important to match our favourite autumn and winter dishes. We all know what alcohol is, but what about glycerol? And why is it widely regarded as a key element in wine body and viscosity? Glycerol is synthesised from glucose within yeast cells during fermentation, and it is the most abundant compound in wine after water and ethanol. The richer (in sugars) the grapes, the more alcohol and glycerol you get in your glass. Although glycerol is not as important as alcohol to increase the body of a wine, it does play a substantial part due to its ‘almost sweet’ taste. Cool climate wine regions usually do not have the right conditions during the summer to develop high levels of sugar concentration in their grapes, so it is better to look south . . . or north depending on which hemisphere you’re in!

Why not try: ŠŠ Berton Vineyards, Foundstone ChardonnayViognier (Australia, £9.29) ŠŠ Alfredo Maestro, Viña Almate Tempranillo (Spain, £10.49) ŠŠ Cousiño Macul, Isidora Riesling (Chile, £11.49)

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Imagine this scenario: a rainy day in December, a glass of a rich, full-bodied wine and you, just relaxing after a busy day. I personally believe life does not get much better than this, and I am sure this statement is going to find a huge number of followers out there! For many of us, the changing seasons come with changing preferences in wine. The crisp whites we crave in summer give way to heartier reds in the autumn and winter months. Finding wines enjoyable during the cold season is not at all difficult because we have a wider range of options available, from celebratory vintage champagnes to full-bodied red wines; from rich whites, to luxurious fortified wines. As usual, personal preference trumps everything else. Michele Longari, sommelier for the Greater Malvern Wine Society (GMWS) and Hay Wines outlines some general guidelines to help you decide which wines to choose in the coming months

2

Tannicity: a polyhedric ally

Tannins are naturally occurring polyphenols that are present in wine grape seeds and skins in particular. They are most commonly found in red wines, since they are made by leaving the must (the pressed grape juice containing seeds and stems) in contact with the skins for a few days during the alcoholic fermentation. Tannins add both bitterness and astringency to a wine, but they also increase its complexity and texture. They are also very popular among chefs and sommeliers for their ability to elegantly cleanse

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3

Residual sugars can be friends

In wine tasting, you always need to keep in mind that sweetness decreases the sensation of acidity: aka freshness. In fact, in the previous article in WR magazine, where we were talking about summer wines, we said that this was one of the arguments for avoiding wines with residual sugars. For exactly the same reason, we can now say that residual sugars can be helpful in the coming months, as they particularly increase body, viscosity and the general mouthfeel sensations of the wine. In addition, sweet (or slightly sweet) wines are very popular matchings for aged and blue cheeses . . . well, I feel Christmassy already!

Why not try: ŠŠ Baglio Gibellina, U’ Passimiento Terre Siciliane (Italy, £9.99) ŠŠ Rolly Gassmann, Terroir de Chateaux Forts (France, £14.49) ŠŠ Fonseca, Crusted Port (Portugal, £18.49)

All of these wines are available to purchase at Hay Wines, Ledbury: ▷ haywines.co.uk If you want to learn more about this fantastic world, or just want to spend an evening tasting good wine, why not imbibe in one – or more – of these interesting local events and activities:

Friday 11 November, 6.00pm

Market House, Ledbury Hay Wines’ annual wine & spirits portfolio tasting

Friday 18 November, 7.30pm Hay Wines, Ledbury Whisky tasting

Tuesday 22 November, 7.30pm

Gallery 36, Belle Vue Terrace, Malvern Wine list tasting the palate from greasy and fatty foods. So, you can now understand why tannic wines are definitely something you do not want to run out of during the winter season!

Why not try: ŠŠ Finca Las Moras, Black Label Malbec (Argentina, £12.49) ŠŠ Chateau Peynaud, Bordeaux (France, £12.99) ŠŠ Collefrisio, Montelpulciano d’Abruzzo “Filare” (Italy, £12.99)

Friday 2 December, 7.30pm Hay Wines, Ledbury Gin tasting

Friday 16 December, 7.30pm

ELIM International Centre, West Malvern The Greater Malvern Wine Society Xmas wine accompanied dinner

Tuesday 17 January 2017, 7.30pm The Greater Malvern Wine Society Decanter Awards’ winners’ tasting

For more information, visit: Hay Wines at ▷ haywines.co.uk/

wine-tasting/

and Greater Malvern Wine Society at ▷ sites.google.com/site/

thegreatermalvernwinesociety/

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FOOD & DRINK

In 2008 the Rolinson family made the bold decision to establish a vineyard in Welland near Malvern. Theirs is a story of a hobby that became a serious commercial undertaking; from an ambition to prove to family and friends they could produce a decent English wine to a commercial operation with the potential of producing some 25,000 bottles of wine a year

T

his small family vineyard nestles between the foot of the inspirational Malvern Hills and Upton-uponSevern in the Severn Valley. Producing both still and sparkling crisp, light, fruity white and rosé wines, Lovells Vineyard’s continuous pursuit of quality has been acknowledged and rewarded with success in regional and national competitions over recent years. Although the idea of starting a vineyard was a moment of inspiration, the actual job of setting it up took much research, hard work, and trial and error. Making a success of an English vineyard is a constant challenge and an ongoing learning process, especially considering the perfidious UK weather. In April 2010, the Rolinsons started with Orion, Phoenix and red Rondo grapevine varieties; two years later, an additional

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4.5 acres were planted with a selection of 4,000 vines. As well as more Orion and Phoenix, they added Pinot Noir, Siegerrebe, Madeleine Angevine and Seyval Blanc. In December 2013, to complement the varieties at Lovells by adding maturity to the grape selection, the Rolinsons took over the running of the award-winning Elgar Wines of Tiltridge Vineyard, a one hectare site located in Upton-upon-Severn. Lovells Vineyard’s first wines won two silver medals at the 2014 English & Welsh Wine of the Year Competition: its

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Lovells vineyard The art of developing well-balanced, complex, subtle, seductive wines sparkling rosé, Ysobel, a 2012 vintage, along with its Sonatina, a very grown-up rosé. Its Promenades, a fruity, still, dry, white wine, earned a Highly Commended from the judges. In order to keep up with the increasing demand for English wines, a further two sites were planted in 2015, one in closeby Welland Stone in Malvern and a further site on a south-facing slope overlooking a lake on the Malvern Hills. These were planted with classic sparkling wine grape varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In 2016, Lovells took over the running of Coddington Vineyard, a well-established 30-year-old vineyard with award-winning wines, which are stocked by Berry Bros & Rudd in London.

Keen viticulturists, Lovells’ principal focus is on the quality of the grapes, which are hand-picked to ensure they reach maximum sugar levels and ripeness; it is the attention to detail in the growing that ensures the grapes make wonderful wines.

Stockists

The Cheese Board Barnard’s Green, Malvern

Clives Fruit Farm Upton-upon-Severn

Crumpton Hill Farm Shop Malvern

There are now more than 500 vineyards in the UK and the UK Vineyard Association’s Patron is HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, a Royal stamp of approval for English and Welsh wines alike. Lovells’ wines are available for sale directly from the vineyard shop, which is open from Tuesday–Friday 11.00am–4.00pm seasonally from April to December, and from specialist retail outlets and restaurants. 

Hamps Wines at The Fold, Worcester

Hay Wines Ledbury: ▷ www.haywines.co.uk

Hop Pocket Wines Herefordshire: ▷ www.hoppocketwine.co.uk

The Jinney Ring Centre Bromsgrove

Link Wines, Malvern Marks & Spencer Selected stores (Worcester, Malvern, Cheltenham, Evesham, Redditch, Kidderminster, Bristol, Gloucester, Cirencester) and online at ▷ www.marksandspencer.com

Rowberry Farm Shop Chaddesley Corbett

Tewkesbury Abbey, Tewkesbury Upton-upon-Severn Wines ▷ www.uptonwines.co.uk The Verzon Nest, Ledbury

Webbs

Wychbold and Hagley: ▷ www.webbsdirect.co.uk

The Lovells, Garrett Bank, Welland, Malvern Worcestershire WR13 6NF 01684 311110

▷ www.lovellsvineyard.co.uk info@lovellsvineyard.co.uk Facebook: LovellsVineyard Twitter: @ElgarWine

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LATE NEWS

A performance of Haydn’s mighty Nelson Mass by 150 voices in Worcester Cathedral in November is providing a reminder of the city’s own, little-known connection to the naval hero

Concert highlights LORD NELSON’s Royal Worcester connection

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orcester Festival Choral Society will be performing the much-loved choral work at 7.30pm on Saturday 19 November, supported by the Meridian Sinfonia and soloists: wellknown soprano Sarah Fox, mezzo-soprano Susanna Spicer, tenor Ruairi Bowen and baritone Andrew De Silva. Ben Cooper, chairman of Worcester Festival Choral Society said: ‘In selecting Haydn’s Nelson Mass for this concert, we were reminded that Admiral Lord Nelson actually visited Worcester and the cathedral – and ordered a personalised Worcester dinner service – in 1802. The traces of his visit remain with us today, from the name of Copenhagen Street, to the magnificent ‘Nelson’ teapot and plate that are displayed in the Museum of Royal Worcester. It’s therefore both apt and exciting to be performing the Nelson Mass in Worcester Cathedral, which the hero himself visited more than 200 years ago. We’re looking forward to an exceptional concert!’

Of the porcelain, only the breakfast service was completed before Nelson’s death at Trafalgar in 1805, and its pieces were later sold to buyers across the world. However, the impressive teapot and other pieces from the service were purchased for the Museum of Royal Worcester, and are on display there today.

Top: Worcester Festival Choral Society concerts take place in the magnificent surroundings of Worcester Cathedral. Below: Worcester Festival Choral

Tickets for the concert on Saturday 19 November, which also includes American composer Morten Lauridsen’s choral work, Lux Aeterna, range from £10.00– £25.00 and are available from ▷ www.

Society chairman and BBC Bargain Hunt antiques expert, Ben Cooper, admires the Lord

worcesterfestivalchoralsociety. org.uk; Worcester Live Box Office at

Nelson teapot with

Huntingdon Hall (01905 611427); or on the door on the night (subject to availability). 

Worcester manager

Museum of Royal Amanda Savidge.

Haydn wrote the Nelson Mass in 1798, under the title Missa in Angustiis. It is thought that the piece gained its popular name soon after it was performed for Nelson during a visit to Austria in 1800, and a friendship developed between him and the composer. Two years later, Nelson visited Worcester as part of a tour of the West Country, with Emma and Sir William Hamilton. After a hero’s welcome to the city, Nelson visited Chamberlain’s China Works in Severn Street – the original Worcester porcelain – and Mr Chamberlain’s china shop opposite the Guildhall. There he ordered a large breakfast, dinner and dessert service decorated in the Fine Old Japan pattern. Nelson was also entertained in the Guildhall by the Mayor and presented with the Freedom of the City, before touring Worcester Cathedral. In Nelson’s honour, the street alongside the Guildhall was renamed Copenhagen Street.

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I

n May 2016, Hogarths Stone Manor reopened its refurbished, luxury, four star wedding venue and it’s looking forward to demonstrating to bride and grooms what a new and inspiring venue the hotel is for their special day. It has completed a full refurbishment of the Garden Room, which can cater for weddings of up to 200 guests. With new patio doors, it offers guests panoramic views of the lawns and gardens, and with the secret walled garden next door, it is the perfect place for you and your guests to spend your special day. For more intimate weddings, the hotel is proud to offer couples the refurbished

www.hogarths.co.uk/stone-manor-hotel

The refurbishment project at the hotel has drawn the influences of Stone Manor past and has taken great inspiration from the surrounding grounds and gardens Drawing Room; with views overlooking the rose garden, it is the perfect space for weddings of up to 80 guests and, with doors to the garden, it means you can make the most of the hotel’s 27 acres of grounds to explore. If you are looking for something more unique, Hogarths Stone Manor is also proud to offer its festival wedding package. For the more adventurous bride and groom, this is a unique style of wedding reception that will have your guests enjoying the good food and music in its manor house field, with views overlooking the Worcestershire countryside. To make the most of the grounds and gardens, the hotel has also celebrated the building of its new outside wedding venue: The Pump Rooms. You cannot imagine a more idyllic place for your wedding ceremony to take place than this secluded venue;

with views overlooking the ornamental garden, it is one of the most romantic areas at Hogarths Stone Manor and a perfect place to start your married life. The hotel is very proud to release its fantastic venue to newly engaged couples; we have new bespoke wedding packages to cater for all styles of wedding and our head chef has created delicious menus offering choice and variety for your wedding day. Contact the wedding team today to be one of the first to view our refurbished manor. Let us help you make your dream wedding day a reality. Contact sales@stonemanorhotel.com or call 01562 777555. Book a show around this winter and let us treat you to a light afternoon tea.

Perfect place for a winter wedding

‘Happily Ever After’ package •

Arrival drink of Prosecco

Three Course Hogarths Wedding Breakfast

Wedding Coordinator for guidance and to help plan your big day

Two glasses of Signature wine with your meal

Wedding Director to ensure the day runs smoothly

Clipper Tea or Fairtrade coffee with Chocolates

Complimentary Menu Tasting for Bride and Groom

A glass of Prosecco for each guest during the speeches

Evening party with light bite buffet

A Luxurious room for the night of your wedding

Bespoke package available

Come and join the team for a show around followed by cream tea in our newly refurbished surroundings

Join us for our

Wedding fayres 11am – 3pm Sunday 13th November Sunday 22nd January Please RSVP to

sales@stonemanorhotel.com

Contact sales@stonemanorhotel.com to book or call 01562 777555 Quote#2h2hweddings to book

Preregister to claim your free bridal gift Quote 2h2hweddings


Husband + Wife Wedding Photography duo based in Surrey, photographing weddings around the world

www.TheSpringles.com hello@thespringles.com 07976 460 076 Instagram/Facebook @TheSpringles 76 |

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YOUR DREAM WEDDING STARTS HERE With its Virginia Creeper covered facade, landscaped gardens and views over the Vale of Evesham, the Abbey Hotel is a memorable and photogenic wedding venue. Do you dream of Champagne on the lawn on a summer’s day, or a candlelit wedding breakfast? We can make it a reality.

WEDDING FAYRE

WEDDING PACKAGES

FEBRUARY 19TH, 11AM - 3PM

FROM £3,599 FOR 45 GUESTS

Free entry Glass of bubbly on arrival Goody bag and magazines Meet our Weddings and Events Manager See our fabulous suites dressed for a wedding Meet 30 exhibitors to help plan your big day

Civil ceremony Three-course wedding breakfast Drinks package Evening buffet and disco Dedicated Wedding Coordinator

ASK ABOUT OUR ALL INCLUSIVE WEDDING PACKAGES The Abbey Hotel, Abbey Road, Great Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 3ET t 01684 879446 e abbey@sarova.com w sarova.com

sarovahotels www.wrmagazine.uk

theabbeyhoteluk

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PROPERTY

Additional information may be found at  www.kendrickhomes.co.uk Images show previous Kendrick Homes’ developments in the West Midlands. Help to Buy is available on homes up to £600,000. Terms and conditions apply.

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Distinct quality homes in outstanding locations, a brand new luxury home in Worcestershire could soon be yours!

A new home could be within easy reach with the government’s current Help to Buy scheme available on all of its homes up to a purchase price of £600,000. James Rennison, managing director of Kendrick Homes, commented, ‘The Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme will be continuing for the purchase of only new properties, which helps some of our customers immensely. This means that homebuyers with a 5 per cent deposit, who are either first time buyers or those looking to move up or down the ladder, could make the move sooner than they think. Our customers remain at the centre of everything we do and, by delivering total customer satisfaction throughout the buying process, from reservation to completion, our clear communication and excellent customer service is our priority.’ Kendrick Homes and its in-house design team create new homes built in an environmentally friendly way that offer lower running costs. They have an enviable specification and attention to detail, and Kendrick Homes really takes pride in offering inspirational homes for sale, which are built with modern living in mind.

N

ot many construction companies these days have a pedigree of 136 years and still growing, let alone a fifth generation of the original Kendrick family at the helm. The family-run house builder is renowned for its developments throughout picturesque Worcestershire, where they all have great local amenities and are within easy access to commuter links, ensuring homeowners have the best of both worlds. The location of each development has been carefully selected so that homeowners can enjoy the best of both town and country living.

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In Worcestershire, it currently has new homes in Bromsgrove, a quintessential English town approximately 25 miles south of Birmingham. Bromsgrove has a vibrant music and arts scene, and has enjoyed significant investment in a wide range of state-of-the-art leisure and sporting facilities, along with modern health services. Levels of education and qualifications attained are above the national average and the town offers access to some of the best and fastest growing universities in the Midlands; the famous Bromsgrove School is regularly in the top 10 of all British boarding and day schools in the league tables of educational attainment. Kendrick Homes’ development is called Mercer Grove and it is a select site of just 18 well-planned homes with nine house styles from which to choose. It has been carefully designed to complement modern living with a contemporary feel to suit first time buyers and families alike.

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Forthcoming developments in Worcestershire include Drakes Broughton, located two miles north-west of Pershore and seven miles south-east of Worcester, where you’ll find its new development called Spring Meadows that consists of 39 new homes. Spring Meadows offers a choice of two, three, four and five bedroom homes that are a mix of two storey houses or bungalows, and the development is surrounded by beautiful countryside. Education is well looked after with St Barnabas, which offers a preschool, first school and a middle school that feeds into Pershore High School in nearby Pershore. Drakes Broughton has two pubs: The Old Oak and the Plough and Harrow, together with a recreation ground, general store, hairdressers, and a fish and chip shop.

The Row at Cropthorne is set in a small and very quaint village, located within the Vale of Evesham on the north-west edge of the Cotswolds, which is approximately 13 miles southeast of Worcester, 19 miles north of Cheltenham and 18 miles south-west of Stratford-upon-Avon. Cropthorne is located on a small ridge overlooking the River Avon; its ancient orchards sweep down to the river and offer clear unbroken views across the vale to the Malvern Hills in the distance.

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The village is featured in the Domesday Book and its church dates to the twelfth century. Cropthorne has many examples of timber-framed thatched cottages from both the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and around half the village is designated as a conservation area. It has a primary school that serves Cropthorne and the neighbouring village of Charlton, two pubs: The Bell Inn and The New Inn, together with a large playing field called ‘The Sheppey’, along with a village hall and children’s play area; and, in 2000, it won the best kept medium village award. The Row offers a choice of seven three, four and five bedroom homes, including a two bedroom bungalow.

The Fieldings is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors. Nestled in the beautiful village of Lower Moor, which is located between Wyre Piddle and Fladbury, the area is well known for its fruit trees and blossom trails. The Fieldings offers a choice of 11 two, four and five bedroom homes, including two bedroom bungalows. Lower Moor boasts a shop with post office, a country club, a village hall and recreation ground, and a small Victorian church, which is part of the parish of Fladbury, Moor and Wyre Piddle. 

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Distinct Quality, Outstanding Locations you can have it all... when you move to a brand new Kendrick Home

Discover our Worcestershire homes...

Mercer Grove, Bromsgrove Kidderminster Road, B61 7LD 2, 3 & 4 bedroom houses

Now selling off-plan from our Stoke Pound Showhome. Call: 07817 670 359

The Row at Cropthorne Field Barn Lane, WR10 3LY 3, 4 & 5 bedroom houses and a bungalow Launching in November 2016 For all enquries Call 01384 446 200

Spring Meadows, Drakes Broughton Kidderminster Road, B61 7LD 2, 3 & 4 bedroom houses and bungalows Launching in January 2017 For all enquiries Call 01384 446 200

The Fieldings, Lower Moor Blacksmiths Lane, WR10 2PA 2, 4 & 5 bedroom houses and bungalows Launching in 2017 For all enquiries Call 01384 446 200

for more information visit

Help to Buy is available on homes up to ÂŁ600,00 Terms and Conditions apply. Please ask our sales team for more1880 information. Distinct Quality Since

www.wrmagazine.uk

Help to Buy available on homes up to ÂŁ600,000. Terms and Conditions apply.

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SUBSCRIBE to WR magazine and enjoy all the rich culture and heritage Worcestershire has to offer. The magazine is available free of charge at more than 1,000 locations throughout the county, but we also have a subscription service. Simply visit our website at: â–ˇ www.wrmagazine.uk

WHY NOT SUBSCRIBE?

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Cruise the world Fred. Olsen style What makes us different...

We don’t have glitzy ships. We don’t have zip wires, climbing walls, celebrity chefs or cocktail mixologists. What we do have is long-serving staff specially chosen for their friendly, welcoming personalities, ‘real ships’ that are regularly improved so they cater for your every need, cuisine prepared by chefs who care about their craft, not their egos, and – most importantly – a passion to show you the very best of the world. Plus, we’re so confident that you’ll enjoy the whole experience that if it’s your first time on a Fred. Olsen cruise and within a couple of days of sailing you find it’s not for you, let us know and we’ll arrange for a flight back to the UK from the next port and give you your money back*.

To book, search for ‘Fred.

Olsen’ online, see a travel agent or call 01473 742 424

*The Enjoyment Promise is only applicable to guests who have not cruised on a Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines (“FOCL”) ship before. It excludes Party Nights and cruises of 4 nights or less. The promise only applies to bookings made for departures more than 12 weeks ahead. The Enjoyment Promise only applies to passengers who have contracted with FOCL and excludes cruises on vessels operated by FOCL but booked through 3rd Party operators. Should you wish to invoke the Enjoyment Promise, you will need to inform Guest Relations within 48 hours of sailing at the latest. FOCL will arrange and pay for a flight and/or transport back to the UK. FOCL will refund the cruise cost only but will not refund other costs. E&OE.

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magazine

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Autumn/Winter 2016

www.wrmagazine.uk

Profile for WR Magazine

WR magazine Autumn/Winter 2016  

In this issue: the RAF’s bases in Worcestershire during World War II were perfectly placed to train pilots and aircrew; we explore their his...

WR magazine Autumn/Winter 2016  

In this issue: the RAF’s bases in Worcestershire during World War II were perfectly placed to train pilots and aircrew; we explore their his...