On 13 March I returned to Worcester as I had some free time. It was a spur of the moment thing though because the weather was wonderful and Spring is in the air. Unfortunately the trains were not. Somewhere something had broken and Ashchurch had one at the platform and one in the distance and none of ours in sight.
The train was delayed by 20 minutes and in an effort to make up the schedule was only going to Worcester Shrub Hill Station. It is also a larger station than Foregate, but seems to take very little traffic compared to Foregate. Last time I was in Worcester I spotted the semaphores again and the set at Shrub Hill is much larger than the one I had seen previously
Here you can see the split in the rails (Shrub Hill sits on the vertical leg of the T junction, with Foregate on the line to the left and Birmingham to the right). I asked a conductor about them and he said that they are still in use and they do not know when they will be replaced. There is signal box located at the south end of platform 1, and two signal boxes at Henwick (west of Foregate Street), and Tunnel Junction to the north of Shrub Hill.
Bailing out at Shrub Hill messed with my plans because I had planned to head off to St John’s Cemetery in Henwick, and then return via the cathedral. Now it made sense to go to the cathedral first, take my pics and then go to the cemetery. I could see the cathedral from the station so really just had to head in the general direction.
Actually I am glad things did work out like that because I saw more of Worcester as I wobbled along.
Presumably this was the local Great Western Hotel associated with the station. The station building is quite impressive and was designed by Edward Wilson and built in 1865. It is a Georgian-style building mainly of engineering brick with stone facings, but situated where it is you cannot get a decent image of it from the parking area beneath it.
To the right of the hotel was what seems to be an “Industrial Park”, what it was before I do not know, but it is large and very impressive.
It is really a large warehouse type structure, and at the far end is one of those wonderful clock towers that seem to pop up in the strangest places.
Then I crossed over what I suspect is the Worcester and Birmingham Canal that eventually comes out at a set of locks into the Severn River. If you follow the Severn there is a good chance you may end up in Tewkesbury.
Just look at that sky! I had not brought my parka with today and eventually had to remove my hoodie because I was getting decidedly overheated. I then threaded my way through the maze of streets towards my end destination.
Finally ending up at the Guildhall.
And if you know where to look you will spot Cromwell above the door, with his ears nailed to the wall (theoretically).
While Edward Elgar looked towards the traffic and probably lamented the lack of Pomp and Circumstance.
At this point I went to the cathedral to photograph the “Woodbine Willie” plaque and window, and those will be covered in my “Connections: Woodbine Willie” post. Suffice to say I did take some new cathedral images and you can view my original Cathedral post on its own page.
After finishing the cathedral I then headed to the right of the image above into what is known as Deansway Street, passing the Ducal Palace
Until I detoured to the remains of the Medieval Church of St Andrews.
The structure is also known as “Glover’s Needle”. The plaque inside gives more information, unfortunately it is affixed to the far wall of the spire and not readable from the locked gate. Thank goodness for optical zoom. Click on the image to read the plaque.
It is a very pretty spot and it overlooks the river close to the bridge. It must have been a fine looking church and today is a very easily recognisable landmark in the city.
Once across the bridge I entered into Cripplegate Park.
And then through the park and onwards to my destination: St John’s Cemetery in Henwick.
As far as cemeteries go, this one is reasonably uninteresting, there are 33 CWGC graves in the cemetery and I would photograph those that I saw, my final tally being 29. My real aim was to photograph this grave.
Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, also known as “Woodbine Willie” would gain fame through his work on the Western Front during the First World War, and his devotion to the poor. He was an orator and a poet who drew crowds to hear him speak. He was also the vicar of St. Paul’s in Worcester (next on my bucket list).
This grave really closes a chapter for me, one that started in London in 2016, and which led me here in 2017. Read about the strange chain of events at “Connections: Woodbine Willie”
Then it was time to head back. I had 2 choices. I could increase speed and make the 13H03 train, or dawdle and make the 15H06 train. Given how wonky the trains were the former seemed like a better idea and I rang down for full ahead. Back along the path I had come, passing over the railway line with it’s signal cabin that was mentioned above,
Past St John’s Church,
Through Cripplegate Park with its really nice ornate non functional fountain,
Over the bridge, pausing to take a photograph,
Up Broad Street and past All Saint’s Worcester,
along Foregate Street, pausing to take an image of Lloyd’s Bank and the former church alongside. Now called “Slug and Lettuce” it was the former St Nicholas Church that dated from the 18th Century. It is a Grade II listed building but is no longer an active church.
I snuck a peek inside and it was stunning.
Leaving slugs and their lettuce I finally arrived at the station with 6 minutes to spare.
That was not my train though, mine was the next one. And, while it left on time it tarried before Shrub Hill and did not rush to Ashchurch either. Worcester was in the bag, although there are enough reasons to return one day, It wont be anytime soon though because I have an even bigger trip ahead of me, but that is another story for another day.
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