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Worcester Bridge 1932

  • 28th October 2017

HRH Edward, Prince of Wales, at Worcester Bridge

85 years ago today HRH Edward, Prince of Wales, visited Worcester to officially open the widened Worcester Bridge and the remodelled Cripplegate Park. Photos of this event, and the preceding engineering works, are contained in an archive deposit which has just been added to the online catalogue.

Mr C I Carey Walker was the city engineer in the 1930s, and heavily involved in widening the bridge to enable it to cope with the increased motor traffic. He kept a record of this through photos and a programme of the celebration day. A few years ago a relative of his came to us and asked whether we would like to add these to the archives and make them available to the wider public. We had a look and said we’d love to take them.

Worcester Bridge was opened in 1781, replacing an earlier bridge. In 1841 it was widened by adding footpaths on either side, and nearly a century later it was realised that there was a need to widen it further to allow modern traffic to cross more easily.

The packed visit of the Royal visitor began by being met at the city boundary by the Mayor, High Sherriff and Lord Lieutenant. HRH was then taken to the war memorial outside the Cathedral where he laid a wreath, which was presented to him by Ellen Dancox, widow of Fred Dancox who had won the Victoria Cross in the Great War.

After visiting the Cathedral the next stop was the bridge which he was asked to officially reopen. This was done by cutting a red and black ribbon with a sword said to be of the type used by the forces of Charles II during the Battle of Worcester. City officials involved in the project, presumably including Mr Carey Walker, were presented to him.

After crossing the bridge HRH was taken to Cripplegate Park, which had been remodelled, and he was given a golden key to open the park gates and declare the park open. Whilst there the Prince was met by 1500 school children and the band of the 8th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment played for him.

Key presented to the Prince of Wales

Appropriately enough the Prince visited the Royal Infirmary and Royal Porcelain Works during his visit. He also visited the Guildhall, where he dined privately, and then went to the Cinderella Works and the Metal Box company at Perry Wood.

Judging from the descriptions in the official programme, the newspapers and photographs large crowds had come out for the Royal visit and as many people were officially introduced to the Prince as they could manage.

This collection is now added to the archive and available to be viewed in the searchroom in The Hive. This, along with archive deposits added over the past 15 years, can be searched for on our online catalogue.

The photos were copies by our digitization team.

Laying the commemoration stone

Commemoration stone today, including Mr Carey Walker’s name

 

4 responses to “Worcester Bridge 1932”

  1. Jenny Ellwood says:

    Fascinating post and photos! Thank you so much for publishing them.

  2. Richard Darke says:

    My great grandfather, Herbert Yeates, cast the 2 brass plaques in the middle of the bridge (one pictured above). The one not pictured has the coat of arms on 2 shields, in between them are his initials, HY. His foundry was where Brown’s restaurant is now. On some photos of the building you can see “H Yeates and sons , brass founders” painted on the doors. My grandfather, Alfred Yeates, was one of the sons.

    • Paul Hudson says:

      Thanks for letting us know, that’s really interesting. Hasn’t realized about the foundry so close to the bridge. I wish we’d chosen the other plaque to photograph now!

      • Rich Darke says:

        No problem! Family legend has it that he wasn’t meant to put any identifying marks on the plaques, but did anyway! The initials are just underneath where the 2 shields meet. Also, the old photo marked “laying the commemoration stone” looks like it’s a plinth for one of the lights. The plaques are in the centre of the bridge, the stone in the picture is just by the Old Rectifying House. I’ll try and get a photo sometime.

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