Worcester must make more of rich Civil War heritage

Malvern Gazette: Worcester must make more of rich Civil War heritage Worcester must make more of rich Civil War heritage

WORCESTER must make much more of its Civil War heritage to bring in visitors and could even be rebranded the "Civil War City" as museums leaders seek to better tap the tourist trade.

How to make the most of Worcester's rich heritage was the overriding theme of a meeting at Worcester Guildhall. The city was the site of the last battle of the English Civil War which raged between Royalists and Parliamentarians (1642-1651), resulting in the execution of Charles I and the defeat of his son, later restored to the throne as Charles II.

Ian Rutherford, general manager of Museums Worcestershire, said in a speech delivered to dignitaries including the mayor of Worcester, Cllr Pat Agar, that the Civil War was "part of the city's DNA".

He said: "Regardless of political persuasions, I know there are many people in this room who feel a sense of injustice that such an important period in our national life should fail to be recognised as it deserves to be and that Worcester should make more of its position "where England's sorrows began and now are happily ended". Whether this private and civic passion should be converted into public policy and the platform for a tourism strategy is the central question for tonight's gathering.

"It is also a key issue for us as museums service and for the city too as it aims to grow its visitor economy. Should Worcester adopt the strap line – "the Civil War City" and what implications would that have?"

Museums Worcestershire which manages four sites on behalf of Worcester City Council and Worcestershire County Council, including the city's Commandery, has ambitions to develop these sites.

Museums Worcestershire has identified several key objectives, including spotting markets abroad and at home for "the English Civil War and the Commandery" and finding out whether it could "fulfil a unique selling point for tourism in Worcester". They are also looking with consultants at promoting the heritage of Worcestershire, including the theme of "Romantic Royal escapes". Speakers on the day included Andrew McIntyre, described as an authority on arts marketing and audience development who called for more focus in the Commandery displays and Simon Matthews, an economic development and tourism consultant, who said Worcester's heritage was particularly attractive to overseas visitors but investment was needed to create "a quality Civil War tourism product". Worcester city councillor Roger Berry, chairman of the Joint Museums Committee, said it was important to make the best use of the city's assets and heritage which would be vitally important in the bid for City of Culture 2021.

Comments (4)

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1:53pm Mon 26 May 14

CJH says...

It needs a major change at the Commandery. It used to be really interesting, with great exhibits. Now there are mainly empty rooms. Put the stuff back that should be there, reinstate the tea room, and make it somewhere people want to go back to, not just one disappointing visit. Use the canal right next to it - have a canal exhibit, put the tea room on a canal boat. Anything - but make it interesting!!!! And if they're going to do something at the old library in Foregate Street, at least use up all the room they have. Downstairs it has a ramshackle look once you get past the gift shop, which is not exactly enticing. There must be so many items in the basement which never see the light of day. Get them out! They should use the Worcestershire Museum at Hartlebury as an example of how interesting and interactive a museum can, and should, be. The only reason they don't get more visitors is because it's a little out of the way. But it's certainly worth the trip. Imagination is what's needed. It doesn't have to cost a fortune. It just needs a bit of effort.
It needs a major change at the Commandery. It used to be really interesting, with great exhibits. Now there are mainly empty rooms. Put the stuff back that should be there, reinstate the tea room, and make it somewhere people want to go back to, not just one disappointing visit. Use the canal right next to it - have a canal exhibit, put the tea room on a canal boat. Anything - but make it interesting!!!! And if they're going to do something at the old library in Foregate Street, at least use up all the room they have. Downstairs it has a ramshackle look once you get past the gift shop, which is not exactly enticing. There must be so many items in the basement which never see the light of day. Get them out! They should use the Worcestershire Museum at Hartlebury as an example of how interesting and interactive a museum can, and should, be. The only reason they don't get more visitors is because it's a little out of the way. But it's certainly worth the trip. Imagination is what's needed. It doesn't have to cost a fortune. It just needs a bit of effort. CJH
  • Score: 12

3:04pm Mon 26 May 14

Samboy says...

Don't always agree with you CJH, but everything you say is spot on. I am appalled at the lack of exhibits and presentation of the City museums,. This is in an area steeped in historical value. Hartlebury is always a delight and the difference between the Gloucestershire Regiment Museum and that of the Worcester's is woeful, particularly to an old Woofer like me.
Don't always agree with you CJH, but everything you say is spot on. I am appalled at the lack of exhibits and presentation of the City museums,. This is in an area steeped in historical value. Hartlebury is always a delight and the difference between the Gloucestershire Regiment Museum and that of the Worcester's is woeful, particularly to an old Woofer like me. Samboy
  • Score: 10

6:58am Tue 27 May 14

WorcsBornandBred says...

Here here CJH and Samboy! Come on Worcester, have you only just realised this!? I'm 30 now and when I was a lass, The Commandary was brilliant, a real hive of activity and youngsters from across the region used to come along!

Our tourism board have a lot to do here!
Here here CJH and Samboy! Come on Worcester, have you only just realised this!? I'm 30 now and when I was a lass, The Commandary was brilliant, a real hive of activity and youngsters from across the region used to come along! Our tourism board have a lot to do here! WorcsBornandBred
  • Score: 2

7:19am Tue 27 May 14

Hwicce says...

This is just more "same old, same old". Making more of the Civil War history of Worcester has been talked about for years but nothing is ever done. We don't even have a decent Civil War trail around the City. There's a few bits in the City centre but what about Pitchcroft, Powick Hams, Powick Church etc.

Less jaw jaw, more war war.
This is just more "same old, same old". Making more of the Civil War history of Worcester has been talked about for years but nothing is ever done. We don't even have a decent Civil War trail around the City. There's a few bits in the City centre but what about Pitchcroft, Powick Hams, Powick Church etc. Less jaw jaw, more war war. Hwicce
  • Score: 5

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