Emperor will be remembered as part of civic week

Malvern Gazette: Tim Gunter, vice chairman of the Civic Society, with one of the blue plaques. More will be put up in Civic Week. Tim Gunter, vice chairman of the Civic Society, with one of the blue plaques. More will be put up in Civic Week.

WHAT do the last emperor of Ethiopia and the first man to split the atom have in common?

One answer is that both of them will have blue plaques unveiled in their memory during Malvern Civic Week at the end of the month.

Haile Selassie stayed at the Abbey Hotel in Malvern in the 1930s during his exile from his homeland, and his granddaughters were educated at a school in West Malvern. His plaque, at the hotel, will be unveiled on Saturday, June 25, the opening day of Malvern Civic Week.

John Cockcroft, working with Ernest Walton, split the atom in 1932. During World War Two, he became superintendent of the Air Defence Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) in Christchurch, which later moved to Pale Manor, Malvern. The plaque in his honour will be unveiled on the festival's last day, Saturday, July 2.

The blue plaques are being put up by Malvern Civic Society, which has previously erected similar markers on properties associated with famous people as diverse as Charles Darwin, Florence Nightingale and C S Lewis.

The civic society is playing a leading role in organising Malvern Civic Week, in which it aims to show the wider community what it does. The week also involves a wide range of other local groups and societies.

These include Churches Together In Malvern, the Earth Heritage Trust, Great Malvern Association of Traders, Malvern Museum, the spa association and much more, with support from both town and district councils.

There is a wide choice of things to see and do across the week, with churches open, including both Great and Little Malvern Priory, Holly Mount, St James's West Malvern and Holy Trinity, among others.

Exhibitions at various venues include the Beacon Camera Club at Great Malvern Priory, the Cotswold Line Promotion Group at Great Malvern Station, the Masons at their lodge on Belle Vue Terrace, and the archive at Malvern Theatres.

Walks include a town walk on Sunday, June 26, at 10.30am, a water cure walk the following day at 7.30pm, and a walk from Colwall Station on Wednesday, June 29, at 10am.

The Civic Society Lecture is on Thursday, June 30, at Lyttelton Rooms, with John Handley talking about The Glorious Midlands. And other talks include ones on well-dressing by Lionel Shorstone on Monday, June 27, while the following day BBC presenter Peter Owen-Jones talks about his new book Letters from an Extreme Pilgrim.

"We are pleased that so many Malvern groups are taking part and that the councils are very supportive," said Roger Sutton of the civic society. "The majority of the activities are free but individual groups would appreciate small donations to help their work.

"The theme of the week and also Malvern in Bloom which follows in July, is Victorian Spa Town. This complements the work that has been done by the society in documenting the town and its special features such as letter boxes, gas lamps, shop fronts and, of course, the blue plaques."

To see the full range of events during the civic week, visit malverncivicsociety.org.uk.

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