IN a relatively small acreage at the southern end of High Street, stand some of Worcester’s most important and historic buildings. All of them survived the wholescale demolition in the area in the 1960s, which did more damage to the city than the Luftwaffe ever managed, and today are “must visits” on the tourist trail.

As well as the Guildhall, which is actually in High Street, there is the mighty Worcester Cathedral at its junction with College Street, The Commandery in Sidbury and the former factory of the world famous Royal Worcester Porcelain Company, which now exists in part as a heritage museum to the city’s fine china industry.

All were bullet-proof to the contractors’ wrecking balls which flattened the slums around them, but it is good to look back and put them in the context they occupied around 100 years ago.

This set of images comes from exhibitions this newspaper has staged over the years and shows how this part of Worcester has changed dramatically since the middle of the 20th century. The Lychgate redevelopment scheme of the mid-Sixties has been much criticised over the years for destroying whole neighbourhoods in the shadow of the cathedral, but at the time they were little more than slums and there was neither the money nor the vision to save them.

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Perhaps the most graphic is the photograph taken from the top of the cathedral in the 1950s. It shows the southern end of a two way High Street with the South African War Memorial overlooking the road junction with College Street and Deansway, where a roundabout was later to be built.

One of the standout features of the scene is the set of wooden supports holding up the wall of the end property fronting both Lich Street and College Street. In a country still recovering from the damage of the Second World War, such temporary civil engineering would not have been seen as unreasonable, except these properties had not been hit by bombs, they were falling down of their own accord and it was deemed better they be demolished before they fell down on someone.

So these photographs really do show a Worcester that is no longer there. Is what replaced it an improvement? Probably not, but it’s what they call progress.