The Malvern Hills are beautiful and a popular tourist destination, but it was the refreshing spa waters that traditionally brought people to the Worcestershire town of Malvern.
Great Malvern was formerly the largest of several villages and hamlets on the steep eastern slopes of the Malvern Hills. Over time, and as the town and population grew, the town of Malvern as it is now known has incorporated the smaller settlements.
The Abbey Gate
In 1731, an etching showed the Abbey Gate, then called the North View of Great Malvern Abby, surrounded by hills, muddy tracks and tumble down walls.
The swirly description underneath states:
“MALVERN-MAGNA, ABBY, was in the Saxons times an Hermitage of Urso d’Abitot. In the 18th K. Will.m 1st it was made a Priory of Benedictines by the Hermit Aldwin who gave it large Endowments: to which K. Hen. 1st added. Richard L.d Clifford was a great Benefactor to it as were also K. Hen. III.d K. Edw. 1.st Gilbert Earl of Glocester, Ofborn & Richard de Pontibus, and in procefs of time from a Cell to ye Abby of Westminster, it became a free Abby. Tho.s Savage Esq. is ye present Proprietor. It was valued at ye Difsolution £308. 1s. 5d. Speed. S. & N. Buck delin et sculp.t 1731.
By 1891, the Gate now sits on a formal road, surrounded by other buildings.
Postcard from 1910
The T. Bennett & Sons postcard, printed in 1910, takes us back to a time of horses and carriages, with large, ornate buildings.
I’ve added four closeups for extra detail.
Magic Convention 1938
1938 saw the town hosting a magic convention, bringing the cameras along to record some of the event, including the escape artists.
Malvern Magicians’ convention (1938) – British Pathé on YouTube
Malvern in 1957
This high quality 1957 footage includes all of Malvern’s landmarks, in streets showing cars, buses and fashions of the era.
All of it is a gem, but watch out for the few seconds at around the one minute mark, with cars struggling to get around the narrow roads, and then the view through the Abbey Gate. Can you see the ‘7 FEET HEADROOM’ sign displayed inside the arch?
Great Malvern & The Malvern Hills (1957) – The Time Machine
Malvern in 1978
On 10th January 1978, an episode of “Wish you were here?” broadcast to the nation, with presenter Chris Kelly promoting the town’s many attractions.
Of course, what the problem also did without meaning to, was create a detailed visual record of the people, places and businesses of the time.
1970s Malvern | Spa Town | Worcestershire | Wish you were here? | 1978: ThamesTv (Youtube)
1993 Malvern Festival
Recorded in May 1993, we see the town’s residents turn out for the parade. Behind the floats, you can often see the town’s local businesses of the time.
Everyone seen in the video will be a generation older now!
Malvern Festival May 1993 – henryhvideofan on YouTube
Milk Race 1993
Between 1958 and 1993, the Milk Race was a prestigious annual cycling race in the UK.
On 6th June 1993, a home video was made of Malvern’s community turning out for their stage of the final Milk Race, won by Christian Anderson.
Each minute includes hundreds of residents, visitors, cyclists, local homes and businesses, 1990s cars, a red telephone box, WPCs in skirts, and quite a few well known local streets.
The Milk Race at Great Malvern 6th of June 1993 – henryhvideofan on YouTube
Olympic Torch Relay 2012
Remember when the Olympic Torch Relay ran through nearly every town and city in the UK on the way to London 2012?
That’s now more than a decade ago, so many of the children in this video will have reached adulthood.
Early in the morning of Friday 25th May 2012, torchbearer Monica Martin lit the Olympic Torch next to the Elgar statue in Worcester, which passed through St John’s on its way to Malvern.
This is a great home video, capturing early arrivals, build up of the crowds, yellow and green balloons everywhere, highlights of the parade, and of course the Olympic Torch itself, before the crowd disburses.
Olympic Torch Relay Great Malvern 25th of May 2012 – henryhvideofan on YouTube