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Forum Home > Tale's from the region. > Hagley Hall and Clent. A Grand Day Out.1915.

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404



This story has been taken from a 1915 magazine, Stourbridge Illustrated, which was published some 8 months after the start of WW1. At this time, the big battles, and the horrific loss of life, were still to come, and the country was trying to carrying on as normal. The rolling hills of Clent, Worcestershire, and the country park surroundings of Hagley Hall, were a big draw, for the populations of the smokey and dirty towns of the Blackcountry.  The Victorians had established the area, as a place to enjoy the fresh air, take the waters, have picnics, and walk the hills, far from the deafening roar of the Blast Furnace, or the shattering clash of hammer on Iron. Bank Holidays and sunny weekends, were a busy time for the operators of Coaches, Wagonettes, Brakes, and the early horse drawn Omnibus, for many folk opted to go in large parties, arranged by their local Churches and Chapels, the local Pub, or some of the more enlightened Employers. The extensive grounds of Hagley Hall, nestling as they do at the foot of the hills, had long been opened to the public by Viscount Cobham, although the Hall was strictly off limits. In Hagley itself, there were some establishments that catered for this trade, one of the better ones, was the Prince of Wales Hotel, advertised as having it's own pleasure gardens, and a capacity far above the others.


The item above was contributed by a regular to this website, Colin Wooldridge, the noted Lye and Wollescote Historian, who like me, in the days of our youth, spent many happy hours roaming the Clent Hills and the grounds of Hagley Hall. The War though, must have wrought many changes to the clientel of George Evertons undoubtedly fine establishment, as must the depression that followed the end of the conflict, in 1918. Nevertheless, the area remained a popular destination for day-trippers, bringing in much needed finance for the many local business'es. We are pleased to hear, that the present Lord Cobham, has plans in the offing, to re-open the grounds to the public, with a new development of a visitors centre,cafe, lodge, and a larger car park. The Grade 1 listed and refurbished Hall, a popular Marriage venue, is also open to the public now, on at least 60 days of the year. They do say, that almost a million people visit the area of Clent and Hagley every year, lets hope they continue to enjoy the experience as much as I did when I was a bit younger, and I should add, a lot fitter.


Only one more thing to add. There are several George Evertons who could fit the bill for the owner of the Hotel. The most likely one I have selected, is a man born in Worcester, and was a Register of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, who lived, in 1910, in Ombersley Road Worcester. I selected him as the most likely because it would have taken a man used to some organisation to oversee such a large and successful business. If anyone is related to the family, and can confirm or correct me, do please get in touch.




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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 2, 2014 at 3:40 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

When we were all in our teens, well maybe just me then, one of the sights around Hagley Park, which could be seen from the Hall, was the Obelisk, on the side of Wychbury Hill. Now we all thought, that it had been erected to commemorate some Battle of the past, legend having it, that the Ancient Brits and the Romans, had a bit of an argument, and it all turned nasty. Not so, as I later discovered, it was put there as part of the landscaping in the 1770s. Colin Wooldrige has reminded me, that on a pathway leading to the old castle-like ruin, there was a really nice bench. It had a plaque attached, which contained some lines from a great English Poet, John Milton, and came from his epic Paradise Lost. Colin refers to the ruins as " Dracula's Castle ", and which we attributed to the Legend of King Arthur. The imagination of the young, in times gone by, knew no bounds, for this was long before the days of instant communication. I have no doubts, that long gone generations all had different ideas about it's origines as well, so if you have any memories of Hagley Hall, and the Park, do get in touch. There is one thing that I don't remember though, when were all the Deer introduced?

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 4, 2014 at 11:25 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

George Everton, a former owner of the old Prince of Wales Hotel in Hagley, and the subject of the Topic above, will, I suspect, be spinning madly in his grave this week.



Colin Wooldridge has been out and about the last few months, taking a few pictures whever he was in the area. Scaffolding appeared some time ago, and it was assumed, that the place was being given a much needed makeover. Sadly no, for imagine the shock, when this morning, Colin decided to take another picture. It was gone, Lock, Stock, and Barrel, spirited away perhaps by the wicked brick fairy, or transported by the crew of the Starship Enterprise, to a Galaxy far, far, away. We shall shed a little tear at it's passing, and raise a glass, in a toast to some long past memories.



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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 5, 2014 at 2:55 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Meanwhile, back in 1915, someone was just about to receive a very nasty shock. On the night of the 6th December,1915, George Cutler, the landlord of a pub most of you will have passed on the way to Kidderminster, Bewdley, Stourport, or Worcester, had a last look round, turned out the lights in the Bar, and went off to bed. He, his family and staff, were awoken by dense acid smoke at about 3am, the pub, The Cross Keys, was on fire. They all managed to scrambled to safety, just as the Fire Brigade arrived. By this time, the centre of the old building was well alight, and the dense smoke had filtered into the outlying cottages of this part of Hagley, drawing, even at this time in the morning, a decent sized crowd. Despite the efforts of the valiant firemen, they could not control the blaze with the equipment they had, as witnessed by the huge flames which lit up the early morning sky. The fire rapidly consumed the entire building, until all that remianed of The Cross Keys, were smoke blackened ruins, and fond memories of a few good times in the Bar. It hasn't been recorded if the owner, Viscount Cobham, made any comment about the disaster, but one has to assume that he was fully insured, for some time later, it was re-built. So for those who admire it's old fashioned look, even in 1916, they were quite good at building reproductions.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

October 6, 2014 at 2:38 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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