Worcestershire WR14 3ES
This is a wonderful museum of local history housed in one of the oldest surviving buildings in Great Malvern. The Priory Gatehouse, Great Malvern is all that is left of the 11th century Benedictine monastery.
The gatehouse was built c.1480 and was the only entrance to the priory. You can still see some of the original timbers and porter’s squint hole where visitors had to request permission to enter.
The museum has five exhibition rooms crammed full of interesting artefacts, things to do and games to play. Children can dress up as Benedictine monks or pretend to be poor peasant boys and girls.
Malvern Hills Room
Start downstairs in this room and learn about prehistoric Malvern through its fossils and rocks. This is where disabled visitors, unable to manage twisty stairs to the upper rooms, can watch a digital version of some of the other exhibits.
Four rooms upstairs reveal the later events that shaped Malvern, first as a tiny hamlet and then as a popular holiday resort.
Exhibits describe the arrival of the Benedictine monks and the establishment of the priory. Also, the creation of Malvern Forest by William the Conqueror and its use as a Royal hunting ground known as the ‘Chase’.
Many interesting exhibits here relating to Sir Edward Elgar
and Malvern’s secret role in the development of radar during the Second World War. The finest exhibit is the beautifully crafted medieval window frames from Guesten Hall. An early map from 1633 shows the main features in the area after Charles I gave up his rights to the Chase.
Water Cure Room
Natural Spring Water, Spas and Cures - this room looks at Malvern’s famous mineral water and its medicinal qualities. See some of the weird and wonderful ways the water was used to effect ‘miraculous’ cures!
This room focuses on Malvern’s growth during Queen Victoria’s reign by looking at enterprise, local government, education and leisure. Some exhibitions are rotated regularly on themes such as domestic life, trades or famous people.
Malvern had no shortage of famous residents and visitors including Royalty. Florence Nightingale, Charles Dickens, Lord Tennyson and Charles Darwin visited the town on many occasions to ‘take the waters’. Even Franklin D Roosevelt was brought as a 7-year old in an effort to cure an illness.
20th Century Room
Here Malvern celebrates its success and more recent achievements. The Morgan car, and the part played by the area during two World Wars.
Another major wartime achievement took place when 2,000 scientists moved to Malvern in 1942. These young men and women developed radar systems that enabled aircraft and naval ships to detect enemy targets more rapidly. During secret testing a tragic aircrash occurred near Goodrich Castle
. There is a memorial window commemorating the event in Goodrich Castle
George Bernard Shaw, Sir Edward Elgar
, the Lanchester Marionette Theatre and the parts they played in establishing Malvern as a Festival and Cultural centre is also highlighted.
In 2010 this little museum won the Outstanding Volunteer-run Museum Award in the West Midlands. Allow yourself plenty of time to visit – there is a lot to see, hear and do.
Plan Your Visit
Accommodation - Search & Book through Expedia here:
Opening Days & Times
Easter to 31st October
7 days a week
10:30 – 17:00 hours
A ‘Museum Open’ sign hangs outside the Malvern TIC
in Church Street.
(check current costs on Museum website below)
Weekdays: Adult £2, Child 50p
Saturdays and Sundays: Adult £1, Child free
Free audio tour available.
The gatehouse is an ancient monument and access to the upper rooms is limited – being via a narrow, spiral staircase with sturdy handrails. A ramp is available for wheelchair access to the ground floor display area, which includes a ‘virtual tour’ computer display for visitors.
The entrance to the museum also contains an excellent shop:
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1684 567 811
Google Map - Malvern Museum