Tudor House is a fine example of a close-studded timber framed building, reflecting the unknown builder’s wealth. The original friary which gave the street its name was just outside the city walls, through Friars Gate at the end of Union Street. The timber building was probably erected between 1500-1550, although stones in the two cellars under the house possibly date back to the thirteenth century. One fireplace lintel on the ground floor is a fine, recycled Medieval carved beam. In later years the building was divided into separate dwellings, each owned and used by different tradespeople. 17th century inventories show that some of these people were well-off, but later centuries saw the area become relatively poor. Tudor House has been a home and a workshop for weaver clothiers, carpenters, a baker and a 17th century solicitor’s widow. Some of the weaver clothiers who lived there brewed ale as a side-line in the late 1500s, and for about five hundred years part of the building was used for brewing. It was known as The Cross Keys tavern from at least the 1700s. Later uses of the house included a hairdresser’s and a chipshop.
Tudor House’s appearance today is the result of sensitive restoration and amalgamation of three main properties by Richard Cadbury in the early 1900s. The front of the house has a jettied timber frame on the left (“jetty” describing the overhanging first floor which “juts” out from the face of the building), and a three storey brick building on the right. In addition, the timber framed building itself it was divided into three dwellings when Cadbury bought it; two were to the left of the present entrance and one to the right. Cadbury was a grandson of the founder of the chocolate firm. With a tea room and restaurant upstairs, the “Tudor Coffee House” supplied food at a reasonable price to the poor people of this area. In 1921 it was purchased by the Worcester Corporation for use as a school clinic and dentist’s. During the Second World War, the building was used as an Air Raid Warden’s Post and Billeting Office. It became the Museum of Local Life in the 1970s, was closed in the 1990s and reopened by a group of dedicated volunteers.
Important dates in the History of Worcester. In 1500 the population of city stood at 4000. Cloth manufacture was the major industry, and over half of the citizens worked as weavers, spinners, dyers, fullers and carders. 1502: Prince Arthur, heir to the throne, was brought to Worcester Cathedral for his funeral, having died at Ludlow. 1541: King’s School established by Henry VIII following dissolution of the Monastery. 1575: Queen Elizabeth I visited Worcester with a great procession, before hunting in the Parks of Battenhall and Hallow. By now the population of Worcester had reached over 8000. By 1610 river-borne trade became of increasing importance, and the cloth industry was already beginning to decline. 1642: The first skirmish of the Civil War in Worcester took place at Powick Bridge. 1646: The siege of Worcester, during which the medieval walls were strengthened and the suburbs to the south flattened. 1651: the Battle of Worcester ended the War when Cromwell’s forces defeated the Scottish army. King Charles made his escape through the back of a house in the Cornmarket and finally to France. The city was left with areas of major devastation and much rebuilding to be done.
Buildings destroyed in the Civil War were replaced with the Georgian buildings which now line Foregate Street and the Tything. 1718 saw the first horse race held on Pitchcroft. 1721-1723 The central part of the Guildhall was built, the wings being added 1725-27. 1751: The Founding of Worcester Porcelain Works, its first Royal Warrant being granted in 1789. 1771: Worcester General Infirmary was opened in what is now Castle Street. 1781 The old medieval bridge over the Severn was demolished and replaced by the present one. 1788 King George III visited Worcester with Queen Charlotte to attend the Three Choirs festival.
The 19th century began with gloving as the major industry, but by 1826 there was a major decline as import duty on imported gloves was abolished. 1802: Nelson visited Worcester and was granted the Freedom of the City. 1815: The Birmingham – Worcester Canal opened, stimulating local manufacturing. 1844: Diglis Weir was built. 1858: The Water pumping plant opened. 1894: Powick Mills became a steam & water driven hydro-electricity station. 1896: The Public Library was established in Foregate Street as part of the new Victoria Institute. 1897: The County Cricket Ground opened
Tudor House, Friar Street, is a 16th century timber-framed building, and part of a row in the heart of the historic city of Worcester. The museum is based on two floors and access to rooms on the first floor is by staircase. A wheelchair ramp is available to allow access to ground floor rooms, but due to the age of the building and limited space there is no lift to the first floor. You should allow at least 45mins-1 hour to go around the whole museum. Audio ‘Chatterboxes’ and stewards will help to convey information about its history. On advertised occasions, staff in costumes of the time will also tell you the story of the city. They have a virtual tour of the upper floor which can be accessed in the ground-floor Activity Room. Large magnifiers can be supplied upon request. Some objects that are not cased may be handled and stewards will indicate which can be touched. The toilet is located on the ground floor with level access from the main entrance passageway. It is a unisex accessible toilet, with an easy open door. Assistance dogs are welcome. A water bowl is available at the main entrance/exit for assistance dogs. Clear signage is used throughout the attraction using Arial font large letters black on a yellow background.
Location : Tudor House Heritage Centre, Friar Street, Worcester WR1 2NA
Transport: Worcester Foregate Street (National Rail) 10 minutes. Bus Routes : 26, 27, 32, 44, 303, 309, 332, 333, 356, 363 and 382 stop close by.
Opening Times : Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday 10:00 to 16:00.
Tickets : Free
Tel: 01905 612309