The North side of the Gate HouseIf you're expecting a small, neglected and dusty building be prepared for a pleasant surprise!  There is much more room in the Priory Gatehouse than looks possible from the outside.  The displays are bright, clean and very interesting.
There can be no better value for 2 anywhere. If you bring your children you are only charged an additional 50p per child!

A brief guide to the treasures within

The Priory Gatehouse
One of the large gate-postsMalvern Museum is housed in one of the two buildings surviving from the Benedictine monastery (the other being Malvern Priory church). The gatehouse, which had accommodation within, guarded the entrance to the monastery. The huge wooden and hinged gateposts can still be seen in the archway. Also notice the small rectangular opening, now glazed, called the Porter's Squint. From here the janitor could keep a watch on visitors to the monastery. The building dates back to c. 1480 but has been much extended and restored over the centuries.

The Malvern Hills Room
The rocks of the Malvern Hills are the oldest in England and Wales, being formed in the Pre-Cambrian Age, Part of a display of Silurian fossils found on the Malvern Hills between 600 and 1,000 million years ago. The main rock is granite but the Hills yield many fossils, mostly from the Silurian Age when the sea covered the area. The Malvern Hills Room tells the story of these Hills and their conservation, in maps, charts and words, and the rocks and fossils themselves. Above the exhibits is a silhouette of the entire length of the Malvern Hills. Before climbing the stairway with its old pictures and photographs note the archway case, generally used to display Victorian or Edwardian costume; notice also the observation beehive that was made specially for the Museum.

The Medieval Room
This room chiefly reflects the colourful chapter in Malvern s history from 1066 to c.1500, but local prehistoric flints and Romano-British pottery from Malvern kilns indicate earlier activity in the area. Is he real? Who is he? Come and find out! The Royal Forest, or Chase, was created by William the Conqueror and used by many subsequent kings and nobles for hunting expeditions. It was largely scrubland and pockets of dense wood with clearings supporting small communities. Today Castlemorton Common gives some idea of the Forest as it was. The Benedictine monastery was established in 1085 more than a mile from the tiny village of Baldenhall, near Barnard s Green. The Priory complex can no longer be seen but the magnificent Priory church with its stained glass, misericords (hinged monks seats) and the wall and floor tiles still remains to be admired. Illustrations of these form the greater part of the display. Two medieval timbers, thought to be from the rood screen, show traces of the decorative colour used at this time. The Guesten Hall, demolished in 1841, is another noteworthy building. This provided accommodation for the guests of the prior. It is thought that Henry VII, his wife and sons Arthur and Henry stayed here c. 1500. Drawings of the Guesten Hall hang in the corridor, together with a number of the medieval window heads, which would have been unglazed.

The Water Cure Room
The history of Malvern spring water and its uses can be traced back several centuries, at least to Richard Banister's Breviary of One Hundred and Thirteen Diseases of the Eyes and Eyelids of 1622. The water was analysed by Dr John Wall in the mid~18th century and found to have a very low mineral content...

      "Malvern water, says Dr John Wall
      Is famous for containing just nothing at all."

With its pure air, pure water and beautiful scenery Malvern became a desirable place to live and its population rose sharply from c. 1800. The large town plan on the wall shows the houses that were built along the Worcester Road at this time, as were hotels, the library and the Coburg Baths. Brrrr! Enjoying the water cure. A peep into the Water Cure Room In 1842 the hydropathic (water cure) doctors, Dr James Wilson and Dr James Gully, arrived and set up their practices. The famous, the wealthy and the not so wealthy tried the Cure, which involved adhering to a prescribed regime of wrapping, bathing and douching in cold water, drinking the pure spring water, exercising, and strictly following a recommended diet. It is no wonder that the majority of patients benefited from such a healthy regime. By the late 1870s the Malvern Water Cure had declined, following the death of Dr Wilson in 1867, the departure from Malvern of Dr Gully in 1873, and the competition from much cheaper but equally effective treatment on the Continent. The bottles in this room once contained drinks made with Malvern water. The sale of such products was a natural offshoot of the Water Cure and has, over the years, provided work for many local people. The oldest bottled water in the country comes from the Holy Well in Malvern Wells where bottling was carried out almost continuously from the 1620s to the 1980s.

The Victorian Room
Malvern grew from a village to a town with the arrival of the Water Cure. A view inside the Victorian RoomIt became a health resort in the same league as Cheltenham, Tunbridge Wells and Leamington Spa where the Victorians could "take the waters". Large houses were built for long-staying visitors, hotels prospered and many schools opened. The railway came in 1861, making Malvern more accessible. This room looks at Victorian enterprise, local government, education and leisure. The exhibits, changed regularly, display some aspects of Victorian life in Malvern such as domestic life, local trades, or costume. The Victorian Room would be incomplete without a mention of our famous composer Sir Edward Elgar, who wrote most of his best-known compositions during the thirteen years (1891-1904) that he lived in Malvern. Works included Caractacus, King Olaf, the Enigma Variations The Apostles, Dream of Gerontius, Cockaigne and Pomp & Circumstance Marches 1 & 2.

The 20th Century Room & Staircase Gallery
The latest in vacuum cleaners. . . .once!Even at the turn of the century Malvern was making history.Production of the Morgan car began here and is still being produced at its Pickersleigh Road factory. During World War I    Malvern became a garrison town and armaments were manufactured at the Morgan Motor Works. The Santler brothers whose inventive work spanned 30 years from the 1890s to the 1920s, produced in 1894 what is thought to be the first four-wheeled petrol-driven British motor car. Among the exhibits in this room is the story of the capture of a German airman by a female ARP warden in 1942. In the late 1920s the Malvern Festival was created by Sir Barry Jackson. George Bernard Shaw wrote many plays especially for the Festival, A TRE scientist. Working overtime? and five of his plays (The Apple Cart, Too True to be Good, In Good King Charles' Golden Days, Geneva, and The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles) had their British premier at Malvern. Elgar was a notable figure at the festivals in the early 1930s. The work on telecommunications and radar research developed by TRE (Telecommunications & Radar Establishment) during World War II continues today with pioneer work in the newer fields of the silicon chip, lasers, infra-red research and satellite communications.
The Museum is open daily, 10.30 to 17.00, from 25th March until 31st October, but is closed on Wednesdays during school terms except for party bookings.

Telephone: Malvern (01684) 567811

The Priory Gatehouse was a gift to the Museum from the de Vere Group in 1980. The maintenance of this historic listed building requires many fund-raising projects.

Malvern Museum Society Ltd
Created in 1979 this is a registered charity. It acts as a body of trustees to protect the Company, the Museum's legal and charitable status, its property and long-term interests.
Malvern Museum Home page

Click the button ABOVE to return to the Museum Home page.

The the 'Beautiful Malvern Hills' Home page