A stroll down Orchard Road Great Malvern
Orchard Road is a residential area between the south side of Priory Park and Malvern College. A nice area where the sun sets a little earlier due to the shadow of the Malvern Hills.
This trail, intended to show you a little more of the Victorian architecture of Great Malvern, takes you on a circular walk starting in Southleigh car park in Priory Road, along Orchard Road, right, into Priory Road and right again into Abbey Road arriving at the Abbey Gateway and Great Malvern Post Office. Then returning to the car park through the Priory Churchyard and Priory Park to your starting point.
At the south western corner of the car park cross the road and walk up a small alley into Priory Park. On the left you will pass a house with a green plaque. This was once the pump room of a water cure establishment.
The flow of water here is reputed to have been fairly poor, and rusty. Possibly helpful for those suffering from iron deficiency anaemia!
The green plaque reads:-
150th Anniversary of the Water Cure
The Chalybeate Well under this cottage was used by visitors for medicinal purposes in the 18th and 19th centuries
The Malvern Civic Society 1992
Looking to your left you will also see a castellated house which may have been the water cure establishment associated with the pump room.
At the top of steps you come into the park by the Swan Pool. Turn left here and continue up the footpath to the north end of Orchard Road. Alternatively you can walk up through the park past the childrens' play area.
As you turn into Orchard road you will see Park View on you right which is now apartments but was once a grand water cure establishment built by Dr James Wilson circa 1848.
Opposite on your left is the Bowling Green where Dr Wilson's house once stood.
Next to the bowling green is Orchard Lodge which was purchased by Malvern Girl's College in 1921.
Through a gap on the right, you can see the back of Malvern House in Abbey Road which was built in 1859 for Dr James Wilson to accommodate water cure patients.
The following photos show the varied architecture of some other houses in Orchard Road, which are mostly Victorian.
The modern Quaker Friends Meeting House near the south end of the road, is a popular meeting place (see photo below), but note, parking is difficult and Orchard Road is a cul-de-sac so, unless you are disabled, it is best to park elsewhere and walk up.
The plain looking house below on the western side of Orchard Road looked as though it was undergoing renovation in 2013.
The Victorian house below, which no longer exists, had probably been unoccupied for a while when this photo was taken in 2013. In 2014 the house was demolished to make way for a development of apartments by local firm IE Developments of Hereford. The old house, built on a steeply sloping site, must have had fantastic views, but we were told it had been suffering from damp and rot. The new building, called The Revue, under construction in 2014, has a massive steel frame.
Photo below, another house with pierced barge-boards.
At the end of Orchard Road opposite St Edmunds Church Hall, turn right into Priory Road, where you will pass a red Victorian Pillar box.
Not far along, Priory Road bends to the right joining into Abbey Road.
At this junction there used to be a memorial to Dr James Wilson who led the expansion of the water cure in Victorian times; it was demolished many years ago, but a new memorial is planned to be erected by the Malvern Civic Society.
Near the junction is a large Victorian house with a castellated porch.
Many houses in Abbey Road are already described in our page A Stroll Down Abbey Road so we only took a few snaps on our way to the Abbey Gateway.
The photo below shows the front of Malvern House which was built in Jacobean style for Dr James Wilson to accommodate his growing number of water cure patients.
A plaque to the left of the porch, placed by the Malvern Civic Society reads,
Malvern House was built by Dr James Wilson in 1859 and continued in use for water cure patients after his death in 1867
The photo below shows a glimpse of the front of Park View, next door, which was built as a Hydrotherapy Establishment for Dr James Wilson and completed about 1848.
Beyond can be seen the tower of the Priory Church above a modern brick structure forming an extension to the Abbey Hotel - which we think is slightly out of keeping with its surroundings.
On the front of Park View, to the right of the porch are two plaques placed by Malvern Civic society.
The green plaque reads,
Britain's first purpose-built water cure establishment.
Dr James Wilson practised here 1845 - 1867.
The blue plaque below reads,
During the 1930s Evelyn Waugh often stayed here at the former County Hotel.
He would visit the nearby Picture House, Captain Hance's riding academy in Church St and the Lygon family at Madresfield Court
Below is another view of the modern extension to the Abbey Hotel, from the entrance to Park View.
On the western side of the road is Abbotsfield which was once the home of water cure doctor James Loftus Marsden.
The Abbey Hotel
Proceeding ahead, past the right turn into Grange Road you will find the facade of the early Abbey Hotel built about 1849 by the Archer Family.
The Abbey Gateway
Approaching the Abbey gateway you may glimpse the Saturday market, as we did.
Malvern Museum and Farmers Market
To the left under the archway is the entrance to Malvern Museum which is run by volunteers and is open from April to October.
Below, another photo of the Abbey Gateway and Farmer's Market.
In the half timbered building on the left you will find the local printing firm 'First Paige' who have published some local history guides, including a very interesting booklet about the history of Park View.
The Priory Steps and Shops
At this point you could walk past the Post Office and turn right down Church Street, but instead take the steps into a small alley between the Post Office and the Abbey Gateway leading to some small shops and an entrance into the Priory Churchyard.
On the corner of the Priory Steps is The Great Malvern Deli.
Just below is the Aquarius 'new age' gift shop.
Below, is the Malvern Bookshop which advertises 5 rooms of secondhand books.
Below the Malvern Bookshop is the Lyttelton House (art) Gallery.
The Priory Churchyard
The alley then leads into the churchyard. Immediately on the right is a bench where you can sit quietly and take in the view.
Here you could turn right down more steps to visit the Priory Church (see photo below), but this trail continues down the path to the entrance onto Church Street by the Lyttelton Well bookshop.
On the way down the path, to the left you will see the tops of the shops on Church street, which probably go unnoticed when you walk by looking in shop windows. Some buildings such as Boots are probably modern brick infill, while others such as Caffe Nero suggest a possible Victorian heritage.
Further up (not shown) is Gordon Smith's supplying a good range of household furnishings and kitchen equipment.
The photo below shows the entrance to Church Walk which leads to the Wilkinson general store and Waitrose.
Since the financial crash in 2008 there have been many changes on the high street. The Julian Graves chain closed and their shop on Church Street (see below) is now a Bakery and Coffee shop.
The Anupam Indian restaurant has a reputation for good food; their damaged sign in the photo below has since been repaired.
The Superdrug chemist shop on the corner by the traffic lights, previously Halifax Building Society, is now a Costa Coffee shop. We wonder how so many coffee shops and bistros can be financially viable.
Below is a view looking up Church Street from the entrance to Great Malvern Priory. The large redbrick building is now occupied by Boots the chemist; before that it had been a Londis grocery shop and an International Store.
Proceed down Church street, past the Iceland store, and turn right at the traffic lights into Grange Road. On the left you will pass The Grange, built in Victorian times, which until recently had been occupied by Malvern Hills District Council and the Citizens Advice Bureau. In 2014 it was said to be in a poor state of repair due to its age.
Further along, on the right, is Priors Croft, a restaurant and bar opposite the Malvern Theatres.
Next to Priors Croft are the offices of the Malvern Hill Conservators, where locals can make enquiries and buy an annual pass to park in the Conservators' car parks on the hills.
Cross the road to enter the Malvern Theatres complex, containing a cinema, theatre, hall, bar and bistro.
On the wall near the entrance to Malvern Theatres is a plaque placed by Malvern Civic Society that reads,
Malvern Festival Theatre, home of the Malvern Festival 1929 - 1939.
George Bernard Shaw, playwright
Sir Barry Jackson, director
Roy Limbert, manager and director
Henry K Ayliff, producer
To return to Southleigh car park, proceed down the steps into the hall of Malvern Theatres and out the door at the far end, down more steps, into Priory Park. Look for the handrails at the side of the steps.
Follow the path across the grass to the bandstand, and then across the bridge over the pool; bear left and then right to leave Priory Park by the Splash leisure centre. Then cross the road back to Southleigh car park.
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Last updated 11th May 2015