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Friends Newsletter No. 71

May 2016

Friends are the recognised guardians of Malvern's water heritage (Malvern Gazette 1 March 2013 p.14). We are an independent voluntary group who relentlessly promote research, conservation and celebration of the Springs, Spouts, Fountains and Holy Wells of the Malvern Hills and of Great Malvern as a Spa Town.

Events Day   25 June 2016
Since the year 2000, we have been working on a project to replace the George Bernard Shaw mulberry tree that blew down in a storm in Priory Park. Located near the spring and water garden in the park, the tree was a treasure dating from 1936 when Shaw planted it. Thought lost, we located a cutting that had grown into a full size tree in Malvern, Australia. Cuttings were exchanged and now we are able to unveil the new tree, a grandchild of the original, and a commemorative plaque in Priory Park.
On the other side of the world, Mayor of Malvern, Cr Claude Ullin has supported the project since 2009. The photograph shows him underneath the Australian mulberry tree in February 2016.
The new tree will be officially 'planted' in Priory Park at midday on Saturday 25th June, and an appropriately sculpted commemorative plaque unveiled by Australian Ambassador Di Foster, former local history officer in Victorian Malvern, who's coming here especially for this event. That evening, there will be a hot and cold buffet at the Mount Pleasant Hotel and Di will talk about and show colourful images of her Malvern. A direct descendant of Shaw's mulberry tree will be raffled that evening.
Programme for the day. Everyone is welcome.
10.30 - opening of Malvern Civic Week ceremony Belle Vue Terrace, arranged by Malvern Civic Society.
12.00 - Unveiling of the Mulberry Tree plaque and tree in Priory Park by Di Foster, ambassador from Malvern, Victoria, part of the City of Stonnington - orchestrated by FMSW using the Elgar Spade. Everyone attending will get a free ticket for refreshments and free entry to Malvern Museum that afternoon to see a special two-part exhibition - Two Malverns and Shaw's Mulberry Tree.
1.00 - Mulberry Pie and tea/coffee reception hosted by the Mount Pleasant Hotel - Free tickets for tea / coffee and mulberry pie to those attending the unveiling and a chance to visit Malvern Museum afterwards to see a special Two Malverns display. We plan to show film of original events in the Mulberry Tree history at the Mount Pleasant Hotel. A lunchtime food menu will be available should anyone wish to supplement the mulberry pie and tea/coffee.
7.00 - at Mount Pleasant Hotel - Welcome by Dr. Bruce Osborne on behalf of Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells - welcoming in particular our ambassador from Malvern Victoria, a separate bar will be available.
Then an evening hot and cold buffet meal followed by presentations and auction of Mulberry Tree, all at the Mount Pleasant Hotel, orchestrated by FMSW. This is a chance to meet to socialise with the visitors. Everyone welcome, being part of Civic Week. Tickets at  £15.00 are available from the Great Malvern Hotel in Graham Road or order from cora@malvernspa.com. For catering commitments, tickets for this event must be bought by 10th June.
Finish about 10.00pm.
In the picture local stone mason Catherine James prepares the plaque due to be unveiled in Priory Park. Shaped like a tree stump it commemorates Malvern's original Shaw mulberry tree at the time it was uprooted.
We would like to thank all the many participants in this project over the years and Coca-Cola for their continued support.

Schweppes Grotto - Festival of Britain
Since we started investigations into the Schweppes Grotto at the 1951 Festival of Britain, many Friends have contacted us with reminisces of their visits. The year 1951 was the theoretical one hundredth anniversary of Schweppes bottling Malvern Water but was this celebrated at the grotto? Details of experiences in the grotto continue to be sent to us by Friends, the one below was received following an editorial in our earlier newsletter.
"I visited Battersea Park Fun Fair as a child in the 60s, I must have been pretty small because I remember the enormity of the wooden steps in the Crazy Cottage, no older than 10 so that puts a date limit at 1966. Much of my memory is fogged with time of course but I distinctly remember the Schweppes Grotto which I thought was called the Temple of the Winds. For decades afterwards, it was the high point of the fair for me with psychedelic light shows pre-dating the genre, a total sense-surround environment with sound, smell & colour. I eventually became an artist and memories of the funfair have inspired me all my life, I am 60 soon and am still dazzled by the fair and planning new fairground art projects even today. 
As  well as the Crazy Cottage steps which I think I managed to fall up instead of walk up, I recall gazing onto the crowd beyond, presumably containing my parents - both passed over now - from a crooked upstairs window, it was like looking through a dream onto the real world outside. I would love to see more photographs of the fair because they jog my memory and bring recollections flooding back which are otherwise locked away. The mind forgets nothing - the problem lies in recollection.
I remember the Tree Walk with fascinating tableaux hidden amongst the tree tops as you passed by. The Helter Skelter with the door  mats you sat on to go down, the big silver candy floss drums where they scraped sticks round and round inside then presented you with an electric mop or brightly coloured floss ... the toffee apples, and probably a huge amount more that I cannot retrieve from the back of my mind. Are there no photos of the Grotto interior?
Thanks for the article! Ric Kemp (now in Dorset UK)"
Picture: By chance we came across this vintage Malvern Water bottle and note that Malvern is not mentioned on the label. Was Schweppes the main brand name up until the 1960s? This may explain the lack of Malvern Water branding in 1951 at the Festival of Britain.
We still seek pictures of the grotto and would welcome details of any that come to light.
From out of the gloom the monsters loom.
Last newsletter's editorial about the monsters on Belle Vue Terrace has caused some reaction from readers. A Friend writes:

"The monsters are universally disliked: partly because they are thought not to be beautiful; they are vertical, so not representative of the Malvern Hills and because the stone itself is not typical of this area. Perhaps the monster stones should be removed and the statue of Elgar placed on the plinth, which contains the first two lines of English poet Arthur O'Shaughnessy's 1873 poem Ode,  lines  'We are the music makers; we are the dreamers of dreams', which Elgar set to music in 1912 in his Op. 69 The Music Makers. Then illuminate the statue. The backcloth will be a quintessential English landscape of the Malvern Hills to the west or the delightful Severn Valley to the east."

Two constructive suggestions have come forward. The first is that a lantern is mounted on the top of the monsters and it has a variable colour LED light. This is varied according to the weather forecast - blue for rain, white for snow, yellow for sunshine, etc. At a glance visitors to the town centre can see the weather forecast and decide their plans accordingly. Alternatively, instead of the monsters looming out of the dusk on a summer evening, how about Elgar music and a light display for an hour on Sunday evenings? What a pleasure it would be to hear Land of Hope and Glory with a coloured light display and the fountain running after having had an enjoyable meal in a Malvern restaurant. Come on Malvern let's do something constructive with the monsters now that we have them in situ!

Australian link highlights past sacrifice
Australia has close links with Great Britain and our current association with Malvern Australia has brought to light poignant recollections. A Friend writes about her family on the far side of the world as follows:
"I was interested to read the article in the Gazette recently about the Mulberry tree and the link there is with Malvern Australia. My husband and I have lived and brought up our family in Malvern, Worcs since 1998. My father's family lived in Malvern Australia and I was very happy when I learned about this connection. From archive material into family history, I found when he died, my father left Melbourne in the late 1950's to join the British Army - and never returned. 
I thought you may also be interested in the attached cutting - unfortunately not dated - that I have.  It shows a group of young soldiers from Malvern Victoria - who were all subsequently killed in action, apart from one (H Chambers) - including my great uncle - Rupert Hanson.
Best wishes...."
Many Malverns - Part One

The interest in other Malverns has prompted the formation of a world database of so named locations currently totalling 24. We list below locations in Australasia. The Americas are planned for our future Newsletters followed by Africa.  If you can add to this do let us know and in due course we will list all locations on our web site.
AUSTRALASIA (locations marked on-line are featured on our web site)

Malvern, Melbourne, Victoria (on-line) originally founded by John Gardiner from Leamington UK, it was sold to Charles Skinner from Ledbury UK in 1856.
Malvern Adelaide (on-line) was a planned settlement dating from the latter part of the 19th century and is now part of the City of Unley, South Australia.

Malvern New South Wales is another late 19th century residential development.
Malvern Hills and Malvern Downs Queensland lies in a sparsely populated area used for sheep ranging. Malvern Hills is a settlement just off the Wooroolah Creek in south Queensland situated about 860km west-northwest of Brisbane. Malvern Hills is about 256m above sea level.
Malvern County New Zealand lies on South Island and was founded in the mid-19th century as part of the Christchurch and Canterbury Settlement by John Robert Godley.
Picture left - Only in Australia would you get a fish n' chip shop surmounted by a kangaroo.

Well Decorating 2016

This year the Well Decorating will be themed 'Friendship' which is most appropriate considering our associations with Malvern Australia afore mentioned. Timing as usual will be the May Day Holiday weekend as part of the Great Malvern Water Festival. This is another date to add in your diary and we hope to see everyone in town enjoying the festivities.

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Friendship - There is no charge made for joining Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells. Just let us have your email address and we will send our newsletters, which are usually two monthly. Please be aware that some email addresses block large circulation emails. Do feel free to participate in our activities by contacting us below.
Best wishes, Cora & Bruce
Bruce Osborne, Tower House, Tadworth, Surrey. KT20 5QY
Tel. 01737 213169   email
Cora Weaver, 4 Hall Green, Malvern, Worcs. WR14 3QX            
Tel. 01684 561215   email

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