The town of Tenbury Wells lies within the Malvern Hills District and like Great Malvern was once a famous spa resort. The local paper, the Teme Valley Times, in their Christmas 2017 edition carried a most interesting article about the Pump Rooms and as a result brought to light an interesting artefact. Titled 'The Cranston Heritage', the Times ran an informative article on the local works of architect James Cranston, suggesting that Tenbury probably retains the largest surviving collection of his works. This includes the distinctive Pump Rooms alongside the Kyre Brook as illustrated left. Other examples include the Round Market and the Corn Exchange both of which date from the mid-19th century.
The first saline spring in Tenbury was identified in 1839. In the same year, Dr Granville, the author and international expert on mineral springs and associated spas, visited Tenbury and proposals were put forward to develop the health spa. Further wells were soon sunk locally to reach the saline geological strata some 42 feet down. As the spa developed, in 1862 James Cranston was given the opportunity of designing and building new spa pump rooms and baths for those participating in the mineral water cure. The result was a pioneering prefabricated building to the distinctive Chinese Gothic style which survives to this day. Towards the end of the 20th century the spa treatments had long been discontinued and the building fell into a state of extreme decay. Then in 1989, with funding from a variety of sources, the Tenbury Pump Rooms were restored to their former glory and in doing so provided the town with a unique iconic building for public affairs and meetings.
The article in the Teme Valley Times reminded us of a piece of thin metal that we had been given some time after the restoration. Apparently retrieved from the builders rubbish heaps, it measures 33cms x 11.5cms. Most interestingly it is decorated with a pale blue design suggesting that it was a frieze or similar. Although seriously corroded, the decoration is still discernable as can be seen from the illustration below. We have never been able to identify its former positioning in the original building, assuming it was once located there. Is it a last remaining panel from a forgotten internal décor? We would welcome readers' comments before we possibly offer it to Tenbury Museum as a Cranston artefact from the past - see picture below.
A recent editorial from Malvern Historical Society Newsletter Australia about a cricket bat.
A momento of friendship 1948 A cricket bat, signed by the Worcestershire County Cricket Club cricket players, was presented to Malvern, Victoria from Malvern, UK, in 1948.The following is a transcript of the accompanying letter.
Dear Mr. Mayor,
It gives me the greatest possible pleasure to extend greetings to you and the citizens of Malvern, Australia, on behalf of the townspeople of Malvern, England. We in the Motherland are not forgetful of the great service rendered by Australia, particularly by her fighting sons, during the war years, nor are we unmindful of the part she is playing to assist in our post-war recovery; nor too, do we in Malvern, forget the kindness and beneficence of the people of Malvern, Australia in sending of food parcels which have served to enhance the bonds of friendship which exist between the two towns which I can assure you have been very greatly appreciated. As a small momento of the friendship existing between the two towns and in the hope that it may serve to perpetuate and preserve that friendship, I am to ask you to accept a cricket bat on which is inscribed the signatures of the members of the Worcestershire County Cricket Club, which include, with one exception the signatures of the Worcestershire team which met the Australian XI in the opening match of their 1948 tour. The missing signature is that of R. Howarth, who at the time the signatures were obtained was on tour with the England team in South Africa. Also on the bat are the signatures of the members of the Malvern Cricket Club and the Barnards Green Cricket Club, which are the two main Clubs of the town. A cricket bat has been selected as symbolic of the spirit of friendly rivalry between our two countries but at the same time it serves to remind us of the team spirit which has brought us through the dark war years and without which we cannot hope to succeed in building up a new world founded on friendship, fellowship, peace and prosperity. The bat has been despatched to you under separate cover and I am to ask that you will accept it on behalf of the citizens of Malvern, Australia, and to express the hope that it will find a place among the treasured possessions of your City and in the hearts of your citizens as a token of lasting friendship from the people of Malvern, England.
Yours sincerely, F. A. Edwards Chairman, Malvern Urban District Council
Seventy Years after sending the cricket bat we now send New Years Greetings to Malverns Worldwide.
In 1910, Maddie sent the following card from Malvern Australia, halfway around the world to her homeland England, outlining her wish to remain in contact with friends and family there. Today we send this card on behalf of Malverns Worldwide and Great Malvern England to wish you, Malverns elsewhere, NEW YEAR GREETNGS for 2018. May the coming New Year enable you to prosper and develop not only in a physical but also in a spiritual sense. We look forward to making contact in the New Year enabling the concept of Malverns Worldwide to evolve further as a basis for international friendship.
This edition of the Newsletter has been an opportunity to express our rationale and plans for Malverns Worldwide, albeit at the expense of editorial on our Malvern Springs and Wells theme. The balance will be restored in the next Newsletter. In the meantime do go and have a look at the Tenbury Pump Rooms if you have not seen them before and spot where the frieze came from.