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The New International Encyclopædia/Worcester (Worcestershire)

WORCESTER, wụs′tẽr. The capital of Worcestershire, England, in the centre of the Severn Valley, on the eastern bank of the river, 27 miles southwest of Birmingham (Map: England, D 4). The most important public buildings are the cathedral, the shire-hall, the guild-hall, the county prison, the city library, the Worcester museum, the corn exchange, the music-hall, and a city grammar school, founded by Queen Elizabeth. A cathedral, dedicated to Saint Peter, was founded as early as the seventh century. In 1084 Bishop Wulfstan laid the foundation of a new cathedral, which was not completed till 1216. Restored since 1855, it is now distinguished by the simplicity, if not plainness, of the exterior, which is amply compensated for by a fine perspective, the lofty roof, and generally charming effect of the interior. The tombs of King John, of Arthur, Prince of Wales (eldest son of Henry VII.), and of Bishop Gauden (q.v.), are the chief ancient monuments in the building. The city owns the water and electric lighting works, slaughter-houses, markets, and cemeteries, and maintains a large recreation ground, swimming baths, technical and art schools, and a public library. Glove-making, leather dressing and staining, porcelain factories, ironworks, locomotive-engine factories, tanning and currying, horse-hair weaving, vinegar, wine and sauce making, coach-building, and the manufacture of chemical manures and agricultural implements are the chief industries. The frequent discovery of ancient remains proves that Worcester was a Roman station. It became a city under the kings of Mercia, and holds charters from Richard I. and subsequent monarchs. Here Cromwell overthrew a Scotch army under Charles II., September 3, 1651. Population, in 1891, 42,908; in 1901, 46,623.

Consult Curzon, Manufacturing Industries of Worcestershire (Birmingham, 1883); Brassington, Historic Worcestershire (ib., 1894-95).