This week is bookended by Blue Plaque moments. The British Medical Association was founded in Worcester by Charles Hastings, so says the plaque in Foregate Street. Yet his boss, Dr Jonas Malden, must surely have been involved. Despite being THE senior physician here for 43 years from 1818, there is nothing in the history books to say so. Nonetheless his family have donated a portrait of their ancestor which is now to hang in the Board Room of the old Infirmary – the University City Campus – and it was a privilege to be invited to the ceremony.
I was able to open the Heritage Day last week, held at The Hive as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations. Organisations from across the county showed just what rich culture there is of history, research, interest and evidence. It was great to see so many different but related groups bringing that heritage to life on a day organised by my own Archive and Archaeology Service.
Worcester Community Action is a voluntary organisation itself which is principally designed to broker volunteer opportunities for other organisations. I met with them this week to understand what they do and how statutory bodies like the city council can help them. As I have written before, the volunteer is a key cornerstone to our local community services who deserves our support and engagement.
And then on Friday, a real Blue Plaque unveiling to the medieval Jewish community of the city. A little known area of our city’s heritage, reported in this paper a few days ago. I first heard of the proposal some years back and it is great to see it has finally come to fruition. The Jewish community played a hugely important part in the medieval communities across the country before they were persecuted and kicked out in 1290. There is a document in the Archives relating to the taxation of Jews in Worcester by Henry III but little else, so hopefully this will spur more research and understanding.