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Out and about in Malvern Link
Malvern Link is an area of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire, England, to the north and east of the town of Great Malvern.
New Year's Day 2013 was sunny so we had a walk around Malvern Link to get some fresh air and take photographs. So here are some photos mixed in with memories and snippets of local history which we hope you will find interesting.
We do not claim to be an authority on the local history of Malvern Link, so if you would like to find out more it is suggested you have a look at the trade directories in Malvern Library.
Malvern Link has changed a fair bit since we came to Malvern in 1978. It was then a little run down and has since struggled to survive competition from traders in other parts of Malvern. The footfall is low and over the last year a large number of shops have become hairdressers; it is hard to imagine there will be enough business for them all.
We parked at Victoria Park adjacent to the playing fields and children's play area where the parking is free, and walked down Pickersleigh Avenue to the traffic lights Here we turned right and walked down to the eastern end of Worcester Road, which is the main street.
From about 1830 while the gentry lived, and tourism began to flourish, in Great Malvern, Malvern Link began expanding as a location for traders, shop-keepers, small businesses and the middle classes.
The non-conformist Chapel of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, was the first church built in Malvern Link about 1837. William Towndrow (1802 - 1896) a local grocer and draper was instrumental in the building of the chapel which was replaced by a larger building in 1861.
The 1861 structure still exists and is located by the traffic lights opposite the turning into Spring Lane (see photo below).
The old chapel is now the Mayflower, a Chinese take-away food outlet.
In 1903 the congregation moved to the United Reformed Church at the western end of the main street.
Next door to the Mayflower is the Car Clinic which used to be 'Tyre Services', a tyre, battery and exhaust outlet (see photo below).
Opposite is a Texaco filling station, from where the photo below was taken.
If you turn into Spring Lane at the traffic lights you will find the B&Q DIY store.
When we first came to Malvern the site was occupied by a Midland Red bus garage. When that closed the site was taken over by Kwik Save which sold cut price groceries.
(Kwik Save did not have bar code scanners nor were the goods individually priced so the checkout operators had to remember and key in the price of each item in the trolley!)
When Kwik Save closed a new building was erected for FOCUS DIY which moved from a prime position on the Malvern Retail Park (now occupied by Marks and Spencer).
When the FOCUS group went bust in 2011, the site was taken over by B&Q (which has a large car park).
B&Q offers a 10% discount to the over 60's on Wednesdays (fill in form for discount card).
Opposite B&Q is the long established hardware store called Handyman House and if you can't find what you want in one store the other will probably have it.
Proceeding up the main street from the Texaco filling station you will pass a house with advertising on the side-wall and a bricked up front, which clearly once was a shop.
Just beyond is a Lidl supermarket which has a good car park and sells keenly priced groceries and many other varied items - a new list of offers every week.
Lidl was built on the site of Richmond Garage.
Across the road you will see the BP Sunny Lodge filling station.
This occupies the site of a house called Sunny Lodge built about 1835 for Admiral John Carter. John Carter (1785 - 1863) joined the Royal Navy in 1798. He served under Nelson and had a distinguished career In 1833 he married Julia Adery Georges. Between December 1841 and December 1846 Carter was Superintendent of the Royal Clarence Victualling Yard at Gosport.
In 1861 Sunny Lodge was the home of Captain William Candler and his wife Emma. The census lists William born about 1799 Yorkshire as Magistrate, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, late Royal Navy. He died 8th April 1865. William was married to Emma Catherine Lechmere, born 1809, daughter of Rev Anthony Lechmere of Hanley Castle.
Francis of Malvern nearby, a long established business, has three retail units in Malvern Link selling carpets, beds and furniture.
Harpers Bazaar is a good source of outdoor clothing and camping accessories.
Returning to Pickersleigh Avenue traffic lights we turned right into Richmond Road and then left at the far end to find St Matthias Church (see photo right).
The first Anglican church in Malvern Link was built in 1846, but was replaced by a larger structure in 1881 with generous financial help from Lord Beauchamp of Madresfield Court.
This large church has seating for 800.
In the churchyard we saw the Link Boundary Stone which is thought to have originally lain at the junction of Pickersleigh Avenue with the Worcester Road.
The plaque by The Link Stone reads,
This stone originally marked the boundary between the manors of Leigh Sinton and Powick. It was already old in 1584 when a breathless Elizabethan gentleman noted it during ‘beating the bounds’. In the Stuart period it was marked on an estate map as ‘The Old Stone’. The central recess is a receptacle for coins, perpetuating the very old custom of receiving payment for the right of passage through the parish. This custom was acknowledged by mourners, who would rest a coffin on the Link Stone on its way to Leigh from the Pickersleigh side of The Link, a practice probably not discontinued until 1845 when St Matthias was consecrated.
Nearby in Redland Road between about 1926 and 1966 lived district nurse Ethel Mary Lewis. Click this link to read more about her exploits in WWI.
We walked on through the churchyard to an alley-way, passing the rear of Malvern Link C of E Primary School, that led into Hampden Road and then back to the main street.
Near the junction is a BT Broadband Infinity equipment cabinet connecting Internet users to the exchange via fibre optic cable.
This was installed in 2012 and offers home and business users a faster connection.
Opposite near the corner of Hampden Road and the main street is the Energize Health and Fitness Centre (see photo below).
The building started as the Palladian Cinema which opened in 1918. By 1936 it had been re-named Malvern Link Picture Theatre. Following the start of Television broadcasting, the cinema closed about 1954 when it became a store for the A B Seed Company.
The photo below shows the view looking north back down Hampden Road towards St Matthias.
On the corner of Hampden Road and the main street is a sculpture known as the Link Stone Fountain which needs some maintenance.
At the western end of the main street you will find Colstons Bakery opposite the pelican crossing, and the Post Office. The Malvern Link branch of the HSBC bank has since closed.
Next to the post office is the United Reformed Church (URC). The photo on the right shows the exterior viewed from the small car park at the rear. The foundation stone on the front of the church records that,
This stone was laid June 18th 1903
To the Glory of God
For peace on earth and
Good Will towards Men
The URC often holds a service for shoppers on Friday mornings, followed by tea or coffee.
Luncheon on the 4th Thursday of each month is held in the Church Hall,
starting at 12 noon. Entrance is by donation. A Bible story and some singing
is part of the event, which is open to anyone.
photo below shows the front entrance with its fine wooden doors.
Next to the URC there is a turning into Picklersleigh Road which runs alongside the common before bearing left and coming out opposite the famous Morgan Motor Company works.
See photo opposite of an old three wheeler sports car, which was photographed outside the Abbey Hotel in Great Malvern.
Turning right at the junction opposite Morgan's, Pickersleigh Road continues to Barnards Green, whilst if you turn left, towards Malvern Link traffic lights, that section of Road is known as Pickersleigh Avenue
Malvern Link shops end at the URC, but we walked further up the Worcester Road to the new hospital.
To the right there is a turning into Howsell Road which leads to Malvern Blinds at the old fire station, an electrical wholesaler and Travis Perkins (builders merchant). On the right of the junction with Howsell Road is a block of (sheltered) apartments for retired people known as Santler Court, built by McCarthy and Stone in 2004 on the site of Brooklyn Motors. When we came to Malvern the garage was a Ford dealership known as Bowman and Acock and before that it had been owned by the Morgan Motor Company.
Thomas Charles Santler an inventor and engineer of Malvern Link built one of the earliest motor vehicles and had a workshop nearby.
The land on the opposite side of the junction had been used for storing vans and motor cars but in 2011 another block of apartments for retired people was built known as Elgar Lodge (see photo below).
Malvern Link railway station lies a few yards beyond Elgar Lodge and is accessible both from Howsell Road and the main Worcester Road which passes over the railway line. The photo below shows the station as seen from Worcester Road.
In the middle of the picture (above) is a block of flats known as Aspen Court standing on the site of the Malvern Link Railway Hotel which was built about 1867. The hotel was a grandiose red brick building. In 1873 it became the Link (preparatory) School which closed in 1965; the old building being demolished about 1968.
Malvern fire station is situated next to the railway station. It used to have a distinctive sloping roof (see photo below) but since this picture was taken the Fire Station has been rebuilt.
The old fire station
Malvern Community Hospital (see below), which opened in 2011, stands next to the fire station. It was built on the site of Fern Lodge a large house once owned by Henry F S Morgan founder of the Morgan Motor Company.
Latterly Fern Lodge was the home of Seaford Court Preparatory School.
Nearby there is a Victorian pillar box and across the road, on the edge of Malvern Link Common, is a drinking fountain. This was built in 1900 by the Women's Temperance Association, as a supply of pure spring water presumably to discourage the drinking of alcohol.
Just beyond the hospital is Morgan Court, a block of residential apartments for the elderly built by McCarthy and Stone in 1988. The building may have been named after the Morgan family who once lived next door.
By this time we were getting rather chilly, so that was the end of our New Year's Day perambulation - home for a warming lunch!
See also our list of businesses and transcription of the 1902 Malvern telephone directory.
1. Drake Daphne, The Story of Malvern Link, Worcestershire, published Great Malvern, about 1980.
2. Dixon John, The Churches and Chapels of Malvern, printed by Aspect Design, 2010
3. Iles Brian, Malvern Through Time, Amberley Publishing, 2009.
4. Census of England and Wales 1861
5. Weaver Cora and Osborne Bruce, Aqua Malvernensis, a history and topography of the springs, spouts, fountains and wells of the Malverns, and the development of the public water supply, printed by Aldine Press, 1994.
Last updated 22nd January 2019