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Charter 400: Explorations of Worcester History through Four Centuries

Academic staff from across the University have come together to deliver a series of talks next weekend, as part of the Worcester’s Charter 400 celebrations.

Charter Day is Friday, October 2, marking the 400th anniversary of the Charter of King James I incorporating the City and establishing the post of Mayor. The 1621 Charter marked a momentous occasion in the development of Worcester City. On 2 October 1621, James I put his seal to the Charter that granted Worcester the rights and constitution that established the basis of the modern governance of the city and county of Worcester.

As part of the City’s celebrations, the University’s academics will be delivering a number of talks ranging from Cromwell to wartime evacuees, women in politics to the porcelain industry at The Hive on Saturday, October 9 from 10.30am-2.45pm. The full schedule is as follows:

10.30am-2.45pm, Level 0, The Hive, Worcester

10.30-10.45Welcome, Professor Neil Fleming
Part I: Worcester institutions
10.45-11.15‘Charles Hastings and the Establishment of Worcester as a Medical Hub’, Professor Howard Cox
11.15-11.45‘Industrial Archaeology and the Worcester Porcelain Industry: Results of the
Worcester Porcelain Project’, Dr Helen Loney
11.45-12.15‘History Teaching at the University of Worcester,’ Professor Suzanne Schwarz
(Lunch Break)
Part II: Worcester lives
1.15-1.45‘Rent Arrears, Food Shortages and Evacuees’, Professor Maggie Andrews
1.45-2.15Oliver Cromwell and the Devil in Perry Wood’, Professor Darren Oldridge
2.15-2.45‘From Votes for Women to Worcester Woman: 100(ish) Years of Women’s Activism in Worcester’, Dr Anna Muggeridge

‘Charles Hastings and the Establishment of Worcester as a Medical Hub’, Professor Howard Cox

This talk will explore the background events that led to the foundation of the British Medical Association at a meeting of medical practitioners in Worcester Infirmary in 1832. It will highlight the significance of Charles Hastings’ decision to launch the Midland Medical and Surgical Reporter as a new journal in 1828 and the critical need for advancements in medical research that made the formation of the BMA a matter of urgent national importance.

‘Industrial Archaeology and the Worcester Porcelain Industry: Results of the Worcester Porcelain Project’, Dr Helen Loney

The fields around Worcester have revealed evidence of all phases of porcelain production, from the eighteenth through to the twentieth centuries. This talk will discuss the results of archaeological research conducted by Archaeology and Heritage staff and students at the University of Worcester.

‘History Teaching at the University of Worcester’, Professor Suzanne Schwarz

This talk explores how historians at the University of Worcester use their areas of research specialism to develop understanding of the history of Worcester among undergraduate and postgraduate students.

‘Rent Arrears, Food Shortages and Evacuees’, Professor Maggie Andrews

A glimpse into the trials and tribulations of everyday life for those on the Worcester Home Front in the First and Second World Wars. Although this Midlands city suffered limited bomb damage, the wives, mothers, sisters and sweethearts of men who fought in the conflict, found that war entered the domestic sphere of the home in a multitude of ways.

‘Oliver Cromwell and the Devil in Perry Wood’, Professor Darren Oldridge

Oliver Cromwell met the Devil on the eve of the Battle of Worcester in 1651.  At least, this story was told by opponents of his fallen regime in the 1660s, and tradition subsequently placed the encounter in Perry Wood.  This talk explores the relationship of this tale to seventeenth-century ideas about the Devil and the supernatural.

‘From Votes for Women to Worcester Woman: 100(ish) Years of Women’s Activism in Worcester’, Dr Anna Muggeridge

This talk will explore the role women played in Worcester’s politics and public life in the approximate century between the formation of suffrage societies in the city and the invention of ‘Worcester woman’ in the late 1990s. Although the city has never elected a female MP, this paper will nonetheless suggest that women have played a significant role in local society, through a variety of organisations and structures.

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