History of the City Art Gallery and Museum

Worcester Museum was founded in 1833 by the members of the Worcestershire Natural History Society and claims to be one of the oldest regional museums in the Country. The collections were described as miscellaneous by one of the first curators and were originally shown in temporary rooms in Angel Street.

About the building

In 1835 a new building was built to house the collections in Foregate Street on the present site of the Odeon Cinema. The museum was called the Hastings Museum in honour of Sir Charles Hastings, who was president of the Worcestershire Medical Society and a consultant physician at Worcester Infirmary. He is also famous for helping to set up the British Medical Association.

Unfortunately, during the 1860’s the museum went into decline and the artefacts in the museum were described as being covered in dust. In 1879 the Free Libraries Act was adopted in Worcester and the Museum, Art Gallery and Library were amalgamated and given renewed funding.

In the 1880’s the museum committee sought the advice of the British Museum and Dr Henry Woodward submitted a long report making recommendations on the future management of the Museum.

In 1894 the foundation stone was laid by King George V for a new building to house the Museum, Art Gallery and Library. This building was opened to the public in 1896 and is the present home of Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum.

City Museum and Art Gallery in 1896

The Foregate Street elevation of the Museum, Art Gallery and Library as designed by J.W.Simpson and Milner Allen in 1896.

Hastings Museum

Worcester's first museum - The Public Library and Hastings Museum built in 1835 on the present site of the Odeon cinema.