Visit to Evesham

The visit on Sunday 17th August to Evesham was an occasion enjoyed by all who attended. It was a dry, pleasantly warm day, appropriate to the leisurely pace at which we were able to take in the sights and sounds around us. My last visit to the town was so long ago that I can only vaguely recall it as a pleasant market town, the prosperity of which was based on a thriving fruit and vegetable economy within the surrounding Vale. In the intervening years much has changed. It is still a small market town with a population of around 20,000 but its vitality now depends less on the cultivation of fruit and vegetables - 'Pick your Own' is a familiar sign - than on its retailing and servicing functions. It boasts more and a greater variety of shops than Lichfield, some of which are to be found in the pleasing and carefully designed Abbey Gates Shopping Centre opened in 1989. This has its main entrance on Bridge Street, which has recently been pedestrianised in a simple and attractive manner. Tourism is an important source of income. There is so much for the visitor to see - the Abbey Gardens, the Bell Tower which is the only surviving part of the huge Benedictine Abbey dissolved in 1539, St Lawrence's Church and All Saints' Church.

The Civic Society party saw all of these and were also treated to a guided tour around the Evesham Museum housed in the Almonry, a half-timbered Grade I listed building dating back to at least 1400. The Museum is an 'Aladdin's Cave of treasures not least the model of the site at Green Hill of the Battle of Evesham in 1265. Here is was that Simon de Montfort was killed - his heart is buried in the Abbey Gardens. After the visit to the Museum we had the pleasure of a boat trip on the River Avon on a vessel with the unlikely name of 'Hansom Too' - which transpires to be an anagram of the owner's name. All in all it was a jolly good day, made pleasant by the guides and others who looked after us.

Mike Tole
August 1997