Museum Collections in the Upstairs Gallery
There are some fine collections and a number of display boards along the upstairs corridor. The window frames from the Guesten Hall take pride of place and clearly demonstrate the skills of the medieval carpenter. An early map from 1633 shows the main features in the area after Charles I gave up his rights to the Chase. Other maps provide information about the local area in the 1700s and key routes through Worcestershire.
Edward Elgar is celebrated in words and pictures. He composed some of his most famous music while living in Malvern. The Pomp and Circumstance Marches, the Enigma Variations, Caractacus and the Dream of Gerontius were all, according to Elgar, inspired by our majestic hills.
Another information panel considers the work of the Malvern Conservators. It traces the growing frustration among local people over the loss of common land to wealthy landowners and quarry owners. This led to the first Act of Parliament in 1884 to protect the hills.
Another fascinating episode in Malvern’s history concerns the arrival of over 5000 American soldiers, doctors and nurses in 1944. Five hospitals were built below the hills prior to D-Day. These were used to treat thousands of casualties from the American forces engaged in liberating France.
A display dedicated to the Imperial Hotel (now Malvern St James) reveals some of the fascinating details of this magnificent railway hotel. Local architect, E W Elmslie, designed the building and no expense was spared, from gas-lit chandeliers to its numerous baths and brine baths. It had its own underground tunnel (known as The Worm) connecting the railway platform to the hotel basement for passengers and luggage. Some of the hotel’s tableware can be admired.
Radar and Science Collections
Lastly, some of the museum’s scientific collections are displayed in a recreated laboratory to celebrate Malvern’s pioneering role in the development of radar. The scientist standing in this gallery represents the research developed by the Telecommunications and Radar Establishment during the Second World War. Malvern College and Pale Manor became home to over 2000 scientists. They carried out top secret work for the last 3 years of the war. Some claim that the Second World War was won on the playing fields of Malvern. Their pioneering work continues in newer fields including the silicon chip, lasers, infra-red research and satellite communications.