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13 November 2014

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Lord Nelson played by Alex Naylor

Lord Nelson played by Alex Naylor

Lord Nelson visits Worcester

The time Admiral Nelson visited Worcester to stay for a few days, back in August 1802...

Nelson arrived in Worcester during the afternoon of Sunday 26 August 1802 and stayed at the Hop Pole Inn, on Foregate Street.

Word had spread throughout the city that he was coming - a rumour thought to have been released by the Manager of the Hop Pole Hotel - and thousands of people arrived to line the streets of the town.

The people of Worcester were used to visits by Royalty to the city - the Prince of Wales and his brothers often visited - but Nelson's arrival was a much greater attraction, having become a hero of the Nile and Copenhagen.

Of course his crowning victory, at the Battle of Trafalgar, was still to come.

A hero's welcome

At about 6pm, a carriage came into sight near the bridge, the horses were removed and then replaced with strong men, who pulled their hero up Broad Street to The Cross, and then onto his hotel, amongst the enthusiastic, cheering of the crowd.

People still remained in the streets outside his hotel well into the evening, and Nelson often appeared to the crowd at his window.

The next day, on Monday, Nelson wanted to make a surprise visit to a China Factory in Diglis, which was owned by Mr Chamberlain.

However, the factory owner was a friend of the Manager at the Hop Pole, and he had been tipped off, so Nelson was treated to a band playing music.

It apparently seemed like the whole of Worcester had turned out to see him as he travelled to the china works, where a triumphal arch of laurel, with blue flags, decorated the entrance to greet him.

Admiral Lord Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton

Admiral Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton

Lady Hamilton accompanied him, on his left and only arm, followed closely by Sir William Hamilton, a very infirm old gentleman.

Nelson was quite taken with the fine china that he saw that day, equal to none, and he gave a large order for china to be decorated with his coat of arms.

Sadly, Nelson was killed at Trafalgar before he could pay for his porcelain dinner services and the debt remained outstanding until quite recently.

Nelson's debt paid

Chamberlain's China Factory became a part of Royal Worcester, and on 19 March 2005 the Chairman of Remember Nelson Limited handed over a cheque to clear the debt (including two hundred years interest!) to Royal Worcester, who in turn donated the money to the Royal Naval Association.

Worcester marks Nelson's visit

His visit brought changes to Worcester.

Cooken Street was changed from its ancient name to commemorate the Victory of Copenhagen, becoming Copenhagen Street, and an inn near the top of that road became 'The Mouth of the Nile' - the scene of one of Nelson's triumphs.

There was also a mosaic of stone in front of the Guildhall, recalling Nelson's visit, but this is no longer there.

On 27 August 1802, Horatio Nelson was given the freedom of the City of Worcester.

last updated: 08/01/2009 at 14:27
created: 18/10/2005

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