Courtesy of Worcester Records Office
The Hop Market Hotel
This magnificent building dates back to the start of the 20th century, and is now home to an eclectic mix of shops.
The ostentatious Hop Market Hotel in Foregate Street is one of the most striking buildings in the city, a monument both to the prosperity of the city at the turn of the 20th century, and the importance of hops to the commercial life of Worcester.
Long before the Hop Market Hotel opened, there was a Hop Pole Hotel in the city, whose guests included Princess Victoria and Lord Nelson.
The great Admiral stayed there in 1802, as part of a tour of the country in the wake of his victory in the Battle of Copenhagen the year before.
The people of Worcester turned out in force to welcome the nautical hero, who was travelling the country with a party including Lord and Lady Hamilton.
Berrow's Journal reported how "the brave avenger of his country's wrong was... greeted by joyous peels of church bells, and several discharges of cannon."
Nelson then visited the Chamberlain china factory, and went on to the Town Hall, where he was given the freedom of the city, and a richly ornamented china vase.
In his speech, after being given the freedom of the city, he was modest about his achievements, saying they were "due to the brave men who had been placed under his orders; it was to them that the country was indebted."
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.
Hops and riots
Many people walking along Foregate Street towards the cross will pass the Hop Market Hotel without taking the time the marvel at this magnificent building.
Hopmarket Hotel in Worcester
The Hotel was built at the beginning of the 20th century, and was extended when buildings were demolished to make the street wider.
The name is still clearly visible on the stone facade of the building, even though it is no longer a hotel.
The four-storey building has an ornate tower on the corner of Sansome Street and Foregate Street.
A little further up, an archway leads into the courtyard in the centre of the hotel, now occupied by an eclectic mix of shops.
In the times when there actually was a hop market, things could get very lively, as the Worcester Advertiser reporter on 21 September 1901, under the headline "Disorderly scenes at Worcester hop market."
The paper reported on how hop merchants were mobbed, because the crop was too plentiful, and local producers were unhappy at the price they were being given:
"The day of the great fair presented a scene of unprecedented disorder, which almost deserved to be called a riot."
Things are a lot quieter these days, though in the 1970s the Hop Market was a popular venue for local bands to rehearse in.
last updated: 26/02/2009 at 15:12
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