‘The Town in the Orchard’
Tenbury Wells, situated on the banks of the River Teme and marking the border between Worcestershire, Shropshire and Herefordshire, was once said to have been called “my little Town in the Orchard” by Queen Victoria. It is now perhaps best known for its annual holly and mistletoe sales which are said to be one of the largest in the country.
The town has a wide range of independent shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes. Tenbury still retains the kind of retailers that are now distant memories in many towns such as Banfields Ironmongers where you find everything from screws to light bulbs. There is also a fresh Fish Shop, a range of gift and clothes shops and grocers.
Along side local supermarkets other specialist food shops supply a range of local produce. The main Market day is Tuesday, with a smaller market being held on Fridays and Saturdays. On Tuesday, in addition to stalls in Market Square, visit the Country Market in the Scout Hut next to the Swimming Pool. A larger farmers market runs every third Saturday in the month.
What else to see
When walking around Tenbury let your eyes wander and look at the wide range of interesting architecture. Tenbury boasts a large number of listed buildings, and the observant can spot unusual decoration to some of the Georgian buildings.
There are several 17th century half timbered buildings left in Tenbury, although many are obscured by Victorian brick frontages. The obvious 17th century buildings are the pubs of which the most ornate is the Royal Oak, with the oldest probably being the Pembroke House.
Collect a Town Trail leaflet from the town Tourist Information Centre and follow the route to discover other interesting buildings and facts, or follow the Tenbury Art Trail.
St Mary’s Church
St Mary’s Church, much restored in the 19th century after flood damage, has a Norman Tower and inside the well preserved Acton Tombs and the shaft of an Anglo Saxon Cross.
James Cranston also designed the oval-shaped, Round Market to enable farmers’ wives sell their butter and poultry inside, with walls to keep out the winds and rain.
Tenbury’s most bizarre building is the Pump Rooms designed in the Chinese Gothic Style by James Cranston of Birmingham. Inspiration came to him after some greenhouses he had designed, replacing the glass by wrought iron sheets. It was one of the earliest examples of prefabrication, with the sheets being made in Birmingham and assembled on site. Tenbury Wells had the ‘Wells’ added to its name last century to help promote the Mineral Water Wells that had been found in the town from 1840 onwards.
One of the buildings on the trail is the Tenbury Museum on Cross Street. One showcase is dedicated to a set of gruesome old surgical instruments donated by Tenbury Hospital. Local man Dr. Henry Hill Hickman (1800-1830) practised in Tenbury and pioneered the use of inhalation anaesthesia some two decades before ether and chloroform began to be used.
The Regal Cinema
The Regal Cinema first opened its doors in 1937. This wonderful example of an art deco cinema has recently been fully restored and fitted out with the very latest projection equipment and now benefits from modern heating and onsite catering facilities.