ToponymyThe Herefordshire edition of Cambridge County Geographies states "a Welsh derivation of Hereford is more probable than a Saxon one" but the name "Hereford" is also said to come from the Old English language, Anglo-Saxon "here", an army or formation of soldiers, and the "Ford (crossing), ford", a place for crossing a river (cf. Herford, Westphalia, with the same Saxon etymology). If this is the origin it suggests that Hereford was a place where a body of armed men forded or crossed the River Wye, Wye. The Welsh language, Welsh name for Hereford is ''Henffordd'', meaning "old road", and probably refers to the Roman road and Roman settlement at nearby Stretton Sugwas. Some historical documents refer to "Hereford in Wales".
HistoryHereford became the seat of Putta, Bishop of Hereford, some time between AD 676 and 688, after which the settlement continued to grow due to its proximity to the border between Mercia and , becoming the Anglo-Saxons, Saxon capital of West Mercia by the beginning of the 8th century. Hostilities between the Anglo-Saxons and the Britons (historical), Welsh came to a head with the Battle of Hereford in 760, in which the Britons freed themselves from the influence of the English. Hereford was again targeted by the Welsh during their conflict with the Anglo-Saxon King Edward the Confessor in AD 1056 when, supported by Viking allies, Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, King of Gwynedd and Powys, marched on the town and put it to the torch before returning home in triumph.
GovernanceThe main local government body covering Hereford is Herefordshire Council. Hereford has a "City Council" but this is actually a Parish councils in England, parish council with City status in the United Kingdom, city status, and has only limited powers. Historically Hereford has been the of . In 1974 Herefordshire was merged with Worcestershire to become part of the county of Hereford and Worcester, and Hereford became a Non-metropolitan district, district of the new county. Hereford had formed a historic borough and was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. On 1 April 1998 the County of Hereford and Worcester was abolished, and Herefordshire and Worcestershire were re-established as separate counties. However the new Herefordshire was a unitary authority without any districts, and so Hereford lost its district status (although, confusingly, the authority's full legal name is the County of Herefordshire District Council). Charter Trustees were appointed to preserve mayoral traditions until a civil parishes in England, civil parish council could be set up, which happened in 2000. Hereford is one of only eight Parish councils in England#Alternative styles, civil parishes in England which have city status. It is based at Hereford Town Hall. Hereford (UK Parliament constituency), Hereford was the name of a parliamentary constituency centring on the city, from 1295 to 2010, when it was renamed as Hereford and South Herefordshire. The current Member of Parliament, member of the British House of Commons, House of Commons for Hereford and South Herefordshire (UK Parliament constituency), Hereford and South Herefordshire is Jesse Norman of the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party.
ClimateAs with all of the UK, Hereford experiences a Oceanic climate, maritime climate, with limited seasonal temperature ranges, and generally moderate rainfall throughout the year. The nearest Met Office weather station for which 30-year averages are available is Credenhill weather station, about north east of the city centre. Before 2001, the weather station at Preston Wynne (7 miles, 11 km to the north-east) provided the data. Since 2001, extremes at Hereford Credenhill have ranged from during July 2006, to as low as during December 2010. In February 2020 many houses in Hereford were evacuated due to floods.
RoadHereford, as an ancient crossing over the River Wye, has long been important within the regional and national transport network. Today, the town is served by several major routes, including: * , Southbound: Ross-on-Wye. , Northbound: Leominster and Shrewsbury. * , Westbound: Hay-on-Wye and Brecon. , Eastbound: Ledbury and Tewkesbury. * , South-west: Abergavenny and Merthyr Tydfil. , North-east: Bromyard. * , North-east: Worcester. The nearest motorway is the , which passes to the south of Ledbury. Along the northern rim of the City, the A4103 is named "Roman roads, Roman Road," running in a straight line from east to west. Only one of these major routes List of crossings of the River Wye, crosses the River Wye, the A49/Victoria Street, which is carried by Greyfriars Bridge. In 2017, Hereford was named Britain's "second slowest city," with an average traffic speed of 14.09 mph. Cambridge topped the list, whilst London came third with vehicles travelling at an average 14.59 mph.
FutureThere have been plans for many years for a north–south bypass (road), bypass and currently the plan is for a nine-mile (14 km) dual carriageway; however, HM Government as yet has refused to grant permission or supply funds. However, the Hereford Link Road was completed in December 2017, costing around £34,000,000 to build. There are plans to add new homes, a university building and a transport hub to this area. Plans for the north-south bypass were scrapped in February 2021.
RailHereford railway station is situated to the north of the city centre. The station is the western terminus of the Cotswold Line, and is a through station on the Welsh Marches line, Welsh Marches Line between Abergavenny and Leominster. The station is managed by Transport for Wales Rail Services, Transport for Wales, which operates services to destinations such as Newport, Wales, Newport, Cardiff, and Swansea to the south. Transport for Wales also operates services northbound towards Leominster railway station, Leominster, Shrewsbury railway station, Shrewsbury, Chester railway station, Chester, Manchester Piccadilly station, Manchester, and North Wales. On the Cotswold Line, services are operated by West Midlands Railway (WMR) towards Birmingham New Street railway station, Birmingham, via destinations such as Great Malvern railway station, the Malverns, Worcester Foregate Street railway station, Worcester, and Bromsgrove railway station, Bromsgrove. Great Western Railway (train operating company), Great Western Railway (GWR) also operates regular services to London Paddington station, London Paddington via Worcester Shrub Hill railway station, Worcester, Oxford railway station, Oxford, and Reading railway station, Reading, amongst other destinations. A second station has also served Hereford in the past, Hereford Barton railway station, Hereford Barton, which closed in 1893.
CyclingCycling infrastructure in Hereford is maintained by Herefordshire Council and Sustrans. An unbroken Shared use path, shared-use path for cyclists and pedestrians runs along the western rim of the city, from Newton Farm to Holmer, Herefordshire, Holmer. The Great Western Way route crosses the River Wye using Hunderton Bridge. National Cycle Network, National Cycle Route 46 runs southbound from Hereford to Swansea. The route is signposted and unbroken, and the next destination from Hereford ''en route'' is Kilpeck Castle. The route passes through Abergavenny and the Heads of the Valleys as it enters . As of Summer 2020, Sustrans proposes an extension to Route 46 running eastbound from Hereford to Worcester. National Cycle Network, National Cycle Route 44 leaves Hereford to the southeast and runs as far as Rotherwas Chapel, Rotherwas. The route is incomplete; once completed, Route 44 will run to Ludlow Castle to the north and Cinderford, Forest of Dean to the south.
BusesSince the decision of First Midland Red to pull out of the city in 2015, the majority of bus routes have been operated by Hereford bus and coach operator Yeomans Canyon. The 33 service to Ross-on-Wye and 36 service to Monmouth are operated by Stagecoach West, services historically in the hands of Red & White Services , Red & White. Other bus services are operated by a various operators.
Military associationsIn 1999, the British Army Special Air Service (SAS) moved from their base at Stirling Lines in Hereford since 1960 to a former Royal Air Force base RAF Hereford, RAF Credenhill in Credenhill that had been redeveloped and was designated as Stirling Lines in 2000. The clock tower on which the names of deceased SAS soldiers are inscribed was re-located.
EconomyThe main public service employers in Hereford include: * Herefordshire Council * NHS Herefordshire In 2005 Hereford was granted Fairtrade City status. Major employers in the city include: * H. P. Bulmer, Bulmers, now owned by Heineken – Cider and alcoholic beverages producer. Brands include Woodpecker Cider, Strongbow Cider, Strongbow and Bulmers Cider * Special Metals Wiggin Ltd – Manufacturers of alloys * Cargill Meats Europe (formerly Sun Valley) – Manufacturers and suppliers of food products for retailers and foodservice operators * Painter Brothers – Manufacturers of galvanized steel towers including Skylon (tower), The Skylon Other major companies based in Hereford include: * Spinning Dog Brewery – Brewers of traditional beers in Hereford City * Wye Valley Brewery – Producers of such beers as Butty Bach and Hereford Pale Ale (HPA) and other real ales. Herefordshire is a global centre for production as it supports many acres of orchards, so many breweries and associated organisations exist here, along with other heavy and light industries. Within the city, many are based at the Rotherwas Industrial Estate.
RegenerationMany of the schools in Hereford have been rebuilt and improved. The Herefordshire and Ludlow College has also been rebuilt to a 21st-century standard. A new higher education institution NMITE (New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering) is also being developed, which, once validated, will teach Engineering in a liberal context. The first staff were appointed in 2018 and the first cohort of students will enter in 2020 subject to Validation. There have also been a number of improvements at Hereford Sixth Form College, where a new business block extension was completed in 2013 and a new reception area was completed in 2015. Hereford benefitted from the Private finance initiative, PFI reconstruction schemes for NHS hospitals, with the former County Hospital site having £60 million spent on a brand new, one-site hospital to replace the former 3 hospitals: the General, the Eye Hospital, and the County Hospital. The new Hereford County Hospital was the single largest investment in Herefordshire at that point. In 2015, further funds for more improvements at the hospital were granted.
Current and future projectsA major regeneration project is taking place in Hereford city centre, formerly known as the Edgar Street Grid. This covers an area of around just north of the old city walls. Work started on 8 October 2012, and should take around 15 years to complete the whole project. The regeneration includes the rebuilding of the canal basin at the end of the currently disused Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal. The £80 million phase 1 includes a supermarket, department store, multiplex cinema, shops, restaurants, and other facilities and opened in late Spring 2014. The Butter market (place), Market is due for refurbishment and proposals are being examined. A proposed bypass (road), bypass has been drawn up to circulate the city, which suffers from rush hour traffic, with potential routes either to the east or west of the city. Both routes would connect with the Rotherwas Access Road which was recently completed, connecting the Rotherwas Industrial Estate to the A49 road, A49. Rotherwas itself has recently been awarded an Enterprise Zone status by the government which is expected to boost the economy and bring in thousands of new jobs. A second railway station for Hereford has been discussed, which would be situated in Rotherwas as part of the Enterprise Zone. Hereford is due to receive half of the 20,600 new homes expected to be built in the county by 2026 as part of the Regional Spatial Strategy.
SportHereford is the home of the association football, football club, Hereford F.C., Hereford FC who play at Edgar Street in the National League North. They are a phoenix club that was set up in the wake of the demise of Hereford United F.C., Hereford United Football Club in 2014. United were best known for beating Newcastle United F.C., Newcastle 2–1 in an FA Cup replay in January 1972, when they were still a non-league side and Newcastle were in the top division of English football. Other city clubs include Westfields F.C., Westfields and Pegasus Juniors. Hereford Rugby Club announced plans in 2012 for a £6 million move to a new home. Hereford Hockey Club is based at the Hereford City Sports Club, with teams entered into leagues in the West Hockey Association (field hockey), West Hockey Association. The city is home to Hereford Racecourse, a traditional National Hunt course to the north of the city centre which hosted around twenty meetings a year. The company who leased the site decided in 2012 that the site was not viable. What many thought to be the last meeting was held on 16 December 2012, however the course reopened for racing in October 2016. Golf courses surround the city at Wormsley (Herefordshire GC), Burghill and Brockington. The racecourse surrounds a golf course in Holmer.
Public leisureHereford's public leisure facilities are managed by a not-for-profit trust HALO Leisure, which runs the Hereford Leisure Centre (that includes sports halls, gymnasium, squash courts, and an outdoor sport, athletics facility), and the Hereford Human swimming, Leisure Pool (which includes a gymnasium, full size swimming pool, leisure pool, diving pool, and learners pool).
Clubs and societiesThe Hereford Rowing Club (along with the Kayak Club) uses the . The stretch of river is also used for other water sports. Hereford has a nine pin Skittles (sport), skittle league, formed on 24 October 1902, and today consists of five divisions. Hereford has other clubs and societies including the Railway Club, Welsh Club, Military Club, Richmond Place Club and the Whitecross Squash (sport), Squash & Lawn Tennis Club. Hereford has several music clubs/societies such as Herefordshire Youth Orchestra, a group for those up to the age of 21.
UniversityPlans are now in progress to create a new higher education institution, New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering, in Hereford. It is envisioned as a seed institution for a future University of Hereford.
CollegesHereford is home to five colleges, including: * Hereford College of Arts – a publicly funded art school located on Folly Lane, with a Higher Education centre on College Road in the former main buildings of the Royal National College for the Blind. The University of Wales Trinity St Davids co-operate to provide degree qualifications. * Herefordshire College of Technology, Herefordshire and Ludlow College (HLC) formerly known as Hereford College of Technology - The Folly Lane facility includes a university centre for the University of Worcester. The National School of Blacksmithing is the oldest established Blacksmithing college in the UK, also the largest facility for training smiths in Europe. This is also part of HLC. * Hereford Sixth Form College * The Royal National College for the Blind – One of the top colleges in Europe for blind and visually impaired students, and one of only two in Britain. The college occupies the former Hereford College of Education campus. The college often plays host to major blind sporting competitions like the Blind World Cup 2010 and Euro 2015 Blind Football Championships, and currently hosts the England Blind Football squad training camps. * Holme Lacy College – An agricultural college that was part of the Pershore Group of Colleges (now Warwickshire College), but currently belongs to Herefordshire and Ludlow College (HLC).
SchoolsHereford's many secondary schools include: * The Steiner Academy Hereford – The first Rudolf Steiner school in England to become an Academy. * Aylestone Business and Enterprise College- A co-educational comprehensive school for pupils aged between 11 and 16, created in 1976 by merging two former grammar schools, the Hereford High School for Boys and the Hereford High School for Girls. Specialises in Business and Enterprise College, Business and Enterprise. * The Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School – A co-educational Voluntary aided school, voluntary aided comprehensive school for pupils aged between 11 and 16, formed in 1973 from two former church secondary schools, the Bluecoat foundation, dating back to 1710 and the Bishop's School, a secondary modern school founded in 1958. It is now a Technology College with a second specialism in Language College, Languages. * The Hereford Academy – A high school for pupils aged between 11 and 19. It was known as Haywood High School in the late seventies until 2006, when it was renamed as Wyebridge Sports College. As of 1 September 2009 it was renamed The 'Hereford Academy'. It has been, like Whitecross High School, re-classified as a 'Sports College'. The Academy's new building opened in September 2011, and the demolition of the old school site, making way for new playing fields to be laid out, was completed in Spring 2012. * Hereford Cathedral School – A co-educational independent school and sixth form, and a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. The earliest existing records date from 1384 though it is likely that a school was associated with the cathedral from its foundation in the late 7th century. HCS, together with HCJS (see below) educates the choristers for Hereford Cathedral Choir. * St Mary's Roman Catholic High School, Lugwardine, St Marys RC High School – A Roman Catholic Comprehensive School for boys and girls aged 11–16. The school primarily serves the Catholic Communities of Herefordshire and is situated in a very attractive rural location close to the River Lugg, a few miles to the east of the City of Hereford in the village of Lugwardine. * Whitecross Hereford High School – A Specialist school, specialist Sports College, which moved to a brand new Private Finance Initiative, PFI building in June 2006. The college for pupils aged between 11 and 16 aims to use the new facility to provide the best high school education for its pupils in the topic of Sports & Fitness. Primary schools in the city include Hereford Cathedral Junior School, a co-educational independent school. Hereford Cathedral Junior School is, with Hereford Cathedral School, part of the ancient Hereford Cathedral Foundation dating back to 676. The Junior School was founded as an independent school in 1898. The City's other primary schools are: Lord Scudamore Academy, St James C of E, St Francis Xavier R.C, Trinity, Holmer C of E, Marlbrook, Riverside, St Martin's, Broadlands, Riverside, Hampton Dene and St Paul's C of E.
Health and social careIn early 2008, Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire became the first local authority and primary care trust to form a new kind of partnership. The major hospital in Hereford is the Hereford County Hospital. Ambulance services are provided by the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust. The Midlands Air Ambulance charity provides air ambulance services across Herefordshire. A private national firm operates a hospital in Hereford, and the city is well-populated with council-funded, private and charity based nursing, residential and other elderly care homes and facilities.
Society and culture
AgricultureFarming has played a major part in the history of the county of Herefordshire, and for many years the City of Hereford was the epicentre, playing host to the Cattle Market (place), Market; a major market site. With the 2001 Foot-and-mouth disease, foot-and-mouth outbreak the market suffered with trade reduced. Established by Act of Parliament, the market had to be provided, and so a Bill was introduced in 2003 to move the site to the outskirts of the city. The inner city site would then be available for redevelopment, a process that has now finished. The new Hereford Cattle Market opened its doors in August 2011 on the site just outside the city and has already proved so successful that trading and business is up on the previous site's record.
MusicThe annual Three Choirs Festival, originating in the 18th century and one of the oldest music festivals in the British Isles, is held in Hereford every third year, the other venues being Gloucester and Worcester. Composer Sir Edward Elgar lived at Plas Gwyn, Eign Hill, in Hereford between 1904 and 1911, writing some of his most famous works during that time. He is commemorated with a statue on the Cathedral Close. One of his Enigma Variations was inspired by a bulldog named Dan falling into the River Wye at Hereford, and the dog is similarly honoured with a wooden statue beside the river. Not long after moving into the city he was (despite not being a city council member) offered but declined the office of mayor of the city. He also visited the city as a conductor at the Three Choirs Festival, the last occasion in 1933 prior to his death. Hereford is home to the Hereford Police Male Voice Choir who competed on the BBC TV show "Last Choir Standing", and the Railway Choir. A charity music school is also based in Hereford. The hymn tune ‘Hereford’ was written by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876). He was an organist at Hereford Cathedral (1832-1835). This tune is often sung to the words ‘O Thou who camest from above’.
ArtH.Art, or Herefordshire Art Week, is an annual county-wide exhibition held in September, displaying the work of local artists. Many places usually closed to the public are opened during this week, such as the Bishop's Palace at the Cathedral. Poland, Polish-born sculptor Walenty Pytel has had studios in Hereford since 1963 after training at Hereford College of Art. There is a statue of a Bronze Hereford bull designed by Brian Alabaster ARBS in front of The Old House
LiteratureThe troops of the fictional commando squad Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six, Rainbow were based at RAF Hereford, as detailed in the novel ''Rainbow Six (novel), Rainbow Six''. The action of the fictional novels ''Shades of Grey 1: The Road to High Saffron, Shades of Grey'' and ''The Last Dragonslayer'' by Jasper Fforde take place in Hereford. Phil Rickman's ''Merrily Watkins'' series of supernatural and mystery novels is set in and around Hereford. Comedy writer Aaron Gillies began writing using Twitter while working as a sound technician at Courtyard, Hereford, The Courtyard.
MediaThe local radio stations are Free Radio Herefordshire & Worcestershire, Free Radio (formerly known as Wyvern FM) which broadcasts on 97.6-96.7-102.8 FM, Sunshine Radio (FM), Sunshine Radio on 106.2 FM, BBC Hereford and Worcester which broadcasts on 94.7FM, Like Radio Like Music, Like Radio. Digital Radio Station available on DAB, Online and On The Go. The station covers Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucester, Cheltenham and Birmingham. Hereford FC has its own online Radio station, RadioHerefordFC covering all its matches Home and Away. It also has a 24/7 eclectic music output. The Hereford Times is the city's only remaining weekly local newspaper as the 'Hereford Journal' ceased publication on 11 June 2014 and the 'Hereford admag' ceased publication in September 2018. Local TV content is currently provided by BBC Midlands Today and ITV Central News.
EntertainmentThe city's main theatre and cultural venue is the Courtyard, Hereford, Courtyard Centre for the Arts which was opened in 1998, replacing the New Hereford Theatre. There is also a multi screen Odeon Movie theatre, cinema in the Old Market precinct. MFA Bowl (formerly known as TGS), home to a Ten Pin Bowling alley and Mini Golf course is located near the railway station. There is also a dedicated Skateboarding, Skatepark on Holmer Road.
Notable peopleJohn Kemble (martyr), John Kemble, Catholic priest and martyr, was born near Hereford. Nell Gwyn, David Garrick and Sarah Siddons, actors and actresses, are all historical figures popularly associated with Hereford. Major-General Stringer Lawrence, first commander-in-chief of British troops in India, under whose command Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive of Plassey, Robert Clive served, was born in Hereford. Broadcaster Gilbert Harding was born there when his father was master of the local workhouse, as was contemporary actress Beryl Reid. The original lineup of The Pretenders, with the exception of lead singer Chrissie Hynde, were from Hereford, as were the rock band Mott the Hoople. Frank Oz, puppeteer for ''The Muppets'' and Yoda of ''Star Wars'' was born in Hereford and lived there for the first five years of his life. Footballer Connor Wickham was born in the city. John Williamson (economist), international economist and author of "What Washington Means by Policy Reform" was born in Hereford. Ellie Goulding, pop singer and songwriter was born in Hereford. Hereford is the current home of television personality, Wincey Willis. The highwayman William Spiggot declared before his execution to the Ordinary's Accounts of Newgate Prison in London that he was the son of an innkeeper from Hereford.
Tourism and attractionsHereford Cathedral dates from 1079 and contains the ''Hereford Mappa Mundi, Mappa Mundi'', a medieval map of the world dating from the 13th century which was restored in the late 20th century. It also has a chained library. The Old House, Hereford is an historic black and white house in the centre of High Town in Hereford. It is now a museum about life in the Jacobean era of the 1600s when it was built. The Hereford Museum and Art Gallery, housed in a Victorian Gothic building and opened in 1874, presents artefacts, fine art, and decorative art associated with the local area. The Hereford Cider Museum is in the city, with a shop, and an interactive guide to producing the drink. It is a registered Charity Trust founded in the early 1970s by people who wanted to record the past, and also the disappearing traditional art of cider making that had been practiced for generations on the farms in the "Cider Counties". Situated in an old cider factory, it opened in 1980 and 1981. In the spring/summer a cider festival is held, started in the mid-1980s, by the Friends of the Museum with the advice of Long Ashton Research station near Bristol. It has a display of named cider apples, and the apples are pressed in the old way. The Museum holds in its Pomological Archive a number of records pertaining to apples and cider. The Violette Szabo Museum is in Wormelow Tump, Wormelow village, outside the city. Holme Lacy House, now a hotel for a national chain, was built near the city by John Scudamore (landowner), John Scudamore in the 1500s. It has played host to famous historical figures in its time.
FestivalsSeveral festivals are hosted in Hereford including the Beer on the Wye festival, the Hereford Food Festival, and the Three Choirs Festival.
Twin towns* Dillenburg, Germany * Vierzon, France (since 1994)
Freedom of the CityThe following people and military units have received the Freedom of the City of Hereford.
Individuals* John Masefield, John Edward Masefield : 1930. * Graham Turner, Graham John Turner: 31 October 2010.
Military Units* The Herefordshire Light Infantry: September 1945. * RAF Credenhill, RAF Hereford: April 1959. * The King's Shropshire Light Infantry: April 1960. * The Light Infantry: July 1971. * HMS Antelope (F170), HMS Antelope, Royal Navy, RN: March 1976. * The Royal British Legion: April 1976. * The Special Air Service, 22nd Special Air Services Regiment: April 1981. * The Burma Star Association: April 1982. * The Rifles: July 2008. https://herefordcitycouncil.gov.uk/city-history/freedom-of-entry/
See also* Hereford (UK Parliament constituency), List of Hereford MPs * * Railways in Hereford