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WORCESTERSHIRE (/ˈwʊstərʃər/ (_ listen ) WUUS-tər-shər_ or /ˈwʊstərʃɪər/ _WUUS-tər-sheer_ ; written abbreviation: WORCS) is a county in the West Midlands of England
England
. Between 1974 and 1998, it was merged with the neighbouring county of Herefordshire as Hereford and Worcester
Worcester
.

The cathedral city of Worcester
Worcester
is the largest settlement and county town . Other towns in the county include Redditch , Bromsgrove , Stourport-on-Severn , Droitwich , Evesham
Evesham
, Kidderminster
Kidderminster
, and Malvern . The north-east of Worcestershire
Worcestershire
includes part of the industrial West Midlands ; the rest of the county is largely rural. The county is divided into six administrive districts : Worcester, Redditch, Wychavon
Wychavon
, Malvern Hills , Wyre Forest , and Bromsgrove .

CONTENTS

* 1 Location * 2 History

* 3 Demographics

* 3.1 Ethnicity

* 4 Local government

* 4.1 1844–1911 * 4.2 1926 boundary changes * 4.3 1966–1974 * 4.4 1974–1998 * 4.5 1998–present

* 5 Physical geography * 6 Sport * 7 Culture * 8 Media

* 9 Economy

* 9.1 Industry and agriculture

* 10 Education * 11 Towns and villages * 12 Places of interest * 13 Local groups * 14 Condiments * 15 See also

* 16 References

* 16.1 Notes * 16.2 Citations * 16.3 Sources

* 17 External links

LOCATION

The county borders Herefordshire, Shropshire
Shropshire
, Staffordshire
Staffordshire
, West Midlands , Warwickshire
Warwickshire
, and Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
. To the west, the county is bordered by the Malvern Hills and the spa town of Malvern . The south of the county is bordered by Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
and the northern edge of the Cotswolds ; to the east is Warwickshire. Two major rivers flow through the county: the Severn
Severn
and the Avon .

HISTORY

The Battle of Powick Bridge on the River Teme
River Teme
on 23 September 1642 began the English Civil War . Main articles: History of Worcestershire
Worcestershire
and Civil War in Worcestershire

Worcestershire
Worcestershire
was the heartland of the early English kingdom of the Hwicce . It was absorbed by the Kingdom of Mercia during the 7th century and became part of the unified Kingdom of England
England
in 927. It was a separate ealdormanship briefly in the 10th century before forming part of the Earldom of Mercia in the 11th century. In the years leading up to the Norman conquest, the Church, supported by the cathedral, Evesham
Evesham
Abbey , Pershore Abbey , Malvern Priory , and other religious houses, increasingly dominated the county.

The last known Anglo-Saxon sheriff of the county was Cyneweard of Laughern , and the first Norman sheriff was Urse d\'Abetot who built the castle of Worcester
Worcester
and seized much church land.

On 4 August 1265, Simon de Montfort was killed in the Battle of Evesham
Evesham
in Worcestershire.

In 1642, the Battle of Powick Bridge was the first major skirmish of the English Civil War , and the Battle of Worcester
Worcester
in 1651 effectively ended the civil war.

During the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
, much of the county's economy was based on the wool trade. Many areas of its dense forests, such as Feckenham Forest , Horewell Forest and Malvern Chase , were royal hunting grounds subject to forest law.

In the 19th century, Worcester
Worcester
was a centre for the manufacture of gloves; the town of Kidderminster
Kidderminster
became a centre for carpet manufacture, and Redditch specialised in the manufacture of needles, springs and hooks. Droitwich Spa , situated on large deposits of salt, was a centre of salt production from Roman times, with one of the principal Roman roads running through the town. These old industries have since declined, to be replaced by other, more varied light industry . The county is also home to the world's oldest continually published newspaper, the _Berrow\'s Journal _, established in 1690. Malvern was one of the centres of the 19th century rise in English spa towns due to Malvern water being believed to be very pure, containing "nothing at all".

DEMOGRAPHICS

See also: List of settlements in Worcestershire by population

The 2011 census found the population of Worcestershire
Worcestershire
to be 566,169, an increase of 4.4% from the 2001 population of 542,107.

ETHNICITY

Though the total number of people in every ethnic group increased between 2001 and 2011, the White British share of Worcestershire's population decreased from 95.5% to 92.4%, as did the share of white ethnic groups as whole, which went from 97.5% to 95.7%. While this change is in line with the nationwide trend of White British people's share of the population shrinking, Worcestershire
Worcestershire
is still much more ethnically homogeneous than the national average. In 2011 England
England
as a whole was 79.8% White British, much lower than Worcestershire's figure of 92.4%.

ETHNIC GROUP 2001 population 2001 % 2011 population 2011 %

White: British 517,747 95.5 522,922 92.4

White: Irish 4,163 0.8 3,480 0.6

White: Irish Traveller /Gypsy

1,165 0.2

White: Other 6,869 1.27 14,491 2.6

WHITE : TOTAL 528,779 97.5 542,058

95.7

Asian or Asian British: Indian 1,640 0.3 3,634 0.6

Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 2,917 0.5 4,984 0.9

Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 970 0.2 1,316 0.2

Asian or Asian British: Chinese 1,106 0.2 1,601 0.3

Asian or Asian British: Asian Other 455 0.1 2,206 0.4

ASIAN OR ASIAN BRITISH : TOTAL 7,088 1.3 13,741 2.4

Black or Black British: Caribbean 1,153 0.2 1,275 0.2

Black or Black British: African 332 0.1 767 0.1

Black or Black British: Other 153 0.03 330 0.1

BLACK OR BLACK BRITISH : TOTAL 1,638 0.3 2,372

0.4

Mixed: White and Caribbean 1,704 0.3 3,150 0.6

Mixed: White and African 221 0.04 592 0.1

Mixed: White and Asian Other 1,099 0.2 2,053 0.4

Mixed: Other Mixed 771 0.1 1,250 0.2

BRITISH MIXED : TOTAL 3,795 0.7 7,045

1.2

Other: Arab

236 0.04

Other: Any other ethnic group 807 0.1 717 0.1

OTHER: TOTAL 807 0.1 953

0.2

TOTAL 542,107 100 566,169

100

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Main article: Evolution of Worcestershire county boundaries

Worcestershire's boundaries have been fluid for over a hundred years since the abolition of the form of local administration known as the Hundreds in 1889, but the continual expansion of Birmingham
Birmingham
and the Black Country
Black Country
during and after the Industrial Revolution altered the county map considerably.

1844–1911

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Halesowen
Halesowen
was an exclave of neighbouring Shropshire
Shropshire
until 1844 when it was incorporated into Worcestershire. It is now in the metropolitan county of the West Midlands .

Worcestershire
Worcestershire
had several exclaves , which were areas of land cut off from the main geographical area of Worcestershire
Worcestershire
and completely surrounded by the nearby counties of Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire
. The most notable were Dudley, Evenlode, and the area around Shipston-on-Stour . In return, Staffordshire, Warwickshire
Warwickshire
and Shropshire
Shropshire
had their own exclaves within Worcestershire. These were found at Clent , Tardebigge and Halesowen
Halesowen
/Oldbury (or the Halesowen
Halesowen
parish area) and were transferred to or rejoined Worcestershire
Worcestershire
in October 1844 under the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844 . This Act of Parliament was designed to eradicate the issue of 'islands' or 'exclaves', however Shipston-on-Stour remained associated with Worcestershire
Worcestershire
until April 1931 and likewise Dudley
Dudley
until 1966. The southern boundary of the county was also confusing, with parish boundaries penetrating deep into Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
and vice versa. This was also eventually resolved by the 1844 Act.

Worcestershire County Council came into existence following the Local Government Act 1888 and covered the historic traditional county , except for two designated county boroughs at Dudley
Dudley
and Worcester.

Birmingham's continuous expansion has been a major cause of Worcestershire's fluid boundary changes and associated housing issues. The district of Balsall Heath , which had originally constituted the most northerly part of the parish of King\'s Norton , was the first area of the county to be added to the County Borough of Birmingham , on 1 October 1891. This was followed by Quinton Urban District , which was ceded to Birmingham
Birmingham
in November 1909, and then by the Rural District of Yardley and the greater part of the Urban District of King\'s Norton and Northfield , which were absorbed into Birmingham under the Greater Birmingham
Birmingham
Scheme on 9 November 1911. Thus these areas were transferred from Worcestershire
Worcestershire
to Warwickshire. Dudley's historical status within the Diocese of Worcester
Worcester
and through its aristocratic links ensured that the exclave was governed on a largely autonomous basis. Worcester
Worcester
was also self-governing and was known as THE CITY AND COUNTY OF WORCESTER.

1926 BOUNDARY CHANGES

In 1926, Dudley
Dudley
County Borough council purchased several square miles of land to the north of the town centre, mostly in Sedgley ( Staffordshire
Staffordshire
), including Dudley
Dudley
Castle . This was to build the Priory Estate , a large new council estate on which construction began in 1929. The boundaries of Worcestershire
Worcestershire
were altered to include all of the proposed new housing estate in Dudley.

1966–1974

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During the Local Government reorganisation of April 1966, Dudley expanded beyond its historical boundaries and took in the bulk of Sedgley
Sedgley
and Brierley Hill and the south of Coseley as well as a small section of Amblecote . The Local Government Act redefined its status and the County Borough of Dudley
Dudley
became part of Staffordshire, the county of which all of these areas had been part. At the same time, Worcestershire
Worcestershire
gained a new county borough named Warley , which was an amalgamation of Oldbury Urban District , Rowley Regis Urban District , the County Borough of Smethwick and parts of Dudley
Dudley
and Tipton
Tipton
. During these reorganisations, the area of the administrative county grew only where Stourbridge took in the majority of Amblecote Urban District from Staffordshire
Staffordshire
and the designation of Redditch in 1964 as a New Town . This in turn saw expansion into the area in and around the villages of Ipsley and Matchborough in Warwickshire. The Redditch New Town designation coincided with a considerable programme of social and private house building in Droitwich , Worcester, Bromsgrove, Kidderminster
Kidderminster
and along the Birmingham
Birmingham
boundary at Frankley , Rubery and Rednal . Frankley parish was later split into two: New Frankley and the area around Bartley Reservoir transferred from Bromsgrove District to Birmingham
Birmingham
in April 1995; but the small village of Frankley remained in Worcestershire
Worcestershire
and became a new Civil Parish under the same name.

1974–1998

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Broadway Tower , one of several Worcestershire
Worcestershire
follies

From 1974, the central and southern parts of the county were amalgamated with Herefordshire and with Worcester
Worcester
County Borough to form a single non-metropolitan county of Hereford and Worcester. The County Boroughs of Dudley
Dudley
and Warley, along with Stourbridge and Halesowen, were incorporated into the new West Midlands Metropolitan county . The West Midlands County Council existed for only a few years before abolition in April 1986, although the West Midlands still exists as a ceremonial county .

1998–PRESENT

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In the 1990s UK local government reform , the county of Hereford "> Summit of the Worcestershire Beacon
Worcestershire Beacon
in the Malvern Hills , the county's highest point.

The Malvern Hills , which run from the south of the county into Herefordshire, are made up mainly of volcanic igneous rocks and metamorphic rocks , some of which date from more than 1200 million years ago. They are designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Worcestershire Beacon
Worcestershire Beacon
, which at 425m is the highest point in the county, lies in this range.

The rest of the county consists of undulating hills and farmland stretching either side of the Severn
Severn
valley. The Severn
Severn
is the United Kingdom's longest river and flows through Bewdley , Stourport-on-Severn and Worcester
Worcester
. The River Avon flows through the Worcestershire
Worcestershire
town on Evesham
Evesham
and joins the Severn
Severn
at Tewkesbury
Tewkesbury
, Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
.

Several coniferous and deciduous woodlands are located in the north of the county. The Vale of Evesham
Evesham
runs through the south of the county and to its south are the Cotswolds AONB. Honeybourne railway station on the Cotswold Line and the potential Honeybourne Line .

SPORT

New Road is the home of Worcestershire County Cricket Club , across the River Severn from Worcester
Worcester
Cathedral .

Football is the most popular sport in the county, and the largest and most successful football club in the county is Kidderminster
Kidderminster
Harriers . Founded in 1877 as a running club and doubling as a rugby club from 1880, the football club was founded in 1886. In 1987, the club won the FA Trophy for the first time, and seven years later reached the fifth round of the FA Cup
FA Cup
, also winning the GM Vauxhall Conference title in 1994 but being denied Football League
Football League
status as their Aggborough Stadium did not meet capacity requirements. However, when the club next won the Conference title six years later, their stadium had been upgraded and promotion was granted, giving the county its first Football League
Football League
members. However, the club's Football League membership was short-lived, as Harriers were relegated back to the Conference in 2005 after just five years in the Football League, and have yet to reclaim their status.

The county is also represented by Worcester
Worcester
City of the Blue Square Premier North "> Classical composer Sir Edward Elgar was born in this house in Broadheath, Worcestershire , currently used as the Elgar Birthplace Museum .

The village of Broadheath , about 6 miles (10 km) North-West of the city of Worcester, is the birthplace of the composer Edward Elgar .

It is claimed that the county was the inspiration for The Shire , a region of J. R. R. Tolkien 's fictional Middle-earth , described in _ The Hobbit _ and _ The Lord of the Rings _. Tolkien was thought to have named Bilbo Baggins ' house "Bag End " after his Aunt Jane's Worcestershire
Worcestershire
farm. Tolkien wrote of Worcestershire: "Any corner of that county (however fair or squalid) is in an indefinable way 'home' to me, as no other part of the world is."

Worcestershire
Worcestershire
is one of the three counties associated with the Border Morris style of English folk dancing. Worcestershire
Worcestershire
Monkey is a popular Border Morris dance, although normally performed as a group of eight, it is sometimes danced _en masse_ with multiple border morris sides performing the dance together.

MEDIA

The Worcester
Worcester
station of BBC Hereford & Worcester
Worcester
.

BBC Hereford & Worcester
Worcester
, Free Radio and Sunshine Radio broadcast to both Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Signal 107 broadcasts to the north west of Worcestershire. Youthcomm Radio , a Community radio station, broadcasts to the city of Worcester. Birmingham-based radio stations such as BBC Radio WM have traditionally considered the bordering areas of Worcestershire
Worcestershire
as part of their broadcast area. The Birmingham-based West Midlands regional stations, such as Heart and Smooth Radio regionals also cover much of the county.

In 2007 the Office of Communications (Ofcom) awarded a DAB Digital Radio multiplex licence for Herefordshire & Worcestershire
Worcestershire
to MuxCo Ltd. who aimed to provide several new stations in 2009, while also providing a digital platform for Free Radio , Sunshine Radio and BBC Hereford "> Lea "> Worcester
Worcester
City's coat of arms includes three black pears, representing a now rare local pear variety, the Worcester Black Pear . The county's coat of arms follows this theme, having a pear tree with black pears. The apple variety known as Worcester Pearmain originates from Worcestershire, and the Pershore plum comes from the small Worcestershire
Worcestershire
town of that name, and is widely grown in that area.

Worcestershire
Worcestershire
is also famous for a number of its non-agricultural products. The original Worcestershire sauce
Worcestershire sauce
, a savoury condiment made by Lea and Perrins , is made in Worcester, and the now closed Royal Porcelain works was based in the city. The town of Malvern is the home of the Morgan traditional sports car . The painting, _A Worcestershire Cottage_ by Arthur Claude Strachan is also of general renown.

EDUCATION

See also: List of schools in Worcestershire

Worcestershire
Worcestershire
has a comprehensive school system with over thirty-five independent schools including the RGS Worcester
Worcester
, The King\'s School, Worcester
Worcester
, Malvern St James and Malvern College . State schools in Worcester, the Wyre Forest District, and the Malvern Hills District are two-tier primary schools and secondary schools whilst Redditch and Bromsgrove have a three-tier system of first , middle and high schools . Several schools in the county provide Sixth-form education including two in the city of Worcester. Several vocational colleges provide GCSE and A-level courses and adult education, such as South Worcestershire College , and an agricultural campus of Warwickshire
Warwickshire
College in Pershore . There is also the University of Worcester
Worcester
, which is located in the city itself and is home to the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit and five other national research centres.

TOWNS AND VILLAGES

Due to its Cathedral (pictured), the county town of Worcester
Worcester
is the only settlement in the county with city status.

The county town and only city is Worcester. The other major settlements, Kidderminster
Kidderminster
, Bromsgrove and Redditch are satellite towns of Birmingham
Birmingham
. There are also several market towns : Malvern , Bewdley , Evesham
Evesham
, Droitwich Spa , Pershore , Tenbury Wells , Stourport-on-Severn and Upton-upon- Severn
Severn
. The village of Hartlebury housed the Bishop of Worcester
Worcester
from the 13th century until 2007.

_For a full list of settlements, see list of places in Worcestershire ._ See also: List of settlements in Worcestershire by population

PLACES OF INTEREST

KEY

Abbey/Priory/Cathedral

Accessible open space

Amusement/Theme Park

Castle

Country Park

English Heritage

Forestry Commission

Heritage railway

Historic House

Museum (free/not free)

National Trust

Theatre

Zoo

* Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings * Bewdley – riverside historic Tudor town * Broadway – a picturesque Cotswold village * Croome Court * Elgar Birthplace Museum * Forge Mill Needle Museum at Redditch, the only remaining working needle mill in the world. * Great Malvern Priory * Greyfriars\' House and Garden * Hanbury Hall * Hartlebury Castle * Harvington Hall * Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty * Middle Littleton Tithe Barn – a restored 13th-century tithe barn * Morgan Cars – visitors centre and museum * Pershore Abbey * River Severn at Worcester
Worcester
and Bewdley, River Avon at Pershore or Evesham * River Teme
River Teme
and valley * Severn
Severn
Valley Railway at Kidderminster. * Tenbury Wells with its unique Pump Rooms. * The Commandery * The Fleece Inn – an ancient public house, now owned by the National Trust * The Hive, Worcester
Worcester
– the new University and public library (opened in 2012) * Wadborough * Walton Hill and the Clent Hills * West Midlands Safari Park near Bewdley. * Witley Court at Great Witley
Great Witley
– a burnt-out shell of a large English stately home , famous for its gigantic fountain, now restored to working order. Currently run by English Heritage . * Worcester
Worcester
and Birmingham
Birmingham
Canal * Worcester
Worcester
Cathedral * Worcestershire County Museum * Worcester
Worcester
City Art Gallery ">

* ^ In 2001 part of the White Other category. New category created for the 2011 census * ^ In 2001 part of the 'Other' category. New category created for the 2011 census

CITATIONS

* ^ Rogers, Simon. (18 May 2011) The ethnic population of England and Wales broken down by local authority News guardian.co.uk. Guardian. Retrieved on 17 July 2013. * ^ Worcestershire
Worcestershire
County Council. " Worcestershire
Worcestershire
County Council".

* ^ Bottled Waters of the World. Retrieved 9 August 2009 * ^ "A History of Dudley". Localhistories.org. Retrieved 7 November 2012. * ^ "County Tops". Hill-bagging.co.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2013. * ^ "Learning Zone Class Clips - The course of the River Severn - from source to sea - Geography Video". BBC. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 15 June 2013. * ^ "NAAONB Website". Aonb.org.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2013. * ^ * ^ * ^ "Oops! Page not found" (PDF). * ^ * ^ Humphrey,C. 1977 _Tolkien: A Biography _ New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-04-928037-6 * ^ Worcestershire
Worcestershire
Monkey , Wicket Brood website * ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding * ^ includes hunting and forestry * ^ includes energy and construction * ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

SOURCES

* "Spa Towns: Malvern" 27 October, retrieved 24 June 2006

EXTERNAL LINKS

_ Wikisource has the