Opening weekend: Saturday 29 July – Sunday 30 July (10am – 5pm)
One of the most significant periods of Worcester's history will be brought to life in a new interactive experience opening at The Commandery on Saturday 29 July. Worcester's Civil War Story will tell tales of treason, treachery and tragedy in the city where the English Civil War began and ended.
Worcester played a defining role in the Civil War. The City witnessed the opening and closing battles, from the initial skirmish at Powick in 1642 to the final clash between Royalists and Parliamentarians in the Battle of Worcester in 1651, during which The Commandery became the Royalist battle headquarters.
The Commandery's new interactive experience will take visitors back over 350 years into a murky, conflicted 17th Century Worcester of fiery debates, the smell of gunpowder and dank city streets.
There will be opportunities to master tactical techniques with the battlefield strategy interactive, try on a soldier's uniform, uncover the stories of families torn apart by war and come face-to-face with Oliver Cromwell.
Countless characters will be part of the journey; the Presidents' Rooms will celebrate the visit of future US Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to Worcester in 1786. Such is Worcester's importance in the story of democracy that Adams stood on Fort Royal Hill and exclaimed that "this is holy ground, much holier than that on which your churches stand. All England should come in Pilgrimage to this Hill, once a Year."
Civil War City trails will encourage visitors to Worcester to explore further afield and bring together fascinating Civil War stories that have left their marks across the city.
The UK's oldest re-enactment society The Sealed Knot will be supporting the opening weekend at The Commandery with a living history camp that provides a glimpse into life in the midst of the Civil War, and the August bank holiday weekend will present The Storming of Fort Royal, supported by Worcester Re-enactors.
Repairs, refurbishment and redecoration to the building itself are underway, including repairs to the roof, pest treatment, damp prevention, upgrades to the building's heating, electrical and fire protection systems and redecoration in a wide range of rooms.
Worcester City Council has underpinned its significant Civil War history by investing £380,000 into the project, in addition to £96,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and further funding from Worcestershire County Council, Arts Council England, the Friends of Worcester Museums and Art Gallery and Worcestershire Ambassadors.