The Shambles of the ‘50s to ‘70s remembered by Worcester residents


Local people have been reminiscing during lockdown on their experiences of shopping trips to The Shambles (WR1 2RE) in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Following an appeal on social media as part of the Worcester Life stories ( initiative in September, a number of residents got in touch to share their memories.

These inspired an artwork which is on display in the city centre on scaffolding next to St. Swithun's Church (WR1 2RH). The giant banner has been created by Mike Fox Designs using historic photographs from the Worcester City Historic Environment Record of The Shambles, dating from the 1950s onwards.

The artwork was commissioned by Worcester City Council and the Churches Conservation Trust.

A QR code is featured on the banner, linking to a YouTube here containing archive photos of The Shambles shops, alongside people's memories of them.

Sheena Payne-Lunn, Worcester City Council's Historic Environment Record Officer, has been using archive photography as part of a series of online quizzes this year, with around 2-3000 people regularly taking part.

"It's been fantastic to see so many people re-connecting with one another and taking pleasure from their shared memories," says Sheena.

"It's really helped a lot of people to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation over the last few months."

The Worcester Life Stories team are now gathering memories from local people to feed in to a 2021 calendar, which will feature 12 high quality historic images alongside their quotes.

To find out more, go to

About Worcester Life Stories

Worcester Life Stories has been awarded £79,400 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which was match-funded by partners.

Worcester Life Stories is co-led by Worcester City Council and Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust and supported by Platform Housing, Historic England, University of Worcester Association of Dementia Studies, Worcestershire Association of Carers, Worcester Warriors, Tudor House Museum of Local Life and Bristol City Council.

The initiative will see material from the Worcester City Historic Environment Record, which includes a rich archive of 35,000 historic photographs and maps, made available digitally, while a bespoke web platform will enable local people to create their own digital life stories, for personal or shared reminiscence.

The University of Worcester Association of Dementia Studies will be exploring the impact of Worcester Life Stories on mental health and wellbeing. 

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