THEY were the gates in Worcester's medieval walls which defended the city from siege and even played a vital role in the escape of a king.

Sadly, little survives of these nine gates while the plaques which mark where they once stood are often hard to spot and not always in the right place.

But that is scheduled to change with a set of bold plaques to mark the locations of these fortifications, all thanks to the work of Worcester Civic Society and the sponsors who have backed their vision.

It is hoped the plaques can increase the awareness of the people of Worcester and visitors of the history of their city. The new plaques will be much easier to see and provide more historic information.

Each plaque, made from aluminium, will be 20 inches by 15 inches (51cm by 38cm) and will contain an image of the individual gatehouse based on an engraving which shows the city at the time of the Battle of Worcester at the end of the English Civil War in 1651.

Although the plaques will be identical in form and style each will contain an individual image of the relevant gate and a description of its history, based on historical sources.

The project itself will cost an estimated £5,500 for all eight plaques and the civic society has achieved sponsorship for two of them and is now seeking sponsorship for the remaining six from business leaders in Worcester.

The aim is that the project will increase the prominence of the plaques for the purposes of tourism so people can enjoy the history of the city.

One of the gates to feature is Sidbury Gate which was built before 1197 and demolished by public subscription in 1768. All that remains of the gate now is preserved in the cellar of a tattoo parlour. After the fall of Fort Royal during the Battle of Worcester, Sidbury Gate was held by the Royalists, allowing Charles II to escape the city.

David Saunders of Worcester Civic Society said: "One of the many projects being worked on by the Worcester Civic Society is the replacement of the eight old and vary variable plaques around the city which mark the location of the gates within the medieval city walls.

"The existing plaques in the city are hard to spot, even with a keen eye, and vary in size, design and colour.

"The project aims to replace the City Gate Plaques with new larger commemorative plaques, in dark grey with white lettering and graphics which will be both more visible to the people of Worcester as well as more informative as to each gate's unique history."

The plaques are being made in Buxton, Derbyshire by Leander Architectural and have been designed jointly by James Dinn, the city archaeologist and Vincent Kirk of city-based KKE Architects.

There is no completion date yet for the plaques project as it depends on securing planning permission from Worcester City Council and on the consent of the building owner to allow the plaque.

To help sponsor these plaques please contact David Saunders of the civic society on or civic society chairman Phil Douce on

 Do you know your city gates?

  1. St Nicholas or Goal Gate (St Nicholas Street),
  2. St Martin's Gate (Cornmarket)
  3. Foregate or North Gate (The Foregate)
  4. Friar's Gate or The Blockhouse (Union Street )
  5. St Clement's Gate ( The Butts is the nearest location)
  6. Sidbury Gate (London Road by the canal bridge)
  7. Bridge Gate (on the retaining wall near the Worcester bridge - see the photos),
  8. Trinity Gate (City Walls Road- Cornmarket ),
  9. Frog Gate (on the old Worcester Porcelain Factory wall Severn Street ).