TUCKED away down what is generally regarded as Worcester’s oldest and prettiest thoroughfare, courtesy of its number of black and white buildings, lies Tudor House Museum in Friar Street, promoted by its supporters as “a beautiful 16th-century building full of unique features and fascinating stories”. And they’re not wrong there.

Currently it is closed because of the modern outbreak of the plague, but as soon as the doors open again I highly recommend  visit, because this place, to pinch an oft-used phrase, is a hidden gem.

How often locals go there I am not sure, but a visit to rub shoulders with the tourists is well worthwhile to find out what life was like for Worcestershire folk way back when. Exhibits range from the quirky to the downright essential, the rather large to the very small.

The property itself is a fine example of a close-studded timber framed building with the only remaining original embossed ceiling in Worcester. It was erected around 1520, although foundation stones in the cellar date from the early Medieval period. It was also originally three separate dwellings, each owned or rented and used by different tradespeople.

Seventeenth-century inventories show that some of these were well-off, but that was by no means always the case.

Tudor House has been a home and a workshop for weaver clothiers, carpenters, a baker and a 17th century solicitor’s widow, to name just a few.

Some of the weaver clothiers who lived there brewed ale as a side-line in the late 1500s and for about five hundred years part of the building was used for brewing. It was known as The Cross Keys tavern from at least the 1700s. Later uses of the house included a hairdresser’s and a chip shop.

READ MORE: Massive sporting plans for Perdiswell

Tudor House’s appearance today is the result of sensitive restoration and amalgamation of three main properties by Richard Cadbury in the early 1900s.

The front of the house has a jettied timber frame on the left (“jetty” describing the overhanging first floor which juts out from the face of the building), and a three-storey brick building on the right. In addition, the timber-framed building itself it was divided into three dwellings when Cadbury bought it; two were to the left of the present entrance and one to the right.

Cadbury was a son of the founder of the chocolate firm. With a tea room and restaurant upstairs, the “Tudor Coffee House” supplied food at a reasonable price to the poor people of the area.

In 1921 it was purchased by the Worcester Corporation and started its life as a public building as a school clinic and dentist’s. During the Second World War, the building was used as an Air Raid Warden’s post and billeting office. During the 1970s it became the council-run Museum of Local Life until its closure in 2003.

In 2008 Worcester Municipal Charities took up the lease for the building from Worcester City Council on behalf of Worcester Heritage & Amenity Trust giving Tudor House a secure foundation on which to grow.

Plans for the future include the restoration of the Tudor ceiling, expanding opening hours and developing new displays. It is now a professionally accredited museum, has been shortlisted for the national Family Friendly Museum and has an award-winning volunteer team. Get down there when you can.