AS the nation returns to work it is interesting to reflect on the industries that Worcestershire is famed for.

Household brands such as Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce and Royal Worcester Porcelain are well known, as well as the county’s role in the medieval cloth industry and the international gloving industry of the 19th century. However, Worcestershire’s success in trades and industry can be found in much earlier periods.

The area that is now Worcestershire had three major industries during the centuries of Roman rule: salt and iron production, and pottery manufacture.

Salt had been an important source of international trade before the Roman invasions. Briquetage, a rough ceramic used to make vessels which transported salt, has been found in large quantities in and around Droitwich, where it was extracted throughout the Roman period and beyond.

Worcester was a centre of Roman ironworking, part of a network of industrial sites that run from Cardiff to Worcester along the River Severn. The iron ore may well have come from the Forest of Dean via river transport or possibly from a closer, now exhausted source. Iron furnaces have been found at Deansway, Broad Street and Pitchcroft but dumped ironworking waste – or ‘iron slag’ – has been found across the city.

The Malvern area was the base of a Roman pottery industry, producing handmade ‘Malvernian Ware’ similar to pottery produced in the Iron Age and a new, wheel-made, Roman type known as ‘Severn Valley Ware.’

This distinctive orange pottery was traded across central western England and has even been found on the northern frontier along Hadrian’s Wall.

Evidence also exists of smaller, less well understood elements of the Roman economy, like glass making, copper and lead working.

The hoard pictured was found by metal detectorists and recorded via the Portable Antiquities Scheme. It includes 16 well-worn coins and quantities of silver and gold, buried near Hindlip over 1,700 years ago.

It is thought to have perhaps belonged to a jeweller who intended to retrieve the precious metals and melt them down.

If you would like to know more about Worcestershire during the Roman period, the exhibition Roman Worcestershire: On Tracks of Iron and Salt is available to browse on Museums Worcestershire’s website.

It is just one of the many online exhibitions to explore and there are more displays being added over the coming weeks, as we work with local artists on exciting projects inspired by the museum’s collections. Visit to delve into our fascinating objects and exhibitions.