AS Bamber used to say, here’s your starter for ten. Which Worcester thoroughfare was at one time considered to be among the finest streets in Europe? Not High Street, not Friar Street, not The Shambles, pause for drum roll, it was Foregate Street.

By the end of the 18th century, and with England in its Georgian hey-day, the quarter mile or so length of road from the end of The Foregate north to the junction with Castle Street, was in its prime. Even today it is the street in the city richest in Georgian remains.

Which was quite a transformation from what had gone on before. In Tudor times the highway was lined by cottages and small buildings, but nearly all of those were destroyed as defences were prepared for the Civil War siege of Worcester in 1646.

However after hostilities ceased, new buildings began to emerge. The main road was widened, town houses were built for the county gentry and by the end of the 1700s, the architecture of Foregate Street, Worcester was being spoken of in glowing terms. Among the finest in Europe it was said.

The Berkeleys of Spetchley had their own house and a private oratory there. The family were the leading Roman Catholics in the county and when the 1791 Act of Parliament gave formal recognition of Roman Catholic worship Robert Berkeley registered his house as a place with a room set aside for that purpose.

Earlier still, in 1687 James II when visiting Worcester insisted on attending mass at the Catholic chapel which stood where Pierpoint Street joins Foregate Street.

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However the mayor and corporation, being Protestants and although accompanying the King to the door,  refused to step inside and instead repaired to the Green Dragon Inn across the road  for a swift half or two while James prayed.

No longer a pub, the inn stands behind the facade of 43, Foregate Street, the splendid Palladian home of Dr John Wall, one of the founders of what was to become Worcester Royal Porcelain, and the grandest house in the street.

The property was later owned by Dr Charles Hastings, founder of the British Medical Association. On the wall of No 43 is a Blue Plaque to Sir Charles.

Across the road, on the site where the old Gaumont cinema was built, stood another substantial private home belonging to a different Wall family, no relation to Dr John. Its gardens stretched across to Sansome Walk and it bore the air of a large country house. The owner, William Wall, a banker,  was claimed to have a finger in every money making enterprise in Worcester. Profoundly deaf, the only word he was said to recognise was “money”!

His house was later lived in by the great Worcester surgeon Henry Douglas Carden, while other residents of Foregate Street included John Walsh at Number 24, famous in the 19th century as a sports writer under the pen name Stonehenge, and John Dent, the master glover, who lived at Number 34.

Whatever happened to the Georgian splendour of Foregate Street?