History & Architecture
Architectural Historian Nikolaus Pevsner notes that this building was built in 1864 for the Worcester Engine Works Company to designs by Scottish architect Thomas Dickson. It fulfilled its intended function – as a works for the construction of railway engines and rolling stock – for only seven years. In 1871, as the railway boom slowed down, the Great Western Railway, who had acquired the works, consolidated manufacture and repair of engines and carriages in Swindon and closed down operations in Worcester (West Midlands).
The grand proportions and Italianate architecture of the building saw it chosen as the venue for the Worcester Exhibition of 1882, a showcase of cultural artefacts (fine art pieces and porcelain from the collections of local dignitaries) and local industrial products, inspired by The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. From 1903 to 1984 the building was occupied by an offshoot of Manchester engineering company Heenan & Froude, the firm that built Blackpool Tower.
The building is currently part of an industrial estate and is subdivided into a number of smaller units, offering a variety of services from auto repair to indoor rock climbing. Although it is grade II listed, the building exhibits clear signs of neglect across the whole of its façade. While one of the clock tower’s faces is stuck at exactly 12:00, the other still displays the correct time.
Former Worcester Engine Works, 11-15 Shrub Hill Road, Worcester. Industrial Architecture of England.