History of Worcester

The History of Worcester


South Africa

 1841 – Mail coaches from Cape Town, via Stellenbosch, Paarl and then continuing to   Swellendam.

– 1850 – Sheets of galvanized (corrugated) iron first imported to Worcester

– 1857 – Worcester Volunteers formed, consisting of a Cavalry Squadron and Infantry Company

– 1861 – Old Town Hall completed

– 1865 – Music Society formed, and by 1880 concerts throughout town took place on a regular basis

– 1876 – First Telegraph Office and thrice-weekly Postal Service

– 1876 – Formation of the Worcester Lodge of Freemasons

– 1877 to 1885 – At this time, while the railway was under construction to Kimberley, travellers to the Kimberley fields were carried from Cape Town to Worcester in one day, spent the night at a hotel, and then carried on the next day to the railhead, where coaches met the trains to take passengers on to Kimberley. Barney Barnato, Cecil John Rhodes, Alfred Beit, etc, stayed over in Worcester on many occasions.

– 1882 to 1890 – No important amount of coal was being mined in South Africa. Attempts were made to grow trees especially to provide wood for use in the engine furnaces. The trees chosen were blue gums, and successful forestation in Worcester, helped reduce the import of coal.

– 1886 – First Telephone installed

– 1891 – Worcester Gold Mining Company Ltd founded. The company developed a gold mine at Barberton which eventually closed down, with substantial losses to the share holders.

– 1895 – International Organization of Good Templars built a community hall in Porter Street, dedicated to the abstinence from alcohol.

– 1900 – On December 6 a mass meeting of some 10 000 people, concerning the Anglo-Boer War took place in Worcester. The Chairman, Cronwright-Schreiner, attacked capitalism and was cheered by all and sundry. Australian troops were deployed to maintain law and order.

– 1901 – On the 3rd of January, with Boer Commandos in the vicinity, Martial Law was declared in the Cape Colony, including Worcester

– 1903 – The Worcester Chamber of Commerce was established in April, when 65 town and 44 country members were enrolled free of entrance fee. The first AGM was held in September 1904. On that date the total annual import to SA amounted to £35 million. The exports totalled £25 million per annum. The gross traffic receipts for the Railway Companies came to £3 million and the “European” population of the country stood at 1 million.

– 1904 – Worcester Band, Philharmonic Society and Academy of Music formed

– 1908 – Good Hope Café and Scala Cinema were started by the first Greek resident of Worcester. Mr Costas Drigos bought the property and by 1920 he sold to the Gianellos brothers. In the early days most meetings of social-, political- or sport organizations were held in the Good Hope Café.

– 1909 – Boy Scouts Troop established at Worcester

– 1914 – Hospital completed at Hospital Hill

– 1914 – The New Cape Central Railway Company donated the NCCR shield for schools rugby matches between Worcester and Robertson Boys’ High, the schools that grew out of these two schools, still compete annually for this shield.

– 1926 – Child Welfare established- 1961 – The Eskom Hex River Power station, situated in Worcester, electrified the railway track from Cape Town to Beaufort-West, making it the longest electrified section in Africa.

– Old Worcester motto: “Mutare Sperno” – I scorn to change