Noake's Worcestershire Page 264


is a population of 20,000. During the last thirty or forty years Malvern has been rapidly growing as a place of resort, and is now become a town by Act of Parliament. A striking proof of its progress is afforded in the fact that in 1841 there were only sixty-four inhabited houses in the village, while in 1861 there were 992. Visits of royal and distinguished persons have largely contributed to this result - for what testimonial can be equal to the certificate of a prince or a lord? Queen Victoria, when a child (1830) spent some time here, at Holly Mount; and Queen Dowager Adelaide, during her residence in Worcestershire, so patronised one of the donkeys kept for the visitors' use that it was ever after called "Royal Moses," and was absolutely ridden to death by its patrons! Dr. Wall, a famous physician in the last century, praised the Malvern waters, and drew many fashionables here. Lord Byron, Southey, and Bulwer Lytton, also contributed to the fame of the hills. The latter had lived fast and smoked fearfully all day long till the water doctor here took him in hand, and curbed his propensity by tying him down to six cigars a day! "Amongst all my most brilliant recollections," says he, "I can recall no period of enjoyment at once more hilarious and serene than the hours spent on the lonely hills of Malvern - none in which nature was so thoroughly possessed and appreciated." Dickens,too, "came out" strongly in his "Household Words." But it was the genius of Hydropathy which, in 1842, first turned the waters of Malvern to most account, and the wet sheet and the douche bath are now in active requisition all the year round, there being located here no fewer than ten hydropathic physicians (independent of the Tegular faculty), and six establishments, devoted to this moist treatment; so that Malvern has obtained the sobriquet of "The metropolis of the water-cure."

It would fill much wider limits than mine to describe the progress made by Malvern and its institutions within my own recollection - how beautiful villa residences, adorned with lovely gardens have sprung up far and near - new roads,