Visiting the house at Greyfriars
Join us on a guided tour 'There's no such thing as Greyfriars' as we peel back the layers of time to reveal the hidden stories behind the façade. Each item in the collection tells a tale of an interesting past, many of which have been salvaged and restored by Elsie and Matley Moore – two unusual siblings whose dedication to Greyfriars has secured its place in Worcester's heritage.
There's no such thing as Greyfriars
Join us for this eye-opening tour, where we’ll uncover the misnomer that is Greyfriars and reveal hidden stories from over 500 years of history. Rescued from demolition in a city that later faced controversy for the treatment of its architectural heritage, we’ll introduce you to the unconventional siblings who remodelled this special place to reflect their own perspective of the past. But is everything what it seems? Exploring how our heritage is represented, we’ll leave you looking at the Worcester cityscape from a new perspective.
Visiting the house
- The whole house is open by guided tour from Tuesday-Saturday.
- Tours spaces are allocated on a first come, first serve basis, with a maximum 14 tickets per tour.
- Guided tours run daily but tour times are subject to tour guide availability.
- The tour will last approx. 1 hour.
- Please note that access to the house is via stairs, with no lift available. Please speak to a member of the team if you need further assistance.
Greyfriars is bursting at its timber-frames with stories, character and history. Here's a taster of what to look out for on your visit.
The rustic brown and cream leather that makes up the screen in the hall, started out as a wall hanging from a house by Worcester Cathedral.
This 17th-century Spanish leather hanging was rescued by Matley Moore in the 1930s. Matley chopped it up to make the screen and two small chests.
Rescued brass plaque
The rectangular brass plaque above one of the bookcases in the library commemorates George Street, the owner of Greyfriars in the 1600s.
The plaque was once in Saint Andrew's Church in Worcester. The church was demolished in the mid-20th century and the plaque brought to Greyfriars because of its association with the Street family.
The framed panels of green wallpaper in the dining room are early Georgian and a great rarity. They are woodblock printing on to paper, overlaid with foil to give the sheen you see today.
They were discovered in an unused roll in an attic at the Old Rectory Birlingham, near Pershore.
The ticking clocks
There are six working clocks in the house, with two of them made in Worcester. The longcase, oak clock in the library, with an engraved golden brass face, was made by William Glover of Worcester around 1770.
The green clock in the parlour is a 36-hour winding clock from around 1680 and is also Worcester made.
In the garden you'll find the summer house, where you can see Elsie's painted cloth wall hanging. It’s a scene of a house and garden in a mythical landscape and is dated from 1976.
Over 50 doorstops can be found propping open doors or forming fireplace scenes all over Greyfriars.
Elsie discovered that a Worcester foundry was ceasing production. With an empty wheelbarrow, she went to the foundry to see what she could find.
She returned to Greyfriars with a mixture of items, some of them broken and unable to stand, the highlight being a Punch and Judy, which are on display in the bedroom.
Many of the doorstops were painted in what we've come to believe were her favourite colours, of red, green and gold.
The walls of Greyfriars are adorned with Elsie's masterpieces. You’ll find cross-stitch, calligraphy, painting, embroidery, wall-hangings and lampshades.
She was an expert at reusing materials, such as the tassels from lampshades on her clothes and using pieces of curtains to make clothing.
Red flock wallpaper
Hanging in the hall is a framed piece of red and cream flock wallpaper dated from 1680. The stylised floral pattern is one of only a few examples still in existence, with the other most notable piece at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The Georgian stone floor in the hall was rescued by Matley and Elsie from Wychbold Hall, near Droitwich as the hall was subsiding due to the salt mines underneath and was later demolished.
In 2016, the floor was given some much needed restoration and care, as after 65 years in Greyfriars, the tiles were becoming loose, and the grouting disintegrating.
Majolica biblical tiles
Above the dining room fireplace, are three rare, 16th-century Italian tiles, depicting biblical scenes. The scenes are of the Anointing of David, baby Moses in the basket, and the Ten Commandments.
The tiles were a gift to Elsie from her mother, Florence.
Discover how we used science to confirm the date of Greyfriars house and how it was saved from demolition by the Moore family and decorated, with many items still there today.
The walled garden pays homage to what stood before, a row of 10 houses, demolished and rebuilt as a tranquil outdoor space in the heart of the city.