Lower Broadheath, Worcester - Birthplace of Sir Edward Elgar
Elgar’s Birthplace Museum exists as a result of the work and dedication of the composer’s only child Carice, who wanted to honor her father’s wish to be remembered in the cottage. She believed the project important and wanted her father’s memory to live on for future generations to gain some insight into the man and his life. Though many may be familiar with the works of the great composer it isn’t until one stands within the walls of the modest cottage that a person can get a true feel for where the young boy grew up and began on his musical journey to greatness. Elgar shared the home with his parents and the three siblings born before him, so while the cottage may stand in the quiet English countryside the house itself was rarely quiet. Elgar was only 2 years old when his family moved away from Lower Broadheath and into Worcester. It was in this very cottage that his father, William, introduced his children to the wonderful world of music, and although Elgar was not old enough to play an instrument he received an advantage not always afforded children. His father played the church organ as well as violin, and operated a music store in Worcester. Later in life Elgar would spend many hours in his father’s store. Though the family resided in Worcester where Elgar attended school his mother ensured her children spent summers back in Broadheath, where they could enjoy all that nature offered.
Visitors to the Museum can enjoy the pretty gardens that surround the cottage before entering the front door of the very home where the British composer was born and spent the first two years of his life. All efforts have been taken to create a replication of what the cottage is envisioned to have looked like back in 1857 and as visitors enter the first room of the house they will be instantly taken back in time. The room is decorated with many artifacts that were typical of that era. As visitors explore the rest of the birthplace cottage they will see many items that not only were typical of the times but also were known to belong to Edward Elgar. Perhaps the room of most interest is the actual room in which Elgar came into the world. One can almost hear the baby’s cry echo around the walls.
A modern addition to the cottage is the Elgar Center which houses even more items of Edward Elgar’s, including a large number of letters written to him by friends and family members. As one would expect there are numerous pieces of musical composition on display for everyone to enjoy and gain an appreciation for the process that goes into creating a musical work that is truly memorable. When Carice began the journey towards having the cottage preserved she approached the corporation of Worcester and with the help of Alderman Hubert Leicester, convinced them to purchase the property. The next step in her journey was to put out a request for all memorabilia to be returned to the cottage so that it could be preserved for all to view. As a result the cottage was turned into the Elgar Birthplace Museum and is a fitting tribute both to a grieving daughter wishing to commemorate her father in a fitting way, and to a man that many consider is England’s greatest composer.
The National Trust has a 5 year lease on the Museum and in conjunction with the Elgar Trusts is dedicated to ensuring that the property and artifacts are preserved for years to come. This year (2017) alone has seen some extensive refurbishment of the cottage, and preservation of the gardens and outdoor spaces. An addition of a tea room and exhibition room located in the visitor’s center has greatly enhanced the experience of visitor’s to this integral part of England’s history. Edward Elgar passed many years ago but his music lives on, as does the memories of the great composer and the life he lived.