Weekly City Spotlight: Hereford


Skyline View of Hereford

Situated on the River Wye, and close to the Welsh border, Hereford is located in the centre of the county of Herefordshire.  Hereford offers a wide choice of places to visit including High Town with a great selection of shops, cafes and restaurants for those who enjoy retail therapy, to the more historic attractions such as The Old House and Hereford Cathedral.  Hereford Racecourse provides for an exciting day out, and you can learn more about Hereford by visiting its many museums, or take a relaxing walk along the river to appreciate the beauty of this rural location.

There were settlements in the area of Hereford prior to 676AD when Putta became the first Bishop of Hereford, and following further development, the Saxon’s would make it the capital of West Mercia (an Anglo Saxon kingdom).  In 760, the Battle of Hereford took place between the Welsh and the Anglo-Saxons, following years of unrest.  A castle would be built in later years in order to protect against invasion, and although no longer in existence the site of Hereford Castle is today known as Castle Green.

Hereford Cathedral as it stands today dates back to 1079 and houses both the famous medieval Mappa Mundi and the Chained Library.  The Mappa Mundi is map of the world which dates back to 1285, and is the largest example that remains in existence measuring 158 cm by 133 cm.  It is the work of Richard of Haldingham or Lafford.  The map itself is made of calf skin, and features hundreds of towns and cities as well as biblical events, and visitors can experience the intricate illustrations for themselves as this document of huge importance is on display at Hereford Cathedral.  The Cathedral is also the home of the famous Chained Library.  Whilst many libraries operated in this way, Hereford’s chained library remains the largest example with all the locks and chains still intact.  The designs of the rods, chains and locks allow for the books to be read whilst remaining securely attached to the bookshelf, ensuring the safety of Hereford’s amazing collection of medieval manuscripts.

Hereford is widely recognised for its extensive agricultural industry, and famous for the production of beer and cider, as well as cattle and leather.  The Hereford breed of cattle dates back to the 1800, with this famous breed now found in over 50 countries.

Popular Culture
Hereford is an historic and cultural city, and has also been a focus in popular culture.

Films & TV
Soul Searcher (2005) – written, directed and produced by Neil Oseman, features Joe Fallow who receives an offer from the Grim Reaper to become his replacement.  This supernatural thriller stars Ray Bullock Jnr and was filmed in Hereford including the central square featuring in the opening scene.

Ultimate Force – Created by Rob Heyland and Chris Ryan, Ultimate Force was a TV series which ran from 2002 – 2006 and starred Ross Kemp and Miles Anderson.  This action packed series followed a SAS team led by Sergeant Garvie, with many scenes filmed in Hereford.

The Regency House Party (2004) – Richard E Grant provided the narration for this Channel 4 mini-series which took the form of a historical reality programme. Shot on location throughout the UK, Hereford again featured in this period production.

The Dragonslayer Trilogy – Jasper Fforde’s series of children’s books, which feature tales of fantasy and magic are set in Hereford and include the titles The Last Dragonslayer and The Song of the Quarkbeast.

Social Media
Additional information on Hereford can be found on its official website Visit Herefordshire as well as its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

Famous Faces
Frank Oz – Oz was both an accomplished actor and director, and famously known as the creator and performer behind the Muppet characters Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy, as well as characters in Sesame Street including the Cookie Monster.  Born in Hereford on May 25th 1944, Oz was also responsible for bringing Yoda to life in the Star Wars films, as well as being the puppeteer Oz also provided Yoda’s distinctive voice.

Beryl Reid – born in Hereford on 17th June 1919, Reid was a famous British actress, starring in radio, theatre, film and television productions.  Throughout her career, Reid received various awards including a Tony and BAFTA, as well as being nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her role in The Killing of Sister George.

David Garrick – a renowned figure in the theatre, Garrick was born in Hereford on 19th February 1717.  Garrick was a playwright and actor, whose work would also later include theatre management and production, owning a stake in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane which he would manage for nearly 30 years.  Garrick was heavily influential in the industry recognised not only for his acting talent, but he was a pioneer in areas such as set design and special effects.



The Old House

The Old House
Dating back 1621, the striking Old House can be found in the High Town area in the centre of Hereford.  Today this remarkable building houses a museum where life in the Jacobean period can be explored, including wall paintings and period furniture. The Old House offers activities for children including dressing up in period costumes and puzzles to complete.

Berrington Hall
The magnificent Berrington Hall was the result of Henry Holland’s design, an architect whose work included the Brighton Pavilion and Carlton House.  The house is part of the National Trust and attracts many visitors offering attractions such as The Charles Wade Collection of costumes and the Elmar Digby Collection of French furniture, as well as the many rooms which hold beautiful treasures set in the Georgian period.  The stunning grounds of Berrington Hall were the design of Capability Green.

Hereford Museum and Art Gallery
Located in Broad Street, admission is free to the Hereford Museum and Art Gallery, and its beautiful architecture is a fine example of Victorian gothic styling.  The Museum provides the chance to explore and learn more about Hereford’s heritage and its collections include productive, natural, cultural and border county themes, as well as a focus on the fine arts.

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