Quakers have worshipped in Worcester since 1655. They first met in the house of a widow, Sarah Drew, who lived in Darke Alley under the old monastic dormitory in the shadow of the cathedral. George Fox, founder of Quakerism, was imprisoned in Worcester Castle in 1673 for fourteen months for refusing to take the oath of allegiance and supremacy; it was here that he wrote a large part of his journal.

The first Meeting House was built in 1671 behind what are now the shops in Friar Street, but it was sold in 1829 and subsequently demolished in 1949. The present Meeting House in Sansome Place was opened in 1701, with space for a burial ground surrounding it.

The Quaker community in Worcester was the largest in the area for some considerable time. The influence of its members upon the city was probably at its greatest in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when many Quakers were involved in the glove trade. As numbers declined, the Meeting House became too large and was let out to groups such as the YMCA, with a smaller Victorian Meeting House built alongside it. In the early 1980s, this was demolished and replaced with two flats and a cottage. The large Meeting House and the cottages adjoining it to the west side were redeveloped into the buildings we see today. The beautiful London Plane tree in our grounds is thought to be at least 150 years old.

(This text, with some adaptations, is taken from the booklet Worcester Quaker Walk by Annette Leech. This and The History of Worcester by Hughes and Leech (Logaston Press, 2011) recounts the history and influence of the Worcester Quakers in greater detail.)