Springfield, in the heart of Georgian Britannia Square, is a hidden gem. The square, which celebrated its 200th birthday in 2015, was developed to epitomise the height of Georgian elegance for the wealthy citizens of Worcester.
William Handy was the prime mover in developing this whole area and his original intention was to build two houses on the present site, but he failed to gain permission. The first owner, who was living in the house in 1835, was Mr Harvey Berrow-Tymbs, the owner of Berrow’s Journal, which claims to be the oldest newspaper in the world.
Residents in the Square were scandalised. They were from the upper crust of society and not only had their view ruined by this house but, almost as distressing, it was occupied by a person from trade. He lived in Springfield – so called because a spring on the land watered the animals – until 1865. The house was put up for sale for £4,000 which included fixtures but not blinds and the furniture. Springfield had two attached paddocks of an acre each.
There followed a succession of owners until 1890, when a woman called Miss Vincent ran a boarding house in Springfield; it is not clear if this was initially living quarters for the High School boarders or for the general public. Certainly, not long after this she created the boarding house and eighteen boarders from the High School or, as it was better known, The Alice Ottley School, moved in. Springfield remained a boarding house for the School until the 1930s when it was no longer needed.
Finally, in 1952, Springfield again passed into the hands of the The Alice Ottley School and work began in readiness for it to become the Preparatory Department, taking boys and girls from five to ten years old. The school opened in 1953 and has remained ever since. The merger of Alice Ottley with Royal Grammar School in 2007 meant that boys once again returned to Springfield and the school has thrived within the RGS family.
The building retains its period charm, with many original features such as Georgian stained glass and fireplaces, and The Paddock, as the back field is known, is greatly enjoyed by all the children today. Our grounds remain a green oasis within Britannia Square.