Built in 1861, Great Malvern Station was designed by E. W. Elmslie to impress wealthy Victorian visitors arriving in Malvern for the water cure. The ornate detail on the pillars around the platforms and the beautiful design of the waiting rooms, still visible today, make this a unique station. A few years ago the station was listed as a station of historic interest; British Rail agreed to preserve it and set about re-painting it in the original Victorian colours.
Lady Emily Foley was a significant local benefactor in the Victorian times. She often travelled to London from this station and had a waiting room built for her exclusive use. This room, with ornate stained glass windows, is now Lady Foley's Tea Room where refreshments, including homemade cakes and soup can be enjoyed.
Great Malvern Station was very much meant to be used by gentry. Lower classes were encouraged to use the station at Malvern Link. A private pedestrian tunnel (now derelict) was built between the platform where trains arrived from London and the Imperial Hotel opposite the station (now Malvern St James school). The entrance of this tunnel was locally called "The Worm" and although now closed by an iron grill, it can be seen at the far end of Platform 2. The Civic Society open the tunnel to visitors during civic week.
Beyond The Worm, and no longer accessible by the public, there is another passageway that has been bricked up. This was for the delivery of salt from Droitwich by train to the Imperial Hotel where they offered guests Droitwich brine baths.
Famous people who are known to have used this station include:
- King George VI
- Charles Darwin
- Sir Edward Elgar
- Lady Emily Foley
- Sir Charles Hastings, founder of the British Medical Association
- Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale
- Florence Nightingale
- AP Rowe
- Sir Bernard Lovell