St Matthias' Primary School 2019 Well-dresser in front of their well, ‘Lord Sandys' Spout’
St Matthias’ Primary School 2019 Well-dressers in front of their well, ‘Lord Sandys’ Spout’

All are welcome to become well-dressers

The MSA organises Malvern’s ‘official’ well-dressing events. This helps to save the confusion of lots of people wanting to dress the same well! NB it is called well-dressing, but we actually dress all spring water features, including natural sources, taps, spouts, fountains and pools.

Anyone can become a well-dresser – you don’t have to be an MSA member. Most of our well-dressers are members of the local community. Some are individuals, some are teams. You apply to dress a well, and we find you one.

When are wells dressed?

The main well-dressing event revolves around the May Day Bank Holiday, which is on the first Monday in May. The themes for the year are chosen an open meeting in January. They have included ‘Purity’ (2001), ‘Darwin’s Earth’ (2009), and ‘Year of the Woman’ (2018). To keep our organisation simple and foster continuity, if they wish to, a team can dress the well they did the previous year. Wells are dressed on the Friday prior to the Bank Holiday weekend, and judged on the Saturday while they are fresh. Prize rosettes are handed out on the Bank Holiday Monday. On the following Wednesday, the wells can start coming down, but they must be fully down by the following Sunday. The prize-giving (rosettes and certificates) is a bit of fun to honour and thank well-dressers for their achievements. As with all light-hearted things, it can be taken very seriously!

The springs, wells and other features are highly valuable natural and cultural assets, and our aim is to protect them. Dressers are asked to respect the site and not to obstruct usual public access to any water present. There must not be any markings directly on the structure / the site, or damage to the site in any way. Dressers are expected to check their dressed well each day it is up, to keep it in good order – we are Malvern, after all! On the stated finish date, the site should be left tidy with absolutely no trace of the dressing remaining. All material must be completely removed from the site and responsibly disposed of elsewhere, not left on the Hills.

Last year, 60 wells were dressed for up to 10 days by around, altogether, 200 adults and 650 children. It’s a marvellous testament to the Dressers’ love of Malvern and its precious spring water. They freely and happily give large amounts of time, flowers and materials, and with considerable skill, create the most glorious features for all to admire. It is now a ‘whole town’ celebration, attracting visitors from far and wide.

Take part

If you’d like to dress a well yourself, and / or as part of a team, or want to find out more, please contact us

View the Well-dressing archive

We have collected lots of well-dressing photographs over the years.

YearLink to archive
2019See where the Dressed Wells were
2019Photographs of 2019 Well-dressings
2018Photographs of 2018 Well-dressings
2017Photographs of 2017 Dressings
Wells by yearPhotos over the years for each well
Website archiveThe old website held reports on well-dressing to 2014.


NB if you want to use any of these pictures, please gain permission from Malvern Spa Association. If you have any images you’d like to share, do send them in!