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Coordinates: 52°42′28″N 2°45′15″W / 52.7077°N 2.7541°W / 52.7077; -2.7541

Shrewsbury
Old Shrewsbruy Market Hall -England.jpg
The Old Market Hall in the Square.
Shrewsbury is located in Shropshire
Shrewsbury

 Shrewsbury shown within Shropshire
Population 70,689 (2001)
OS grid reference SJ491124
    - Cardiff  89 mi (143 km) SSW [1] 
    - London  150 mi (240 km) SE [2] 
Parish Shrewsbury
Unitary authority Shropshire
Ceremonial county Shropshire
Region West Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SHREWSBURY
Postcode district SY1, SY2, SY3
Dialling code 01743
Police West Mercia
Fire Shropshire
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament Shrewsbury and Atcham
Website http://www.shrewsbury.gov.uk
List of places: UK • England • Shropshire

Shrewsbury (pronounced /ˈʃruːzbri/ ( listen) or /ˈʃroʊzbri/  ( listen))[3] is the county town of Shropshire, in the West Midlands region of England. Lying on the River Severn, it is a civil parish home to 70,689 inhabitants,[4] and is the primary settlement and headquarters of Shropshire Council. Consequently, it is the second largest town in the ceremonial county of Shropshire, after Telford.

Shrewsbury is a historic market town with the town centre having a largely unaltered medieval street plan. The town features over 660 historic listed buildings,[5] including several examples of timber framing from the 15th and 16th century. Shrewsbury Castle, a red sandstone castle fortification, and Shrewsbury Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery, were founded in 1074 and 1083 respectively, by the Norman Earl of Shrewsbury, Roger de Montgomery.[6] The town hosts one of the oldest and largest horticultural events in the country, Shrewsbury Flower Show, and is known for its floral displays, having won various awards since the turn of the 21st century,[7][8] including Britain in Bloom in 2006.[9]

Today, lying 9 miles (14 km) east of the Welsh border, Shrewsbury serves as a cultural and commercial centre for the ceremonial county and a large area of mid-Wales, with retail output alone worth over £299 million per year.[10] There are some light industry and distribution centres, such as Battlefield Enterprise Park, located mainly on the outskirts. The A5 and A49 trunk roads cross here, as do five railway lines at Shrewsbury railway station.

Contents

History

Typical Tudor architecture on Butcher Row.

The town was known to the ancient Britons as Pengwern, signifying "the alder hill";[11] and to the Anglo-Saxons as Scrobbesburh (dative Scrobbesbyrig), which has several meanings; "fort in the scrub-land region", "Scrobb's fort", "shrubstown" or "the town of the bushes".[12][13] This name was gradually corrupted in three directions, into 'Sciropscire' which became Shropshire, into 'Sloppesberie', which became Salop/Salopia (the historical name for the county), and into 'Schrosberie' which eventually became the name of the county town, Shrewsbury.[11] Its Welsh name Amwythig means "fortified place".[14]

Shrewsbury is known as a town with significant medieval heritage, having been founded ca. 800 AD. It was during the late Middle Ages (14th/15th Centuries) when the town was at its height of commercial importance. This was mainly due to the wool trade, a major industry at the time, with the rest of Britain and Europe, especially with the River Severn and Watling Street as trading routes.[15] It is believed that Henry VIII intended to make Shrewsbury a cathedral city after the formation of the Church of England, but the citizens of the town declined the offer.[16]

Market Street, behind the Old Market Hall with the Music Hall on the left. The brick clocktower of the current Market Hall can be seen in the background.

Over the ages, the geographically important town has been the site of many conflicts, particularly between the English and Welsh. Shrewsbury was the seat of the Princes of Powis for many years; however, the Angles, under King Offa of Mercia, took possession of it in 778. The Welsh again besieged it in 1069, but were repelled by William the Conqueror. Roger de Montgomery was given the town as a gift from William, and built Shrewsbury Castle in 1074, taking the title of Earl. The 3rd Earl, Robert of Bellême was deposed in 1102, in consequence of taking part in the rebellion against Henry I.[11] In 1403, the Battle of Shrewsbury took place a few miles north of the town centre, at Battlefield; it was fought between King Henry IV and Henry Hotspur Percy, with the King emerging victorious,[17] an event celebrated in William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1, Act 5.

The town is home to the Ditherington Flax Mill, the world's first iron-framed building, which is commonly regarded as "the grandfather of the skyscraper". Its importance was officially recognised in the 1950s, resulting in it becoming a Grade I listed building.[18][19] Shrewsbury in the Industrial Revolution was also located on the Shrewsbury Canal which linked it to the Shropshire Canal and wider canal network of Great Britain.[20]

Shrewsbury has also played a part in Western intellectual history, by being the town in which the naturalist Charles Darwin was born and raised.[21] Nearby is the village of Wroxeter, 5 miles (8 km) to the south-west, where the now ruined Roman city of Viroconium Cornoviorum lies. Viroconium was the fourth largest civitas capital in Roman Britain. As Caer Guricon it may have served as the early Dark Age capital of the kingdom of Powys.[22]

Pride Hill, which features many examples of Tudor architecture.

The town was not bombed in World War II and so many of its ancient buildings remain intact and there was little redevelopment during the 1960s and 1970s, which arguably destroyed the character of many historic towns in the UK. However, a large area of half timbered houses and businesses was destroyed to make way for the Raven Meadows multi-story car park, and other historic buildings were demolished to make way for the brutalist architectural style of the 1960s. The town was saved from a new 'inner ring road' due to its challenging geography.[23]

Shrewsbury won the West Midlands Capital of Enterprise award in 2004.[24] The town has two expanding business parks, the Shrewsbury Business Park and the Battlefield Enterprise Park. There are many residential developments currently under construction in the town to cater for the increasing numbers of people wishing to live in the town and commute to Telford, Wolverhampton and Birmingham.[25] In 2000 and again in 2002, Shrewsbury unsuccessfully applied for city status.[26]

Governance

The Borough of Shrewsbury's first Charter was granted by King Henry I allowing the collection of rents. King Richard I granted another early charter in 1189 and from that time the town’s regional importance and influence increased, as well as its autonomy from the county of Shropshire. Further charters were granted in 1199 (King John), 1495 (Henry VII), 1638 (Charles I), and 1685 (James II). In 1974 a charter from Queen Elizabeth II incorporated the Borough of Shrewsbury and Atcham.[16]

Shrewsbury is the administrative centre for the new Shropshire Council, the unitary authority covering most of Shropshire (but does not include the Borough of Telford and Wrekin, a separate unitary authority area). Shropshire Council have their headquarters at The Shirehall, on Abbey Foregate,[27] and the old Shrewsbury & Atcham Borough Council headquarters at The Guildhall, on Frankwell Quay, is now one of the many offices and customer service points around the county used by the council.

Shrewsbury is in the Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency and is the only large settlement in the constituency. At the most recent general election, in 2005, Daniel Kawczynski of the Conservative Party was elected with a majority of 1,808. Previous MPs for Shrewsbury have included former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.[28]

Shrewsbury is twinned with Zutphen in The Netherlands.[29] The town also serves as the administrative headquarters of the British Army's 5th Division, which has its administrative HQ at the Copthorne Barracks.[30]

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Town Council

Shrewsbury was until 2009 an unparished area and had no town or parish council(s), instead the Mayor of Shrewsbury and Atcham was also the mayor of the town. However as part of wider changes to local governance in Shropshire, the town was parished on 13 May 2008, with a single parish created covering the entire town and previously unparished area. Shrewsbury is the second most populous civil parish in England (only Weston-super-Mare has a greater population) with a population of over 70,000.

The town council, which is the parish council, first convened on 1 April 2009, and its chair is the Mayor of Shrewsbury. For the interim period before the first elections, the existing county councillors who represented electoral divisions covering Shrewsbury were the town councillors. On 4 June 2009, the first election was held to the town council, with councillors elected from 17 single-member wards which are coterminous with Shropshire Council electoral divisions. The political make-up of the town council is currently – Conservatives: 12, Labour: 3 and Liberal Democrats: 2.

The current Mayor of Shrewsbury is Alan Townsend, who was officially elected mayor on 18 June 2009. Councillor Townsend was born in the town and has lived there all of his life, except for a few years as an undergraduate at University College London. The Mayor taught for many years at a local secondary school before serving for ten years at the Citizen's Advice Bureau. Throughout his adult life, Alan Townsend and his wife, Judy, have been prominent members of the community, known for their fund raising activities for local charities.

Earlier plans to locate the town council at Rowley's House have been altered and the town council has its headquarters and meeting place at The Guildhall, which was the headquarters of the former borough council.[31]

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of the former Shrewsbury Borough Council depicts three loggerheads, with the motto Floreat Salopia, a Latin phrase that can be translated to "may Shrewsbury flourish".[32][33] The coat of arms of the (now abolished) Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council was Shrewsbury's shield with the addition of Atcham Bridge running above the loggerheads. Shrewsbury Town FC historically have used the Loggerheads but now have a bespoke badge depicting a lion rather than a loggerhead.

Geography

Panorama over Shrewsbury from the grounds of Shrewsbury School, located in Kingsland. The spires visible (from L-R) are those of St. Chads church, The Market Hall clocktower and St. Mary's church.

Shrewsbury is located approximately 14 miles (23 km) to the west of Telford, 43 miles (69 km) west of Birmingham and the West Midlands Conurbation, and about 150 miles (240 km) north-west of the capital, London.[2] More locally, the town is to the east of Welshpool, and Bridgnorth and Kidderminster are to the south-east. The border with Wales is 9 miles (14 km) to the west. The town centre is partially built on a hill whose elevation is, at its highest, 75 metres above sea level. The longest river in the UK, the River Severn, flows through the town, forming a meander around its centre.[11]

From the late 1990s the town has experienced severe flooding problems from the Severn and Rea Brook. In the autumn of 2000 large swathes of the town were underwater, notably Frankwell which was flooded three times in the space of six weeks.[34] The Frankwell flood defences were completed in 2003, along with the new offices of the borough council. More recently, such as in 2005 and 2007, flooding has been less severe, and the defences have generally held back floodwaters from the town centre areas. However, the town car parks are often left to be flooded in the winter, which reduces trade in the town, most evidenced in the run up to Christmas in 2007.[35]

The town is situated near Haughmond Hill, a site where Precambrian rocks, some of the oldest rocks in the county can be found,[36] and the town itself is sited on an area of largely Carboniferous rocks.[37] A fault, the Hodnet Fault, starts approximately at the town, and runs as far as Market Drayton.

A5 (T'FORD) ->
Monkmoor
Sutton Farm
Bicton
Heath
Castlefields
A clickable link map of Shrewsbury showing suburbs and surrounding villages.

Suburbs and surrounding settlements

Shrewsbury has a large number of suburbs and surrounding villages. As the town continues to expand, however, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between the suburbs, which are joined to the town, and the surrounding villages, which often join on to the suburbs.[38]

An example of where this has happened is Bayston Hill, which has grown considerably in the last 20 years; now separated from the Meole Brace suburb by only a few fields and the A5 road. It remains, however, a separate entity to the town, with its own parish council, etc. Bayston Hill lies 3 miles (5 km) south of the town centre of Shrewsbury and on the A49 and near to the A5.[39] The smaller village of Battlefield, this time to the north of the town, is also considered now as a suburb of the town due to growth in the surrounding area. It is covered by the parish of Shrewsbury.[40]

Climate

The climate of Shrewsbury is similar to that of the rest of Shropshire, generally moderate. Rainfall averages 76 to 100 cm (30 to 40 in), influenced by being in the rainshadow of the Cambrian Mountains from warm, moist frontal systems of the Atlantic Ocean which bring generally light precipitation in Autumn and Spring.[41] The nearest weather station is located at Shawbury.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg. High (°C) 6.9
(L)
7.3 9.7 12.1 15.7 18.3 20.9
(H)
20.6 17.6 13.7 9.8 7.6 13.4
(AVG)
Avg. Low (°C) 0.7 0.5
(L)
2.1 3.2 6.0 8.9 11.0
(H)
10.8 8.6 5.9 2.8 1.4 5.2
(AVG)
Precipitation (mm) 58.5 42.9
(L)
49.0 47.1 51.1 54.9 47.3 59.1 60.8 60.4 60.2 64.5
(H)
655.7
(TOTAL)
Sunshine (hours) 48.7 63.6 96.1 138.6 187.9 174.9 191.6
(H)
172.7 126.3 94.9 61.5 41.5
(L)
1398.1
(TOTAL)
Wind at 10 m (knots) 9.0 8.9 9.3
(H)
8.1 7.6 7.4 7.2 7.1
(L)
7.3 7.4 7.9 8.6 8.0
(AVG)
Source: Met Office - RAF Shawbury (1971–2000 averages)
RAF Shawbury is located approximately
7 miles (11 km) NE of Shrewsbury, and 12 miles (19 km) NW of Telford.

Demography

Shrewsbury & Atcham Compared
2001 UK Census S'bury & Atch. West Midlands England
Total population 95,850 5,267,308 49,138,831
White 98.5% 86.2% 87.0%
Asian 0.4% 7.3% 4.6%
Black 0.1% 2.0% 2.3%
Over 65 years old 17.2% 16.0% 15.9%
Christian 77.9% 72.6% 71.7%
No Religion 13.7% 12.3% 14.6%

According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, the population of the town of Shrewsbury is 67,126.[42] The same census puts the population of the borough of Shrewsbury and Atcham at 95,850.[42] In 1981 the population of the town was 57,731 and in 1991 the population of the town was 64,219.[43] Shrewsbury is Shropshire's second largest town, after Telford. The population of the town centre (the area within the loop of the Severn) is approximately 1,300. In line with the rapid growth of town population, a 2005 report on prison population in the UK has found that the prison, HMP Shrewsbury, is the most overcrowded in England and Wales.[44]

The 2001 census also indicates that the population of the town consists of 51.1% females, and 48.9% males, which echoes the trend of Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough, and that of Shropshire as a whole.[45] According to the same census, the ethnic composition of the town is largely white, at 98.5% of the total population. The next largest ethnic group is mixed race, at 0.5% of the town's population. 0.4% of the population is Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi, and 0.1% of the population is South Asian or British Asian. A further 0.1% is Black, Caribbean or African.[45]

Historical population

Year 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901
Population 31,280 34,158 38,263 40,480 41,858 43,818 46,261 48,704 51,146 50,678 52,181
Year 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
Population 53,729 55,481 57,290 62,398 67,965 74,831 82,392 85,136 92,347 95,896
Population figures for Shrewsbury & Atcham borough. Source: A Vision of Britain through Time

Economy

The Darwin Shopping Centre in Christmas decoration.

Throughout the Medieval period, Shrewsbury was a centre for the wool trade,[46] and used its position on the River Severn to transport goods across England via the canal system. Unlike many other towns in this period, Shrewsbury never became a centre for heavy industry. By the early 1900s, the town became focused on transport services and the general service and professional sector, owing to its position on the A5 road, part of the strategic route to North Wales.[47]

The town is the location of the borough and county councils, and a number of retail complexes, both in and out of the town centre, and these provide significant employment. Four in five jobs in the town are in the service industry. Within this sector, the largest employers are the administration and distribution sectors, which includes retail, food and accommodation.[45] Shrewsbury is home to two small shopping centres, the Darwin and Pride Hill centres, which house many high street retailers such as Marks & Spencer, TK Maxx and Boots.[48] There is also the large Meole Brace Retail Park to the south, and the Harlescott Retail Park to the north. Major supermarkets in the town are the 2007-opened environmentally friendly[49] Tesco Extra at Harlescott, Morrisons on Whitchurch Road, Asda on Old Potts Way and Sainsbury's at Meole Brace.

Tesco Extra store under construction in June 2007.

The visitor economy of Shrewsbury and Atcham was worth about £115 million in 2001, with approximately 2,500 people employed directly in the visitor industry and 3,400 indirectly. There were about 3.1 million day and staying visitors to the borough in 2001, with 88% being day visitors and 12% being staying visitors; staying visitors accounted for 42% of spending.[50] Shrewsbury's position of being the only sizable town for a large area, especially to the west in Mid-Wales, allows it to attract a large retail base beyond that of its resident population. This is not only evident in the retail sector, but also in the healthcare sector, where the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital has the only A&E department westwards until Aberystwyth, approximately 75 miles (121 km) away.[51]

In terms of social and economic deprivation, according to the Overall Index of Multiple Deprivation of 2004, one Super Output Area (SOA) in the town is in the bottom 15% of all areas nationally. This area is located in the ward of Harlescott.[52] A further four SOAs fall into the bottom 30% nationally, these being located in the wards of Monkmoor, Sundorne, Battlefield and Heathgates, and Meole Brace.[53] The most affluent areas of the town are located to the south, surrounding Shrewsbury School.

Landmarks

Shrewsbury Public Library with the castle in the background.

The historic town centre still retains its medieval street pattern and many narrow streets and passages. Some of the passages, especially those which pass through buildings from one street to the next, are called “shuts” (a suggestion is that this is because they were once shut at night).[54][55] Many specialist shops, traditional pubs and local restaurants can be found in the hidden corners, squares and lanes of Shrewsbury. Many of the street names have also remained unchanged in centuries and there are some more unusual names, such as Butcher Row, Longden Coleham, Dogpole, Mardol, Frankwell, Roushill, Grope Lane, Gullet Passage, Murivance, The Dana, Portobello, Bear Steps, Shoplatch and Bellstone.[56]

The Public Library, in the pre-1882 Shrewsbury School building,[57] is situated on Castle Hill. Above the main entrance are two statues bearing the inscriptions "Philomathes" and "Polumathes". These portray the virtues "Lover of learning" and "Much learning" to convey the lesson that it is good to gain knowledge through a love of learning.

The town was also used as the set for the popular 1984 movie, A Christmas Carol,[58] which filmed many of its interior and exterior shots in and around Shrewsbury. The gravestone prop of Ebenezer Scrooge (played by George C. Scott) that was used in the movie is still present in the graveyard of St. Chad's Church.

The Dingle, formerly a Quarry, now a scenic garden.

In the centre of the town lies The Quarry. This 29 acre (120,000 m²)[59] riverside park attracts thousands of people throughout the year and is enjoyed as a place of recreation. Shrewsbury is known as the "Town of Flowers" and this was the motto printed onto many of the signs on entrance to the town via major roads, although in 2007 the signs were replaced, instead branding the town as 'the birthplace of Charles Darwin'.[60]

The British Army's Light Infantry has been associated with Shrewsbury since the 17th century when the first regiments were formed and many more regiments have been raised at Shrewsbury before being deployed all over the world from the American Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, after several major reorganisations, the Light Infantry Brigade now forms part of the regiment known simply as The Rifles. Shrewsbury's Copthorne Barracks, spiritual home of the Light Brigade, still houses the Headquarters of the British Army's 5th Division.[61]

The church of St. Chads and The Quarry recreational area (foreground).

Between 1962 and 1992 there was a hardened nuclear bunker, built for No 16 Group Royal Observer Corps Shrewsbury, who provided the field force of the United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation and would have sounded the four minute warning alarm in the event of war and warned the population of Shrewsbury in the event of approaching radioactive fallout.[62] The building was manned by up to 120 volunteers who trained on a weekly basis and wore a Royal Air Force style uniform. After the break up of the communist bloc in 1989, the Royal Observer Corps was disbanded between September 1991 and December 1995. However, the nuclear bunker still stands just inside Holywell Street near the Abbey as a lasting reminder of the cold war, but is now converted and used as a veterinary practice.

The tourist information centre is at the Music Hall on The Square in the town centre. The three main museums are Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery (located at Rowley's House), Shrewsbury Castle (which houses the Shropshire Regimental Museum) and the Coleham Pumping Station.[63] Also, there is the Gateway arts and drama centre and there are also various private galleries and art shops around the town. Another notable feature of the town is Lord Hill's Column, the largest free-standing Doric column in the world.[64]

Religious sites

Fish Street showing the spire of St Alkmund's church and the tower of St Julian's church.

There are many church denominations represented in Shrewsbury, housed in a range of buildings, including Shrewsbury Abbey, founded by Roger de Montgomery in 1083.[65] The Orthodox Church's main building, which is located on Wenlock Road to the east, is over 1,000 years old.[66] Shrewsbury is home to the Roman Catholic Shrewsbury Cathedral, located by Town Walls,[67] as well as two other parishes in Harlescott and Monkmoor, within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Shrewsbury.

There are several Anglican Churches in Shrewsbury.[68] Other denominations, such as Methodists[69] and Baptists[70] are represented alongside newer church groups, which include: Elim Pentecostal[71] and two Newfrontiers churches.[72][73] Shrewsbury Evangelical Church meets in the St Julian's Centre at the Wyle Cop end of Fish Street.[74]

Many community projects in Shrewsbury are based in, or have been started by local churches, including the Isaiah 58 project, which is the primary work amongst homeless people in the town.[75] Basics Bank is another example, based at The Barnabas Centre, which provides debt relief for local people.[76] Churches Together in Shrewsbury is seeking to continue its long term commitment to helping homeless people through The Ark project.[77]

One of the houses in Fish Street, facing St Alkmond's Church, is noted as being the location of John Wesley's first preaching in Shrewsbury. The wall plaque records the date as March 16, 1761.

Culture

Music Hall façade
Events and venues

Shrewsbury is home to one of the largest and oldest horticultural events in the UK - the annual Shrewsbury Flower Show.[78] A two day event, the Flower Show takes place in mid-August, has been running for more than 125 years, and attracts around 100,000 visitors each year. Set in the Quarry park, there are a multitude of events, exhibitions and displays, with a fireworks display at the end of each day. The town is well known for its flower displays, and has won numerous awards in recent years.[79]

Shrewsbury is also home to one of the region's main agricultural shows - the West Mid Show. This is held every year, usually in May, at the Shropshire Agricultural Showground on the outskirts of town at Coton Hill.[80] The town is host to the Shrewsbury International Music Festival, when musical groups from all over the world come to perform for about a week for local residents, and give a final concert in the Abbey. The festival is organized by WorldStage Tours.[81] 2006 saw the first Shrewsbury Folk Festival, after the event moved to the town from nearby Bridgnorth. Held annually over the August Bank Holiday, the event is very popular, with people travelling from across the UK to attend. In 2006 much of the event was held in the Quarry, with other related festivities happening around the town. For 2007 the event moved to the West Midlands Showground on the other side of the river.[82] A new annual arts festival - the Shrewsbury Summer Season - was established in 2004 and runs each year from June to August with an extensive programme of music, visual arts, theatre and spectacle.[83]

There are some very old public houses, which have been continuously open as pubs, such as the Golden Cross (established 1428 - the oldest pub in the town), the Dun Cow and the King's Head.[84]

Construction of Theatre Severn,[85] a new entertainment complex in Frankwell, was commissioned in September 2006. Actual construction began on the site in April 2007 when the Borough Council appointed a contractor. The design features a prominent glass curve and steel frame. The site is positioned next to the Guildhall, alongside the namesake River Severn.[86] The new complex replaced the old theatre, the Shrewsbury Music Hall. The Music Hall is currently being refurbished, to take on the role of Rowley's House Museum, which will soon be closed for renovation for the foreseeable future.[87]

The Brother Cadfael series was based at Shrewsbury Abbey.
Cultural references

The town appears in the Brother Cadfael novels by Ellis Peters (pen name of Edith Pargeter). The novels take Shrewsbury Abbey for their setting, with Shrewsbury and other places in Shropshire portrayed regularly, and have made Medieval Shrewsbury familiar to a wide worldwide readership.[88]

The local author, Carol Ewels has written two children's books, including Jack the Cat, which are set in the town. Also, the children's author Pauline Fisk writes about a town called Pengwern, which is based entirely on Shrewsbury, in books including Midnight Blue, and Sabrina Fludde. Frank Cottrell Boyce, another children's author, writes briefly about Shrewsbury in his book Millions.

Media

Two newspapers are published for Shrewsbury - the Shrewsbury Chronicle,[89] and the local edition of the county's Shropshire Star.[90] There are presently three radio stations that specifically serve either the Shrewsbury area or encompass it as part of a Shropshire-wide broadcast. They include: 103.1 Beacon, part of the Orion group.[91]. BBC Radio Shropshire, which is based in Shrewsbury;[92] and, as of September 2006, The Severn, which broadcasts from the Shropshire Star building in Telford.[93].

In 2009 a brand new online independent media company launched covering Shrewsbury and the county of Shropshire. shropshirelive.com,[94] is based in Shrewsbury with local residents encouraged to get involved with the web site by becoming citizen journalists and contributors.

Sports

Shrewsbury is home to a variety of established amateur, semi-professional and professional sports clubs, including Shrewsbury Town, a Football League team currently playing in Football League Two. Shrewsbury Town's achievements include winning the Welsh Cup six times, a record for an English club (as English-based clubs were allowed to compete in the competition until the early 1990s), a 10-year run in the old Second Division now known as The Championship from 1979 until 1989, a Third Division Championship (now League One) in 1979, a Division 3 Championship (now League Two) and victory in the Conference National Playoff Final 2004. The club relocated to the Prostar Stadium in 2007, to a purposely built site located near Meole Brace. Prior to this, the club played at the Gay Meadow stadium, situated just outside of the town centre, for a 97 year period from 1910 to 2007. They first gained Football League membership in 1950 and stayed there for 53 years, when they were relegated, only to gain promotion after just one season. Four months before their relegation in 2003, they famously eliminated Premier League club Everton from the FA Cup - ironically they were being managed by former Everton captain Kevin Ratcliffe at the time.[95]

There is also a local rugby club, Shrewsbury Rugby Club.[96] The River Severn in the town is used for rowing by both Pengwern Boat Club[97] and the Shrewsbury School Boat Club.[98] Shrewsbury Sports Village, a new sports centre, was recently opened in the Sundorne district of the town, with the aim of providing a wider and improved range of sports facilities for townspeople.[99] There are also a number of motorsports and golf facilities (including Meole Brace Municipal Golf Course) in the area. The local motorsports heritage includes the Loton Park Hillclimb and Hawkstone Park Motocross Circuit situated near Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury Motocross Club has staged motocross events in the area for over 30 years.[100]

Education

Shrewsbury School is a public school. The building shown here, which was constructed circa 1765, is Grade II listed.

Shrewsbury is home to Shrewsbury School, a public school, located on a large commanding site ("Kingsland") just south of the town centre overlooking the loop of the Severn. The school was once located in the town centre, in the buildings that are now the main county library on Castle Street.[101] Opposite it on the other side of the river is Shrewsbury High School, an independent girls' day school.

The long established Prestfelde School is an independent preparatory school, located on London Road, close to the Lord Hill column. As part of the Woodard Schools group, it is affiliated to the largest group of Church of England schools in the country. Whilst originally a school for boys only it diversified and, in the late 1990s, started also accepting girls between the ages of three and thirteen. The school is set in 30 acres (120,000 m2) of grounds on the outskirts of the town.[102] The town's other long-established boys' preparatory school, Kingsland Grange (located on Old Roman Road in Kingsland), in 2007 merged with the junior department of Shrewsbury Girls' High School, sharing the two sites with some classes remaining all-boys or all-girls, but others switching to a co-ed format.[103]

Adcote School is an independent day and boarding school for girls, located five miles northwest of Shrewsbury. The school was founded in 1907 and is set in a Grade I listed country house built in 1879 for Rebecca Darby – a great niece of Abraham Darby and a member of the iron-master family who built Ironbridge.

However, the majority of the town's pupils attend one of the eight comprehensive schools. The Priory School, formerly a grammar school for girls.[104] Meole Brace School currently carries the status of Science College; The Grange and The Wakeman the status of Arts College; Sundorne the status of Sports College and Belvidere has the status of Technology College.

The Main Grade II listed building of Shrewsbury Sixth Form College, which was constructed circa 1910.

The Wakeman School, which is geographically the nearest school to the town, situated next to the English Bridge, was previously known as 'Shrewsbury Technical School', which was attended by the famous war poet Wilfred Owen. Additionally, there are two other establishments located out of the town which serve the town's students. The Corbet School, located to the north at Baschurch; and Mary Webb School, located in the large village of Pontesbury, to the south-west.

Post-16 education is handled by Shrewsbury Sixth Form College, which has some of the best A-Level results in the country,[105] and Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology, which handles primarily vocational courses. In 2007 the Learning and Skills Council strongly promoted co-location of the two colleges on an out-of-town site. The plans were opposed by local MP Daniel Kawczynski and many local students, teaching staff, and town centre traders. In November 2008 the co-location plans were rejected by Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council, and the plans have been described by Kawczynski as "dead in the water".[106]

Transport

Shrewsbury Railway Station, here viewed from by the castle, is remarkable for its architecture.
Roushill, Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury is the county's public transportation hub and has road and rail links to the rest of the county and country.

Rail

Five railway lines connect the town to most corners of Shropshire and the region, and the town is known as the "Gateway to Wales". Shrewsbury railway station is served by Arriva Trains Wales, London Midland and Wrexham & Shropshire with trains running north to Chester, Manchester, Crewe and Wrexham, south to Hereford and Cardiff, west to Aberystwyth, and east to London and Birmingham via Telford and Wolverhampton.[107] Heart of Wales Line trains also operate to Swansea. On 28 April 2008, open access operator Wrexham & Shropshire commenced services to London. This restored the county's direct rail link to the capital; previously Shropshire was one of only two English counties without a dedicated service to the capital, the other being Rutland.[108]

The main station building includes a clock tower, imitation Tudor chimneys, and carved heads in the frames of every window. There is a small police post located within the building.

More recently, Councillors have raised the idea of a Tram system to serve the town centre and replace the current Park & Ride sites.[109]

Roads

A map of Shrewsbury showing suburbs, surrounding villages, Rivers (blue), Roads (red) and Rail routes (green).

Shrewsbury is connected to the national road network and nearby towns via a number of roads.

The A5 connects the town northwest to Oswestry, and east towards Telford, where it joins the M54. The A5 once ran through the town centre, until a bypass was built in the 1930s. Subsequently, in 1992, a seventeen mile (27 km) dual carriageway was completed at a cost of 79 million pounds to the south of the town, and was made to form part of the A5 route. This dual carriageway was built further out of the town to act as a substantial link to Telford, as well as a bypass for the town.[110]

The A49 also goes to Shrewsbury, joining the A5 at the south of the town, coming from Ludlow and Leominster. At this point, the road merges with the A5 for three miles (5 km), before separating again to the east of the town. From there it runs north, passing Sundorne, then Battlefield, before heading out towards Whitchurch. At Battlefield, the A53 route begins and heads northeast towards Shawbury and Market Drayton then onwards towards Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent.

Claremont Bank, with the SSFC campus to the left, and Frankwell in the distance.

The A458 (Welshpool-Bridgnorth) runs through the town centre, entering in the west and leaving to the southeast. The A528 begins in the town centre and heads north, heading for Ellesmere. The A488 begins just west of the town centre in Frankwell and heads out to Bishop's Castle, Clun and Knighton crossing the border in the southwest of Shropshire.

Major roads within the town include the A5112, A5191 and A5064. The A5191 goes north-south via the town centre, while the A5112 runs north-south to the east of the town centre. The A5064 is a short, one mile (1.6 km) stretch of road to the southeast of the town centre, called "London Road". Additionally, the A5124, the most recent bypass, was completed in 1998, and runs across the northern edge of the town at Battlefield (connecting the A49/A53 to the A528), though it did exist before as Harlescott Lane (which has since become unclassified).

Buses

Bus services in the town are operated by Arriva Midlands and serve most parts of the town, congregating at the town's bus station adjacent to the Darwin Shopping Centre and a short stroll from the railway station. Arriva also operate county services both independent of and on behalf of Shropshire County Council. There are other bus companies operating around the Shrewsbury area, including Boultons of Shropshire, Minsterley Motors and Tanat Valley Coaches with the latter operating services crossing from over the Welsh border from nearby towns including Llanfyllin, Montgomery, Newtown and Welshpool.

Shrewsbury has a Park and Ride bus scheme in operation and three car parks on the edge of town are used by many who want to travel into the town centre. The three car parks are located at Harlescott (to the north, colour-coded orange), Oxon (to the west, colour-coded brown) and Meole Brace (to the south, colour-coded green). It is proposed that a fourth one be built to the east of the town, at either Emstrey or Preston.[111]

Frankwell Footbridge (foreground) and the Welsh Bridge (background).
Cycling

Shrewsbury has an excellent network of on-road and traffic-free cycle routes.[112] In 2008 Shrewsbury was awarded Cycling Town status by Cycling England.[113] As a result Shrewsbury will benefit from £1.8 million of grant funding from the Department for Transport between 2008 and 2011. The funding will be used to make improvements to the cycle network in Shrewsbury, and to provide cycle training, information and advice to people to help encourage them to cycle to school and work.[114].

Bridges

The town has nine bridges which cross the River Severn and many that cross the Rea Brook. Working downstream (anti-clockwise around the town) Frankwell footbridge is a modern pedestrian footbridge between Frankwell and the town centre spanning the River Severn. Downstream is the Welsh Bridge, which was built in the 1790s to replace the ancient St George's Bridge. Further along is the Porthill Bridge, a pedestrian suspension bridge running between The Quarry and Porthill, built in 1922. The next bridge along the river is the Kingsland Bridge, a privately owned toll bridge, and the subsequent bridge is the Greyfriars Bridge, a pedestrian bridge between Coleham and the town centre. Following the Greyfriars Bridge is the English Bridge, historically called "Stone Bridge", which was rebuilt in the 1930s, and beyond it is the railway station, which is partly built over the river. After the station is the Castle Walk Footbridge, another modern pedestrian footbridge.[115]

Porthill Bridge, crossing the Severn, connecting Porthill with the Quarry area.

The last bridge to cross the river within the Shrewsbury bypass area is called Telford Way, which has separate lanes for vehicles (A5112), bicycles and pedestrians.

A. E. Housman wrote of the area this verse, which mentions the bridges of the town:[116]

High the vanes of Shrewsbury gleam
Islanded in Severn stream;
The bridges from the steepled crest,
Cross the water east and west.

Notable people

Charles Darwin, Shrewsbury's most illustrious historical resident.

There have been a number of notable Salopians, and people otherwise associated with the town of Shrewsbury, including Charles Darwin, a biologist and evolutionary theorist, one of the most important thinkers of the nineteenth century,[117] who was born in Shrewsbury on 12 February 1809 at The Mount House,[118] and was educated in the town at Shrewsbury School.

People with political associations also have connections with the town. Leo Blair, the father of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, is a resident of the town.[119] Former residents have included Michael Heseltine, a Conservative politician who was educated at Shrewsbury School,[120] and Sir William Pulteney, 5th Baronet, who was once Britain's richest man, and was MP for Shrewsbury.[121] He lived in apartments at Shrewsbury Castle. Robert Clive was MP for Shrewsbury, and also the mayor.[122]

Ian Hunter (or Ian Patterson), the lead singer of the 70s pop group Mott the Hoople, was a resident of 23a Swan Hill in the town centre, and wrote a song of the same name.[123] Also a resident of the town was John Peel, a DJ and radio presenter, who was educated at Shrewsbury School.[124] Another DJ from the town is Lange, a producer of dance music, who was born in Shrewsbury.[125] The 1980s pop group T'Pau was formed in the town and the band's vocalist Carol Decker was born and educated in the town, along with other members of the band.[126] Underground musician, Ken Worthing; was also born in Shrewsbury in 1964 and with his band ('Otherside') [1] released 'MORicana' (4 track CD single) which was a college hit in 2007 in the U.S.A.

Darwin Gate sculpture at the top of Mardol.

Shrewsbury has also been home to contributors to literature. Prior to the First World War, the poet Wilfred Owen lived in the town.[127] The romantic novelist Mary Webb is buried there.[128] Michael Palin, the writer, actor and comedian attended Shrewsbury School.[129] Other actors with associations with the town include Nick Hancock, presenter of They Think It's All Over, who, like Palin, was educated at Shrewsbury School.[130] Nick Conway is another actor connected to the town, and was born in it in 1962.[131]

Sporting Salopians include footballers Danny Guthrie of Newcastle United[132] and Shrewsbury Town youth academy graduates England goalkeeper Joe Hart[133] and Wales midfielder David Edwards, both of whom are currently playing in the Premier League. Sandy Lyle, a professional golfer, was also born in the town.[134] Neville Cardus spent some of his formative years as assistant cricket coach at Shrewsbury School.[135]

Other notable people of the town include Robert Cadman, a performer and steeplejack, who is buried in the town, at St. Mary's Church.[136] Simon Gosling, a designer was born in the town, and was resident there until 1994.[137] John Gwynn, an 18th century architect, who designed the English Bridge and the bridge at Atcham was born in the town.[138] Percy Thrower, the gardener and broadcaster was a resident of Shrewsbury.[139]

Flight Lieutenant Eric Lock DSO, DFC and Bar was born in nearby Bayston Hill and was educated at Prestfelde public school on London Road. Lock became internationally recognised as a high scoring fighter ace of the Royal Air Force during World War II with twenty six victories before his death in combat at the age of twenty one. He was the RAF's most successful British-born pilot during the Battle of Britain, shooting down 16.5 German aircraft in a period of just a few weeks.[140][141]

The forerunner of Private Eye was a school magazine edited by Richard Ingrams, Willie Rushton, Christopher Booker and Paul Foot at Shrewsbury School in the mid-1950s.[citation needed]

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External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Shrewsbury (Shropshire) article)

From Wikitravel

A view of the town square and old corn market.
A view of the town square and old corn market.

Shrewsbury [1] is the county town of Shropshire in England. It is a very traditional market town, with a lot of mediaeval architecture and feel to the town. Historically, Shrewsbury was a vital town in the wool trade with Wales. Due to its extremely good strategic geography, it was used as a garrison town and was part of the "Ring of Iron" of Edward Longshanks. It is pronounced either as "Shrewsbury" or as "Shrowsbury".

Understand

Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, which is a large and rural county in what is known as the Welsh Marches. The border with Wales is only 9 miles away and there is considerable Welsh influence in the county. The town even has a Welsh name - Amwythig - and many other towns in Shropshire have Welsh names as well as their English ones.

The population of the town is now just over 70,000. It is not the largest town in Shropshire - that is Telford.

Get in

By train

Shrewsbury is easily reached from London Marylebone station using the new Wrexham & Shropshire Railways [2] rail service. Shrewsbury's railway station is a large, imposing, Victorian building, opened in 1848. It is located on Castle Gates, right next to the castle, just north of the town centre, within easy walking distance of the town centre, shops and many of the town's attractions. Shrewsbury acts as an interchange for many rail lines, including the beautiful Heart of Wales line [3] and Cambrian Coastal line [4] and Shrewsbury is easily reached by rail from most of England and Wales. There are frequent services to Manchester, Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Crewe, and other services to Chester, Wrexham Aberystwyth, Swansea, Pwllheli, and Cardiff.

The famous Heart of Wales Line runs between Shrewsbury and the sea-side city of Swansea, passing through some of Wales' most spectacular scenery and picturesque towns during its three hour and forty minute journey. Trains depart Shrewsbury at 5:19AM, 9:05AM, 2:05Pm. 6:05PM.

By car

Access via the M54 from the West Midlands conurbation, then the A5 from Telford. Parking in the town is notoriously difficult, therefore Park & Ride schemes operate National Park and Ride Directory [5], which enable the visitor to park outside the town in a large car park, and take a bus costing £1 per person (children under 16 are free; students 50p), into the town centre. The park & ride bus goes all round the town centre, and has stops outside most attractions, shops, etc. Park & Ride car parks are located at Meole Brace (to the south of the town), Harlescott (to the north), and Oxon (Shelton) (to the east).

By bus

Shrewsbury is located on the route of the London - Aberystwyth and the London - Wrexham coach services (operated by National Express).

There are various local bus services, mainly linking Shrewsbury with other towns and villages in Shropshire and the surrounding area.

Get around

Park and Ride services from Oxon, Harlescott and Meole Brace to the town centre and back (Monday-Saturday) (free parking at Oxon, Harlescott and Meole Brace). Other bus services go from the bus station in the town centre to places in town and further out in the county.

Cabs available at the train station on Castle Gates. Otherwise there are numerous taxi companies.

Roads inside the town centre are to be avoided if travelling by car. Please park outside the town centre in the many car parks available - St Julian's Friars, Abbey Foregate, Frankwell, etc.

  • Shrewsbury Castle and Shropshire Regimental Museum, Castle Gate, Shrewsbury (immediately next to Shrewsbury Rail Station), (shropsrm@zoom.co.uk), [6]. Open: Museum - 14 February-26 May 2006, Tues-Sat and Bank Holidays, 10am - 4pm; Grounds - All year round, Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm and summer Sundays. Shrewsbury Castle was built in the eleventh century. The castle now belongs to Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council, and houses the Shropshire Regimental Museum, and an exhibition about the history of the castle. The grounds are also pleasant to walk in and explore. Also site for outdoor drama productions and other events in the summer. £2.50 for museum (Senior citizens £1.25; students, local residents and under-18s FREE; entry to grounds only FREE).
  • Rowley's House Museum, Barker Street, Shrewsbury. SY1 1QH, 01743 361196 (museums@shrewsbury.gov.uk, Fax: 01743 358411), [7]. Until 26 May and from 11 Sept-22 Dec: Tues-Sat, 10am - 4pm; From 27 May-10 Sept Mon-Sat, 10am - 5pm, Sun, 10am-4pm. This seventeenth-century house on Barker Street houses the municipal art gallery (on the ground floor) and museum (on first and second floors). The museum charts the development of Shrewsbury as a city from pre-historic times to the modern day in an interesting series of exhibitions. Each room in the museum takes a different period and attempts to recreate what Shrewsbury was like at that time. FREE.
  • Music Hall, The Square, Shrewsbury SY1 1LH (located in the centre of Shrewsbury, behind the Old Market Hall), 01743 281281 (mail@musichall.co.uk), [8]. Open: Depends on production. This is Shrewsbury's main performing arts venue. There is no resident company - performances are either touring productions or local amateur productions. The age of the building and lack of backstage space limits the types of performances which are able to be produced here, and for this reason, a new arts venue is being planned for Shrewsbury to replace the Music Hall. The Music Hall also houses Shrewsbury Tourist Information Centre. Entry price: depends on production.
  • Old Market Hall, The Square, Shrewsbury SY1 1LH, 01743 281281, [9]. Open: from 10am. Films usually show at approx 14:30, 17:30 and 20:00 daily. Originally opened in 1596 as a Market Hall in the centre of Shrewsbury, this Elizabethan building is now an arts cinema showing foreign-language and artistic films of considerable variety. There is also a cafe-bar and digital arts exhibition. £5 for films (£3.50 for students, over-60s and disabled people. FREE for Digital Arts exhibitions and cafe-bar).
  • St Chad's Church, Shrewsbury (in the south part of the town centre, opposite the Quarry Park), 01743 365478 (info@stchadschurchshrewsbury.com), [10]. Summer: Mon-Sat, 8am-5pm; Winter: Mon-Sat, 8am-1pm (From 1pm the outer vestibule and St Aidan’s chapel are open until 5pm.). Church dating from 1792, has unique circular nave.
  • St Mary's Church, Shrewsbury, 01743 357006, [11]. Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm; Sat, 10am-4pm. Stained glass windows dating from 14th-19th century.
  • The Quarry Park [12]
  • Bear Steps' buildings [13]
  • St Julian's Church
  • St Alkmund's Church

Learn

Shrewsbury is home to Shrewsbury School, a public school, where Sir Philip Sydney, Charles Darwin, Michael Palin, John Peel, Nick Hancock and Michael Heseltine were educated. It is located on a large commanding site ("Kingsland") just south of the town centre overlooking the loop of the Severn. The school was once located in the town centre, in the buildings that are now the main county library on Castle Street. Opposite it on the other side of the river is Shrewsbury High School, a private girls day school. However the majority of the town's resident children attend one of the town's seven comprehensive schools. The comprehensive schools of the town include:

  • The Priory, which was formerly a grammar school for girls.
  • Meole Brace School, which currently carries the status of Science College.
  • The Corbet School
  • The Wakeman School, geographically the closest school to the town, situated next to the English Bridge, alongside the Severn and being adjacent to the Gay Meadow football ground. The site was previously 'Shrewsbury Technical School' which was attended by the famous war poet Wilfred Owen.
  • The Grange
  • Sundorne
  • Belvidere
  • The Mary Webb School serves many inhabitants of Shrewsbury, although is, in actuality, located in the large village of Pontesbury, to the south-west.

The post-16 education is handled by Shrewsbury Sixth Form College and Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology.

  • Shrewsbury Fairtrade Shop, 8 St Johns Hill, Shrewsbury, SY1 1JD. Sells a variety of craft and gift items from around the world, cards, Fairtrade food & drink.
  • Darwin Shopping Centre and Pride Hill Shopping Centre [14]
  • Riverside Mall
  • Sundorne Retail Park
  • Meole Brace Retail Park
  • Shrewsbury Hotel, Bridge Place / Mardol Quay
  • Hole in the Wall, Shoplatch / Gullet Passage
  • Coach and Horses, Swan Hill / Cross Hill
  • The Armoury, Victoria Quay / Victoria Avenue
  • Golden Cross, Princess Street / Golden Cross Passage
  • Pizza Express, Mardol
  • Drapers Hall - St Mary's Square
  • Renaissance - The Square
  • The Cornhouse - Wyle Cop
  • Peach Tree - Abbey Foregate
  • Golden Cross, Princess Street
  • Dun Cow, Abbey Foregate
  • Lion Hotel, Wyle Cop
  • Cromwells, Dogpole
  • Loggerheads, Church Street
  • Three Fishes, Fish Street
  • King's Head, Mardol
  • The Grove Inn, Belle Vue
  • Café bar in Old Market Hall [15] -Nice cafe and free wifi in the center of town.
  • Shrewsbury Hotel, Smithfield Road
  • Prince Rupert Hotel, Butcher Row
  • Lion Hotel, Wyle Cop
  • Lord Hill Hotel, Abbey Foregate
  • Travel Inn, Emstrey Business Park

Stay safe

Shrewsbury is a comparatively safe town to other similar towns of its size. Friday/Saturday evenings in the town centre should be avoided if you don't enjoy fun. The Quarry area is also enhanced by the comedy antics of the homeless and intoxicated at night.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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