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Shrewsbury ( or ) is the county town of Shropshiremarker, in the West Midlands region of England. Lying on the River Severn, it is a civil parish and is home to 70,689 inhabitants, and is the primary settlement and headquarters of Shropshire Council. Consequently, it is the second largest town in the ceremonial county of Shropshire, after Telfordmarker.

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, including several examples of timber framing from the 15th century and 16th century. Shrewsbury Castlemarker, a red sandstone castle fortification, and Shrewsbury Abbeymarker, a former Benedictine monastery, were founded in 1074 and 1083 respectively, by the Norman Earl of Shrewsbury, Roger de Montgomery. 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, including Britain in Bloom in 2006.

Today, lying east of the Welshmarker 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. There are some light industry and distribution centres, such as Battlefield Enterprise Parkmarker, located mainly on the outskirts. The A5 and A49 trunk roads cross here, as do five railway lines at Shrewsbury railway stationmarker.

History

The town was known to the ancient Britons as Pengwern, signifying "the alder hill"; 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". This name was gradually corrupted in three directions, into 'Sciropscire' which became Shropshiremarker, 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. Its Welsh name Amwythig means "fortified place".

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 Streetmarker as trading routes. 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.
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 Powismarker 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 Castlemarker 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. In 1403, the Battle of Shrewsburymarker took place a few miles north of the town centre, at Battlefieldmarker; it was fought between King Henry IV and Henry Hotspur, with the King emerging victorious, an event celebrated in William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1, Act 5.

The town is home to the Ditherington Flax Millmarker, 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. Shrewsbury in the Industrial Revolution was also located on the Shrewsbury Canal which linked it to the Shropshire Canalmarker and wider canal network of Great Britain.

Shrewsbury has also played a part in Western intellectual history, by being the town in which the naturalist Charles Darwin was born and raised. Nearby is the village of Wroxetermarker, to the south-west, where the now ruined Roman city of Viroconium Cornoviorummarker 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 Powysmarker.
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.

Shrewsbury won the West Midlands Capital of Enterprise award in 2004. The town has two expanding business parks, the Shrewsbury Business Parkmarker and the Battlefield Enterprise Parkmarker. 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 Telfordmarker, Wolverhamptonmarker and Birminghammarker. In 2000 and again in 2002, Shrewsbury unsuccessfully applied for city status.

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.

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, and the old Shrewsbury & Atcham Borough Council headquarters at The Guildhall, on Frankwellmarker 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 constituencymarker 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.

Shrewsbury is twinned with Zutphenmarker in The Netherlandsmarker. The town also serves as the administrative headquarters of the British Army's 5th Division, which has its administrative HQ at the Copthornemarker Barracks.

Town Council

Shrewsbury was until 2009 an unparished area and had no town or parish council(s), instead the Mayor of Shrewsbury and Atchammarker 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-Maremarker 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 Londonmarker. 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.

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". The coat of arms of the (now abolished) Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council was Shrewsbury's shield with the addition of Atchammarker 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



Shrewsbury is located approximately to the west of Telfordmarker, west of Birminghammarker and the West Midlands Conurbationmarker, and about north-west of the capital, Londonmarker. More locally, the town is to the east of Welshpoolmarker, and Bridgnorthmarker and Kidderminstermarker are to the south-east. The border with Walesmarker is 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.

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 Frankwellmarker which was flooded three times in the space of six weeks. 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.

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

Suburbs and surrounding settlements

Shrewsbury has a large number of suburb 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.

An example of where this has happened is Bayston Hillmarker, which has grown considerably in the last 20 years; now separated from the Meole Bracemarker 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 south of the town centre of Shrewsbury and on the A49 and near to the A5. The smaller village of Battlefieldmarker, 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.

Climate

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



Demography

Shrewsbury & Atchammarker 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. The same census puts the population of the borough of Shrewsbury and Atcham at 95,850. In 1981 the population of the town was 57,731 and in 1991 the population of the town was 64,219. Shrewsbury is Shropshire's second largest town, after Telfordmarker. 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 Shrewsburymarker, is the most overcrowded in England and Wales.

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 Boroughmarker, and that of Shropshiremarker as a whole. 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, Pakistanimarker or Bangladeshimarker, and 0.1% of the population is South Asian or British Asian. A further 0.1% is Black, Caribbean or African.

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 & Atchammarker borough. Source: A Vision of Britain through Time


Economy



Throughout the Medieval period, Shrewsbury was a centre for the wool trade, 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 Walesmarker.

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. Shrewsbury is home to two small shopping centres, the Darwinmarker and Pride Hill centres, which house many high street retailers such as Marks & Spencer, TK Maxx and Boots. There is also the large Meole Brace Retail Parkmarker to the south, and the Harlescott Retail Parkmarker to the north. Major supermarkets in the town are the 2007-opened environmentally friendly Tescomarker Extra at Harlescott, Morrisons on Whitchurch Road, Asda on Old Potts Way and Sainsbury'smarker at Meole Brace.
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. Shrewsbury's position of being the only sizable town for a large area, especially to the west in Mid-Walesmarker, 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 Hospitalmarker has the only A&E department westwards until Aberystwythmarker, approximately away.

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 Harlescottmarker. A further four SOAs fall into the bottom 30% nationally, these being located in the wards of Monkmoor, Sundornemarker, Battlefield and Heathgatesmarker, and Meole Bracemarker. The most affluent areas of the town are located to the south, surrounding Shrewsbury Schoolmarker. Areas such as Kingsland and Porthill tend to have higher house prices than average.

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). 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, Mardolmarker, Frankwell, Roushill, Grope Lane, Gullet Passage, Murivance, The Dana, Portobello, Bear Steps, Shoplatch and Bellstone.

The Public Librarymarker, in the pre-1882 Shrewsbury Schoolmarker building, 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, 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 Quarrymarker. This 29 acre (120,000 m²) 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'.

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 Iraqmarker and Afghanistanmarker. Today, after several major reorganisations, the Light Infantry Brigade now forms part of the regiment known simply as The Rifles. Shrewsbury's Copthorne Barracksmarker, spiritual home of the Light Brigade, still houses the Headquarters of the British Army's 5th Division.
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. 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 Hallmarker on The Square in the town centre. The three main museums are Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery (located at Rowley's House), Shrewsbury Castlemarker (which houses the Shropshire Regimental Museum) and the Coleham Pumping Stationmarker. 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 Columnmarker, the largest free-standing Doric column in the world.

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 Abbeymarker, founded by Roger de Montgomery in 1083. The Orthodox Church's main building, which is located on Wenlock Road to the east, is over 1,000 years old. Shrewsbury is home to the Roman Catholic Shrewsbury Cathedralmarker, located by Town Walls, as well as two other parishes in Harlescottmarker and Monkmoor, within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Shrewsburymarker.

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

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. Basics Bank is another example, based at The Barnabas Centre, which provides debt relief for local people. Churches Together in Shrewsbury is seeking to continue its long term commitment to helping homeless people through The Ark project.

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. 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.

Shrewsbury is also home to one of the region's main agricultural shows - the West Mid Showmarker. This is held every year, usually in May, at the Shropshire Agricultural Showground on the outskirts of town at Coton Hillmarker. 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 Abbeymarker. The festival is organized by WorldStage Tours. 2006 saw the first Shrewsbury Folk Festival, after the event moved to the town from nearby Bridgnorthmarker. 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 Quarrymarker, 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. 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.

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

Construction of Theatre Severn, a new entertainment complex in Frankwellmarker, was commissioned in September 2006. Actual construction began on the site in April 2007 when the Borough Council appointed a contractor. The design will feature a prominent glass curve and steel frame. The site is positioned next to the Guildhall, alongside the namesake River Severn. The new complex is to replace the existing theatre, the Shrewsbury Music Hallmarker. The Music Hall will then be refurbished, and take on the role of Rowley's House Museum, which will then be closed for renovation for the foreseeable future.
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 Abbeymarker for their setting, with Shrewsbury and other places in Shropshire portrayed regularly, and have made Medieval Shrewsbury familiar to a wide worldwide readership.

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, and the local edition of the county's Shropshire Star. 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: Beacon Radio, part of the wider network of radio stations owned by GCap Media; BBC Radio Shropshire, which is based in Shrewsbury; and, as of September 2006, The Severn, which broadcasts live from Abbey Foregatemarker.

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 Stadiummarker in 2007, to a purposely built site located near Meole Bracemarker. Prior to this, the club played at the Gay Meadowmarker 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.

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

Education



Shrewsbury is home to Shrewsbury Schoolmarker, 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. Opposite it on the other side of the river is Shrewsbury High Schoolmarker, an independent girls' day school.

The long established Prestfelde Schoolmarker 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 of grounds on the outskirts of the town. 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.

Adcote Schoolmarker is an independent day and boarding schoolmarker 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 Ironbridgemarker.

However, the majority of the town's pupils attend one of the eight comprehensive schools. The Priory Schoolmarker, formerly a grammar school for girls, generally has the best GCSE exam results in the town. Meole Brace School currently carries the status of Science College; The Grange and The Wakemanmarker the status of Arts College; Sundorne the status of Sports College and Belvidere has the status of Technology College.
The Wakeman Schoolmarker, 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 Pontesburymarker, to the south-west.

Post-16 education is handled by Shrewsbury Sixth Form Collegemarker, which has some of the best A-Level results in the country, and Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technologymarker, 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 Atchammarker borough council, and the plans have been described by Kawczynski as "dead in the water".

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 town is regarded as the "Gateway to Walesmarker" . Shrewsbury railway stationmarker is served by Arriva Trains Wales and London Midland. Trains north to Chestermarker, Manchestermarker, Crewemarker and Wrexhammarker, south to Herefordmarker and Cardiffmarker, west to Aberystwythmarker, and east to Birminghammarker via Telfordmarker and Wolverhamptonmarker. Heart of Wales Line trains also operate to Swanseamarker. On 28 April 2008 open access service provider Wrexham & Shropshire commenced services to London. This restored the county's direct rail link to Londonmarker; previously Shropshire was one of only two English counties without a dedicated service to the capital, the other being Rutlandmarker.

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.

Roads

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

The A5 connects the town northwest to Oswestrymarker, and east towards Telfordmarker, 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 Telfordmarker, as well as a bypass for the town.

The A49 also goes to Shrewsbury, joining the A5 at the south of the town, coming from Ludlowmarker and Leominstermarker. 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 Sundornemarker, then Battlefieldmarker, before heading out towards Whitchurchmarker. At Battlefield, the A53 route begins and heads northeast towards Shawburymarker and Market Draytonmarker then onwards towards Newcastle-under-Lymemarker and Stoke-on-Trentmarker.
The A458 (Welshpoolmarker-Bridgnorthmarker) 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 Ellesmeremarker. The A488 begins just west of the town centre in Frankwellmarker and heads out to Bishop's Castlemarker, Clunmarker and Knightonmarker 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 Centremarker 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 Llanfyllinmarker, Montgomerymarker, Newtownmarker and Welshpoolmarker.

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 Harlescottmarker (to the north, colour-coded orange), Oxon (to the west, colour-coded brown) and Meole Bracemarker (to the south, colour-coded green). It is proposed that a fourth one be built to the east of the town, at either Emstreymarker or Preston.


Cycling
Shrewsbury has an excellent network of on-road and traffic-free cycle routes. In 2008 Shrewsbury was awarded Cycling Town status by Cycling England. As a result Shrewsbury will benefit from £1.8 million of grant funding from the Department for Transportmarker 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..

Bridges
The town has many bridges, which cross the River Severn and the Rea Brook. Frankwellmarker footbridge is a modern pedestrian footbridge between Frankwell and the town centre spanning the River Severn. Downstream is the Welsh Bridgemarker, which was built in the 1790s to replace the ancient St George's Bridgemarker. Further along is the Porthill Bridgemarker, a pedestrian suspension bridge running between The Quarrymarker and Porthill, built in 1922. The next bridge along the river is the Kingsland Bridgemarker, a privately owned toll bridge, and the subsequent bridge is the Greyfriars Bridgemarker, 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 stationmarker, which is partly built over the river. After the station is the Castle Walk Footbridgemarker, another modern pedestrian footbridge.
Porthill Bridge, crossing the Severn, connecting Porthill with the Quarry area.
A. E. Housman wrote of the area this verse, which mentions the bridges of the town:

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, who was born in Shrewsbury on 12 February 1809 at The Mount House, and was educated in the town at Shrewsbury Schoolmarker.

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. Former residents have included Michael Heseltine, a Conservative politician who was educated at Shrewsbury School, and Sir William Pulteney, 5th Baronet, who was once Britain's richest man, and was MP for Shrewsbury. He lived in apartments at Shrewsbury Castle. Robert Clive was MP for Shrewsbury, and also the mayor.

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. Also a resident of the town was John Peel, a DJ and radio presenter, who was educated at Shrewsbury School. Another DJ from the town is Lange, a producer of dance music, who was born in Shrewsbury. 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. Underground musician, Ken Worthing; was also born in Shrewsbury in 1964 and with his band ('Otherside') [823415] released 'MORicana' (4 track CD single) which was a college hit in 2007 in the U.S.A.
Shrewsbury has also been home to contributors to literature. Prior to the First World War, the poet Wilfred Owen lived in the town. The romantic novelist Mary Webb is buried there. Michael Palin, the writer, actor and comedian attended Shrewsbury School. 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. Nick Conway is another actor connected to the town, and was born in it in 1962.

Sporting Salopians include footballers Danny Guthrie of Newcastle United and Shrewsbury Town youth academy graduates England goalkeeper Joe Hart 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.Neville Cardus spent some of his formative years as assistant cricket coach at Shrewsbury Schoolmarker.

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

Flight Lieutenant Eric Lock DSO, DFC and Bar was born in nearby Bayston Hillmarker and was educated at Prestfeldemarker 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.

The forerunner of Private Eyemarker was a school magazine edited by Richard Ingrams, Willie Rushton, Christopher Booker and Paul Foot at Shrewsbury Schoolmarker in the mid-1950s.

References

  1. W. G. Rimmer, 'Castle Foregate Flax Mill, Shrewsbury' Transactions of Shropshire Archaeological Society LVI (1957-60), 49ff.
  2. Shrewsbury Town Council
  3. Exhibit in Former C&A, Pride Hill Shopping Centre, Shrewsbury. Published by SABC council. Viewed 20th February, 2008
  4. http://www.shropshirestar.com/2009/06/16/plea-for-trams-not-a-new-road/
  5. http://www.cycleshrewsbury.co.uk/cycle-routes
  6. http://www.dft.gov.uk/cyclingengland/cycling-cities-towns/
  7. http://www.cycleshrewsbury.co.uk/about
  8. "Shropshire's 'Sawn Off' Battle of Britain hero", BBC. Accessed 3 January 2008.
  9. Lashmar, Paul. "`The Few' who saved Britain were even fewer in number than anyone", The Independent, 16 September 2000. Accessed 3 January 2008.


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