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Tamworth is a town and local government district in Staffordshire, Englandmarker, located north-east of Birminghammarker city centre and north-west of Londonmarker. The town takes its name from the River Tame, which flows through the town, as does the River Ankermarker. At the 2001 census the town had a population of 74,531.

Tamworth is the home of the historic Tamworth Castlemarker and Moat Housemarker, and has a non-league football team, Tamworth FC. The Snowdomemarker, the UK's first full-sized real-snow indoor ski slope is located in Tamworth. There is also tenpin bowling at Strykers bowl, and only a short distance away is Drayton Manor Theme Parkmarker.

The town's main industries include logistics, engineering, clothing, brick, tile and paper manufacture. It was also home to the Reliant car company, which produced the famous three-wheeled Robin model and the Scimitar sportscar for several decades.

Able Seaman Colin Grazier, who rescued the Enigma Code Book from a captured U-Boat, was born in Two Gates. His achievement is celebrated in a monument in the town centre.

History

Tamworth has existed since Saxon times
and once was the capital of Merciamarker the largest of all English kingdoms of its time (see Heptarchy). It was by far the largest town in the Midlandsmarker when today's much larger city of Birminghammarker was still in its infancy. This is largely because of its strategic position at the meeting point of two rivers (the Tame and the Anker), which meant the town was perfectly placed as a centre of trade and industry.


The town was later sacked by Danes in the 9th century A wooden fort was constructed on the site of the current castle, designed to defend the town against further Danish invaders by Ethelfleda, Lady of the Mercians, the daughter of King Alfred the Great.
In the 11th century, a Norman castle was built on the probable site of the Saxon fort which still stands to this day as an important tourist attraction. Grants of borough privileges, including rights to a third additional fair in 1588 consolidated Tamworth’s historic importance as ‘the seat of Saxon kings’.

In the Middle Ages Tamworth was a small market town. However the king gave it charters in 1319 In the Middle Ages a charter was a document granting the townspeople certain rights or confirming existing ones. In 1337 Tamworth was granted the right to hold two annual fairs In the Middle Ages fairs were like markets but they were held only once a year and they attracted buyers and sellers from far and wide.

In 1345 Tamworth suffered a disastrous fire Much of the town burned. Fire was a constant hazard in the Middle Ages because most buildings were made of wood with thatched roofs. On the other hand, once burned they could be easily rebuilt.

Queen Elizabeth granted Tamworth another charter in 1560

In the 16th and 17th centuries Tamworth, like all towns, suffered from outbreaks of plague. It struck in 1563, 1579, 1597-98, 1606 and 1626. Each time the plague struck many people died but each time the population recovered. Fortunately the 1626 outbreak was the last.

James I, the first Stuart king of England, visited Tamworth in 1619 and whilst he was accommodated by Sir John Ferrers at Tamworth Castle, the Prince of Wales and future King Charles was entertained by William Comberford at the Moat House

Tamworth castle was besieged by parliamentarian forces during the English Civil War in 1643. An order was issued for the castle to be destroyed but this was not carried out.

Tamworth continued to grow and remained of the most populous towns in the Midlands by 1670, when the combined hearth tax returns from Warwickshire and Staffordshire list a total of some 320 households. Its strategic trade advantage lay with control of the two vital packhorse bridges across the Anker and the Tame on the route from London to Chester. While it remained a local market town, it did a brisk trade providing travellers with the staple bread, ale and accommodation, maintaining trading links as far afield as Bristol. Charles II’s reconfirmation of its borough's privileges in 1663 gave the town an added boost, as confirmed by Richard Blome's description of its celebrated market, well served with corn, provisions and lean cattle.

In 1678 the town's future Member of Parliament Thomas Guy founded almshouses in Tamworth, rebuilt in 1913. He also built Tamworth Town Hall in 1701 and later founded Guy's Hospitalmarker in London.

There are four cannons in the Castle Grounds, an indication of the town's previously violent past.

In 1801, the population was a little over 3000

There were a number of improvements to Tamworth during the 19th century. In 1807 the pavements were flagged. From 1835 Tamworth had gaslight. In the late 19th century a piped water supply was created.

The town grew rapidly in the 18th and 19th centuries during the Industrial Revolution, benefitting from the surrounding coal mines. It also became a hub of the canal network, with the Coventry Canal and the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal being built through the town. Later, the railways arrived with the Midland Railway route from Derbymarker to Birminghammarker arriving in Tamworth in 1847, and later the London and North Western Railway, which provided direct trains to the capital. A split-level stationmarker exists where the two main lines cross one-another, the higher level platforms (on the Derby to Birmingham line), being at right angles to the lower ones on the main line to London.

The first municipal cemetery opened in 1876. The Assembly Rooms were built in 1889. In 1897 the corporation bought Tamworth Castle.

A hospital was built in Tamworth in 1880. An infirmary was built in 1903.

The first council houses in Tamworth were built in 1900. More were built in the 1920s and 1930s and after 1945.

The first public library in Tamworth was built in 1905. Tamworth gained an electricity supply in 1924.

The Victorian Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel served as the town's Member of Parliament from 1830 until his death in 1850. He lived at the nearby Drayton Manormarker. It was in Tamworth that Robert Peel unveiled his Tamworth Manifesto in 1834 which created what is now the modern Conservative Party. During the 19th century a breed of pig called Tamworth Pig was initially bred here using some imported Irishmarker stock.

Samuel Parkes who won the Victoria Cross in the Charge of the Light Brigade was born in Wiggintonmarker and baptised at St. Editha'smarker on 24 December 1815. His parents, Thomas and Lydia, are buried in its churchyard.
The A5 (Thomas Guy Way) passing through Tamworth, looking south from Glascote.
Tamworth grew rapidly in the postwar years as it soaked up overspill from the West Midlands conurbation to the southwest. A population of about 7,000 in 1931 had risen to some 13,000 just after the Second World War; this figure remained fairly static until the late 1960s when a major expansion plan was implemented. Although not officially a "New Town", Tamworth's expansion resembled the development of many new towns. As part of this plan the town boundaries were expanded to include the industrial area around Wilnecotemarker to the south. The 1961 population of the new enlarged area was 25,000. In 1971 it was 40,000; in 1981, 64,000; in 1991, 68,000 and in 2001, 74,000, meaning that the town's population had almost doubled within 30 years.

The town of Fazeley merges almost completely into the town to the southwest, but belongs to the Lichfield Districtmarker area rather than Tamworth Borough. It became a town, by holding a referendum, to prevent efforts from Tamworth to absorb it. .

Tamworth was historically split between Staffordshire and Warwickshiremarker, with the county boundary running through the town centre. Staffordshire was made to include the entire borough in 1888.

The A5 £26,000,000 dual-carriageway Fazeleymarker, Two Gates and Wilnecotemarker Bypass opened in July 1995, acting both as a bypass of Watling Street, and as a fast route for traffic into the town. This was further extended to meet the M6 Toll and A38 in 2005. The road's official name is Thomas Guy Way.

Local newspaper

In 1868 The Tamworth Herald was launched by Daniel Addison, with its original premises in Silver Street.Mr Addison continued to publish the paper for nine years until 29 October 1877, when it was taken over by a consortium of leading townsmen. The paper now has its offices on the town's Ventura Park industrial estate.Daniel Addison had a son Albert Christopher Addison who was a historical writer.

Tamworth suburbs



Culture

Sir Ernest William Titterton was born in Tamworth. He was a research officer for the British Admiralty during World War II before becoming in 1943 a member of the British mission to the U.S.marker to participate in the Manhattan Project which developed the atomic bomb. He was knighted in 1970.

Former The Teardrop Explodes frontman and solo artist/writer Julian Cope was raised in Tamworth and later lived in nearby Drayton Bassettmarker. Cope recorded three solo albums during his Tamworth years, 'World Shut Your Mouth' (1984), 'Fried' (1984) and 'Saint Julian' (1987), and all three used various locations around Tamworth for their sleeve art and several videos. The heavy rock band Wolfsbane cut their teeth in the town, before their lead singer Blaze Bayley went on to front the legendary Iron Maiden. Rock guitarist Clem Clempson was born in Tamworth. The rock music internet-based radio station Rock 24/7 Online has its studios in Tamworth.

Twin towns

Tamworth's town twins are:


Sport

Football

One of the more notable personalities to come from Tamworth is former Manchester City goalkeeper Tony Coton, who made a number of appearances over the years. Tamworth F.C. has also fielded a number of notable players in recent times, including West Bromwich Albion legend Bob Taylor and, for one match in the 2005/2006 season, former Aston Villa and Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson. Tamworth FC showed signs of progress, just surviving to get their third season in the Conference, playing former league sides such as Halifax Town, Oxford United & Kidderminster Harriers on a regular basis. The club also has a keen rivalry with fellow Staffordshire clubs Stafford Rangers and Burton Albion However, their biggest rival is Nuneaton Borough who are in the same division as Tamworth now. In 2009, as winners of Conference North, Tamworth was promoted to the Conference National.Other football players from Tamworth include goalkeeper Martin Taylor who played for Derby and Wycombe, and currently Ashley Williams who has just signed for Swansea and been called up to the Wales squad.

Speedway

Speedway racing took place in the Tamworth area in the 1930s and in the post war era featured at the Greyhound Stadium in Fazeley. The Hounds started out in 1947 racing in the National League Division Three before becoming The Tammies in 1950 when the venture was purchased by Birmingham promoter Les Marshall.

Sports Teams In Tamworth



Tamworth

Bolehall Swifts

Coton Green

Dosthill Colts



Tamworth
Club Sport Founded League Venue Logo
Rugby 1925 Midlands 4 West Midlands Wigginton Park
Football 1953 Midland Combination Premier Division Rene Road Ground
Football 1982 Midland Combination Premier Division New Mill Lane
Football 1990 Midland Combination Division One Rene Road Ground
Mile Oak Roversmarker Football 1958 Midland Combination Division One Recreation Ground
Football 1933 Conference National The Lamb Groundmarker


Political Awards

Freeman of the Borough: Cllr. Ron Cook

References

J. Gould, “The Medieval Burgesses of Tamworth: their Liberties, Courts and Markets”, Transactions of the South Staffordshire Archaeological Society, No. 13 (1971-2).

External links




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