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Wellington is a town in the borough of Telford and Wrekin and ceremonial county of Shropshiremarker, Englandmarker and now forms part of the new town of Telfordmarker. The population of the parish of Wellington was recorded as 20,430 in the 2001 census, making it the third largest town in Shropshire if counted independently from Telford.

History

Its name was originally Weoleahington, meaning 'The settlement by the temple', or 'by the sacred grove'. An alternative suggestion that the name derives from 'Watling Town', because it lies on Watling Streetmarker, a Roman road that linked Londonmarker with the town of Viroconium Cornoviorummarker (now Wroxetermarker), seems to be unlikely, due to several factors, including the earliest written names of the town. Evidence suggests that the site of the sacred Druid grove and temple was on the site of All Saints Parish Church on a raised area in the centre of the town. A church has been on that site for almost 1000 years and the priest was mentioned in the Domesday Book. The original churchyard still remains. A new church, designed by George Steuart, was built in 1789.

Wellington's first market charter is dated 1244 and the market still exists today. The market had an open-sided market hall by 1680 but this was dimantled in about 1800 This was replaced in the 19th century by a town hall (with the butter market held under it) built in 1848 by a company (formed in 1841) which purchased the market rights from Lord Forester in 1856.

In 1642 King Charles I was staying in Wellington (in a building that stood in what is now Crown Street, next to the former Crown Inn, which is now the premises of Wellington News), shortly before the first pitched battle of the English Civil War, when he said in his Wellington Declaration that he would uphold the Protestant Religion, the Laws of England, and the Liberty of Parliament.

The second Shropshire Olympian Games were held in Wellington in May 1861.

The town is twinned with Chatenay-Malabry in Francemarker despite vocal protestations from the residents of the French town who had expressed a twinning preference for Telford as a whole. A twinning website exists, the link of which can be seen at the bottom of the page under 'External links'.

Another street view of the pedestrianised centre of Wellington


Merger with Telford

Some of the townspeople do not think that the formation of Telford New Town has been a positive change for Wellington. Its economy has been damaged by Telford Town Centremarker formed in 1963, its football team's name was changed from Wellington Town to Telford United in 1969, and its large Edwardian library is increasingly ignored as Telford Library has become the headquarters for the Telford and Wrekin library service.

Local politics left it in conflict with Telford & Wrekin Council for many years with claims and counter claims of neglect etc. Recently the Council has started making heavy investment to make improvements to the town. Critics feel this it is not about new Bus Stations and Libraries but a need for more commercial and viable shopping stunted mainly by high rents and rising Business Rate Bills, enforced by central government and not benefitting the local community.

The creation of the new town did, however, bring a wealth of employment to the area. Although ignored by most of the larger high street stores, many independent businesses have remained in Wellington and it is often viewed nowadays as complementing the larger Telford town centre. Recent economic downturns have left it struggling like many small towns with empty shops and an increasing number of Charity shops, not viewed by everyone as good for business. Unlike other small Shropshire towns Wellington has been unable to attract high street names, unlike Newportmarker (Waitrose, Euronics centres, Mackays, Seconds Ahead) and Oswestrymarker (Marks & Spencer, Argos, Costa Coffee) etc.


Amenities and attractions

Local magazine the Wellington News is published monthly. Artistic events in Wellington include Sounds in the Square, a season of open air music in the Market Square during the Summer, and the well-attended annual Wellington Literary Festival, a celebrated month of workshops, competitions and even audiences with famous poets and authors. The annual Midsummer Fayre and Lions day on wheels are two other popular events held during the summer months.

Wellington Market continues to be a popular attraction of the town, and is open four days a week. There is also a monthly farmers' market held in the Square. The town centre is the largest shopping centre in Telford outside the new, central Telford Shopping Centre.

The New Buck's Head football stadium, home to AFC Telford United, is located in Wellington. Other sporting clubs include the Wellington Cricket Club, currently in the Birmingham League Premier Division. The Wrekinmarker, a hill on the border of Wellington, has a height of 1335 feet and is popular with walkers and families. It plays host to the annual Great Wrekin Barrel Race.

The Princess Royal Hospitalmarker is located nearby at Apley, to the north.

Education

Wrekin Collegemarker, New College Telfordmarker and Telford College of Arts and Technologymarker (TCAT) are located in the town, along with primary and secondary schools.

Transport

Wellington railway station
All Saints church in the centre of Wellington.
Built in 1790.


Wellington railway stationmarker was built in 1849 and has three platforms, served by Arriva Trains Wales, London Midland and Wrexham & Shropshire, providing northbound trains towards Shrewsburymarker and Walesmarker, and southbound trains to the West Midlands and Londonmarker. One of the platforms is a bay platform, which sees little use at present. Additionally, since 2008 the town has had a through train service to London Marylebonemarker, the first for almost 40 years.

In 1867, a branch line was opened to connect the town with Market Draytonmarker. The Wellington and Market Drayton Railway operated for just under one hundred years before closure under the Beeching reforms in 1963.

There were also railway links to Much Wenlock and Stafford, both closed in the 1960s.

A goods only link to a rail head at Donnington, on part of the former Wellington to Stafford line, has been re-opened. The concept of re-establishing the railway line through Newport and on to Stafford has been raised.

Wellington is located at the western terminus of the M54 motorway and has good bus services making it one of the most accessible towns in Shropshire.

Famous and former residents

The town's literary claims to fame include it being the birthplace of 19th century writer Hesba Stretton (1832-1911), and the first job of the poet Philip Larkinmarker was as the librarian of Wellington Library from 1943 to circa 1945. The Brontë family lived in the town for a short time before moving to Yorkshire. The abolitionist Dr William Withering was born in the town in 1741; he also investigated digitalis, used in the treatment of heart disease. S. Parkes Cadman, who became a prominent clergyman in the United Statesmarker, was born there in 1864. Several members of the pop group T'Pau (including vocalist Carol Decker) were from Wellington.Other notable residents include:Richard Baxter (1615-1691) - English Puritan Church Leader and Scholar,Sir George Downing (1684-1749) - Founder of Downing College, Cambridge,Andrew Plimer (c. 1763-1837) - Miniature Painter,Henry Gauntlett (1805-1876) - Composer, Organist and Organ Designer,Thomas Campbell Eyton (1809-1911) - Naturalist,Cecil George Lawson (1851-1882) - Landscape Painter,Daniel Charles Craik - Notable Keytar Player andJonathan Corbett - Food Commentator & TV Presenter.

References

  1. BBC - Shropshire - Community
  2. All Saints Church, Wellington
  3. 'Wellington: Economic history', A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11: Telford (1985), pp. 222-232. Shropshire market. Date accessed: 20 May 2008.
  4. British History Online
  5. The Wellington News


External links




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