Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
This article is about the town of Shrewsbury in England. For other places of the same name, see Shrewsbury (disambiguation)
Shrewsbury may have been founded by the Romans who had the city of Viroconium (Wroxeter) nearby, but the Saxons are more likely to have founded the town, roughly in the 8th Century (there are unfortunately no records of when exactly it was founded). The earliest written mention of it existing is from the year 901. At that time it was part of the Kingdom of Mercia. It grew in stature quickly and became the county town of Shropshire and even had a mint. It is known as the "town of flowers" and an alternative name is Salop (which is also an alternative name for the county). The town has borough status and for many centuries it was run by the Corporation of Shrewsbury. The local authority is now Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council.
The centre of Shrewsbury is located in a meander of the River Severn and the town is located only 12 miles from the Welsh border. The town centre has a pronounced hill upon which sits Shrewsbury Castle, built shortly after the Norman Conquest, though the present day castle dates from the 13th century. There are many well-preserved half-timbered black-and-white houses here, among them the Abbot's House of c.1500 on Butcher Row, and Rowley's House (now home to the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery) on Barker Street. The town avoided the bombing of World War II and so many of its ancient buildings remain intact and there was little redevelopment during the 1960s and 1970s (which destroyed the character of many historic towns in the UK).
The town did not experience the same massive growth that other English towns experienced during the industrial revolution and few large factories grew up in the town. In fact, during the 1830s and 1840s, the town actually decreased in populance - mainly due to the lack of good transport links and little industry. The railways, however, became a major employer by the end of the 19th Century, as Shrewsbury became an important railway town. Today, the town is still not industrial and the railways no longer play such a major part in employing its people. Tourists, who come to admire the historical town centre with its attractions, as well as the retail sector, now generate most of the town's income.
The population of the town of Shrewsbury is approx 72,000 although the population of the borough is higher, at just under 96'000. The A5, A53, A49 and 5 railway lines connect the town to most corners of Shropshire and the town is regarded as the "Gateway to Wales", which is certainly true for those travelling from the West Midlands connurbation to the Principality. In 2000 and again in 2002, Shrewsbury unsuccessfully applied for city status. The borough council is expected to apply for city status again, whenever the next round of cities are to be made (normally at a royal occassion).
Within the borough, but not part of the town of Shrewsbury, is the large village of Bayston Hill. This was once a much smaller village but has grown up to become a suburb of the town. It remains, however, a seperate entity to the town, with its own parish council, etc. Bayston Hill lies some 3 miles south of the town centre of Shrewsbury and on the A49 and near to the A5.
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” (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, Mardol, Frankwell, Roushill, Grope Lane, Gullet Passage, Murivance, The Dana, Portobello, Shoplatch and Bellstone.
Businesses of the same type tend to be located in the same area of streets in the town centre - banks and building societies on High Street and The Square; estate agents on Shoplatch and Barker Street; book shops around St Alkmund's Church; antiques and collectables on Princess Street; nightclubs and bars in the "west end" of the town; and clothing stores on Pride Hill and in the Darwin Shopping Centre. This happens not because of town planning by the borough or county councils, but because different parts of the town have a different feel and character.
In the centre of the town lies the The Quarry. 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 home to one of the largest and oldest horticultural events in the UK - the annual Shrewsbury Flower Show (Shrewsbury Flower Show website). 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 magnificent fireworks display at the end of each day. Some people dislike the fact that there is an admission charge to enter the park during the flower show, as there is usually no admission for entering the park.
The tourist information centre is at the Music Hall on The Square in the town centre. The three main museums are Rowley's House , Shrewsbury Castle (including the Shropshire Regimental Museum) and the Coleham Pumping Station. Also there is the art gallary at Rowley's House, the Gateway arts and drama centre and there are also various private gallaries and art shops around the town. The town is also noted for its antique shops as well as music specialists.
Shrewsbury School, a leading public school in the country, where Sir Philip Sydney, Charles Darwin, Michael Palin and Michael Heseltine were educated, is located on large commanding site ("Kingsland") just south of the town centre overlooking the loop of the Severn.
Park and Ride
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) (coloured orange), Oxon (to the west) (coloured brown) and Meole Brace (to the south) (coloured green). It is proposed that a fourth one be built to the east of the town, at either Emstrey or Preston . (See the "future" section below).
Shrewsbury is the administrative centre for both Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough and Shropshire County (which does not include the Telford and Wrekin borough, which is now a unitary authority). The County Council have their headquarters in the Shirehall, on Abbey Foregate and the Borough Council have their headquarters in the new Guildhall, on Frankwell Quay. The Borough Council have recently moved from their old Guildhall, "Newport House", which is on Dogpole (a street in the town centre). For an explaination of how the town (and its borough) is run, click here.
The town has many bridges, old and new, pedestrian, traffic and rail, which cross the River Severn and the Rea Brook. Here are listed the main ones, from upstream down:
Welsh Bridge - built in the 1790s to replace St George's Bridge
Porthill Bridge (see image above)
English Bridge - rebuilt in the 1930s, historically called "Stone Bridge"
The railway station at Shrewsbury is partially located above the River Severn too.
Shrewsbury won the West Midlands Capital of Enterprise award in 2004. The town has two expanding business parks - the Shrewsbury Business Park and the Battlefield Enterprise Park. There are many developments currently under construction in the town, mainly residential (the town is becoming a place where many commuters who travel to Telford, Wolverhampton and Birmingham live). The borough council has also recently added to this building activity in the town, by building the new Guildhall and the council is planning on building a large new theatre in Frankwell, a new livestock market at Battlefield and a sports village in Sundorne.
The town centre has two large indoor shopping centres - the 'Pride Hill' and 'Charles Darwin' centres - and the company which owns them has announced plans to expand these two and link them together. Plans for the first phase of this work were approved by the borough council on the 1st February 2005. The approved scheme was for a new 6 storey building to be built on what is currently a surface car park, which will include a night club, fitness centre and centre management offices at the top.
OFCOM have recently announced that a radio broadcasting license will be granted for a new radio station for the Shrewsbury area. It is likely to be called Shrewsbury FM and will begin broadcasting around Summer 2006.
A new Park and Ride car park site is proposed for either Preston or Emstrey , to the east of the town. Alternatively, a new railway station, to be known as "Shrewsbury Parkway", could be built at the Preston location, for commuters going out of Shrewsbury towards Telford and Wolverhampton as well as people travelling into town. As of present, plans are only at an early stage.
Suburbs of the town
Suburbs and districts surrounding the town centre:
Ditherington - location of the first iron framed building in the world
Sundorne - location of the Shrewsbury Sports Village (under construction)
Harlescott - location of the Shrewsbury Sunday Market
Battlefield - site of the Battle of Shrewsbury 1403
- Charles Darwin, son of Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, at The Mount House.
- Robert Clive ("Clive of India") was Mayor and Member of Parliament for Shrewsbury.
- John Gwynn, architect (1713-1786), was born and died in Shrewsbury. The town's English Bridge and the bridge at Atcham were both designed by him.
- The 80s pop group T'Pau came from Shrewsbury.
Thc character William of Baskerville (played by Sean Connery in the movie) in the Umberto Eco book The Name of the Rose was from Shrewsbury.
- Shrewsbury Photograph Album
- Shrewsbury Aerial Photos
- Shrewsbury Guide
- Shrewsbury Forum
- Official STFC Web Site
In 2004, the local football team, Shrewsbury Town F.C., were promoted to the Football League Division 3 (now called League 2) from the Nationwide Conference. They were in the Conference for just one year and became the first team in 10 years to bounce straight back up just one year after relegation.
Crest and motto
Floreat Salopia - latin; "may Salop flourish" (Salop can mean both Shrewsbury and Shropshire)
This crest is that of the borough of Shrewsbury and Atcham - Shrewsbury's town crest is the same but without the bridge (which is the Atcham Bridge). Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury and Atcham, Shrewsbury Town FC and Shropshire all use the same loggerheads and motto.
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