Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Status:||Ceremonial & (smaller) Administrative County|
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
- Total (2002 est.)
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
128 / km²
Badge of Shropshire County Council
|Shropshire County Council|
|Executive:||Labour & Liberal Democrat & Independents|
|MPs:||Peter Bradley, Matthew Green, Paul Marsden, Owen Paterson, David Wright|
Shropshire (abbreviated Salop or Salops) is a county in the West Midlands of England, bordering Cheshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, and the Welsh preserved counties of Powys and Clwyd.
Shropshire is one of England's most rural counties. The county town is Shrewsbury, although the new town of Telford is the largest town. Also in this rural county is Coalbrookdale, where the Industrial Revolution started, Ironbridge, where the world's first iron bridge was constructed and Ditherington, where the world's first iron framed building was built. (See the "cradle of industry" section below).
The ceremonial county of Shropshire is now split up into the administrative county of Shropshire and the unitary authority of Telford and Wrekin borough. Shropshire, the administrative county, is then split up into five districts - Shrewsbury and Atcham borough, Oswestry borough, North Shropshire district, South Shropshire district and Bridgnorth district. The administrative county is then further sub-divided into parishes, except for the town of Shrewsbury. The area covered by the ceremonial county has not changed for centuries (other than the removal of several exclaves in other counties) - see traditional counties of England.
A 2005 estimate of the population of the administrative county of Shropshire was put at 286'400 - making the county the smallest two-tier administration in England.
The county was called Salop in legal documents for some centuries, a name deriving from 'Salopesbiry', an older name for the county town, Shrewsbury. When a council for the county was set up in 1888, it was called 'Salop County Council'. The name was never popular, and the council renamed itself 'Shropshire County Council' in 1980. However, the term "Salopian", derived from "Salop", is still used to mean "from Shropshire".
Cradle of Industry
Quite why this remote, rural county on the Welsh border became the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution is mystifying to many people. The reason, however, is Shropshire's diverse geology. Shropshire is the geological "capital" of the UK, as just about every rock type in Northern Europe is found within its borders, as are coal, lead, copper and iron ore deposits. In addition to this, the River Severn flows through the county and has been used for the transportation of goods and services for centuries.
Geographically, Shropshire is divisible into several distinct areas:
- The North Shropshire Plain is an extension of the flat and fertile Cheshire Gap . Traditionally, the economy of the area depended on agriculture (and some small scale ore fields around Wem) although recently a growing number of commuters have moved to the area.
- The area around Oswestry, also in Northern Shropshire, has more rugged geography than the North Shropshire Plain, and although farming was traditionally important in the eastern half of the area, the Western half is an extension of the Wrexham Coalfield and there are also copper deposits on the border with Wales.
- Central Shropshire is a farming area, but has more varied terrain than northern Shropshire, as the River Severn has shaped the landscape and economy of the area.
- Shrewsbury is a large market town in the centre of the county, and has traditionally been regarded with suspicion, often hostility, by the rest of the county, particularly by the inhabitants of the very rural South West (although since the 1960s that hostility has been diverted toward Telford). Shrewsbury itself is a polarised town, with a very affluent district around Copthorne, which contrasts sharply with the poorer suburbs of Bayston Hill, Castlefields , Ditherington and Harlescott.
- Telford and Wrekin Unitary Authority is in the east of the county, and is the county's industrial core. Telford's rapid expansion has changed the character of the region dramatically since the 1960s. Despite their relatively recent arrival, large areas of Telford are economically deprived and already in need of regeneration. However, this region is the cradle of the Industrial Revolution is also Shropshire's major tourist destination.
- South East Shropshire contains a relatively large town, Bridgnorth, fertile farmland in the Severn Valley and ex-mining communities in the Wyre Forest Coalfield (Highley , Alveley and the Stottesden area) and around Broseley (part of the Wrekin Coalfield).
- South Shropshire is the other part of the county that tourists come to visit: the views are stunning and the area around Church Stretton is known as "Little Switzerland". It includes the ancient town of Ludlow, old mining communities on the Clee Hills , notable geological features in the Onny Valley and Wenlock Edge and fertile farmland in the Corve Dale . The River Teme drains this part of the county, before flowing into Worcestershire to the South.
- South West Shropshire, or simply "Clun", is a little known and remote part of the county, with Clun Forest, Offa's Dyke and the River Clun. The small towns of Clun and Bishop's Castle are in this area. The countryside here is very rural and is in parts wild and forested. To the South of Clun is the Welsh town of Knighton.
Towns and villages
- All Stretton, Alveley, Anchor, Atcham, Aston on Clun, Albrighton
- Baschurch, Bayston Hill, Bishop's Castle, Bridgnorth, Broseley, Bomere Heath, Broome
- Coalbrookdale, Church Stretton, Cleobury Mortimer, Clun, Clunton, Cressage, Craven Arms, Condover, Cosford
- Dawley, Dorrington
- Edgmond, Ellesmere
- High Ercall, Hodnet
- Ludlow, Little Stretton, Lilleshall , Longden
- Market Drayton, Minsterley, Much Wenlock, Myddle
- Newcastle (on Clun), Newport, Nesscliffe
- Pontesbury, Prees, Purslow
- Ratlinghope, Ruyton-XI-Towns
- Shawbury, Shifnal, Shrewsbury, Snailbeach, Stiperstones
- Telford, Ticklerton
- Westbury, Wem, Whitchurch, Woore, Wroxeter
Places of interest
- Attingham Park, (Atcham)
- Blists Hill, (preserved 19th century industrial/victorian age community)
- Boscobel House, (on border with Staffordshire)
- Brown Clee Hill, (highest peak in Shropshire)
- Burford House
- Caer Caradoc , (near Church Stretton)
- Cardingmill Valley , (Church Stretton)
- Haughmond Hill, (forest park on the edge of Shrewsbury with the medieval Haughmond Abbey ruins)
- Hawkstone Park, (large rural park and follies in north Shropshire)
- Hopton Castle , (scene of a Civil War massacre)
- The Ironbridge, (the worlds first iron bridge)
- Langley Chapel
- The Long Mynd, (means "long mountain", overlooks Church Stretton)
- Ludlow Castle
- Mitchells Fold , (a bronze age stone circle)
- Moreton Corbet Castle
- Offa's Dyke Path, a long distance footpath
- Shropshire Hills AONB
- Shropshire Union Canal
- Snailbeach, (a historic lead mining village)
- The Stiperstones, (mountainous ridge near Pontesbury, including the "Devil's Chair")
- Stokesay Castle
- Titterstone Clee Hill , (hill near Ludlow, ex-coalmining and famed for the unusual accent of the locals)
- Wenlock Edge, (a long wooded ridge and the geological capital of the UK)
- Whittington Castle
- Wroxeter, (a ruined Roman city and legionary fortress)
- Robert Clive "Clive of India"
- Lords and Ladies Craven (of Stokesay Castle)
- Abraham Darby
- Charles Darwin
- William Farr
- George Jeffreys of Wem, (infamous judge)
- Len Murray, (former head of the T.U.C)
- Wilfred Owen
- Edmund Plowden (1518-1585)—legal scholar and theorist
- Sir Edmund Plowden (1590-1659)—Proprietor, Earl Palatine and Governor of New Albion
- Barbara Pym
- T'Pau, pop group
- Sir Philip Sidney
- Mary Webb (1881-1927), authoress
- Matthew Webb, (first man to swim the English Channel)
- Billy Wright
List of MPs
As from 11 April, due to the Dissolution of Parliament the following will no longer be MPs
List of MPs after the 2001 General Election.
- Peter Bradley, Labour, The Wrekin (covering Telford and Wrekin district, minus the town of Telford, plus a small part of Bridgnorth district)
- David Wright, Labour, Telford
- Owen Paterson, Conservative, North Shropshire (covering the North Shropshire district and Oswestry borough)
- Matthew Green, Liberal Democrat, Ludlow (covering the South Shropshire and Bridgnorth districts)
- Paul Marsden, Labour+, Shrewsbury and Atcham
+Marsden was elected as a Labour member, but defected to the Liberal Democrats in 2001, over a disagreement over the military action in Afghanistan. He then defected back to the Labour party in 2005, just weeks before the general election.
- Secret Shropshire - Document archives relating to Shropshire are being made available online, over 10,000 images including maps, photographs of scenery, buildings, famous people and natural history, sketches, and writings.
- Shropshire Star - Local newspaper.
- BBC Shropshire history - BBC Shropshire's history page.
- Fords in Shropshire - Listing of all fords in Shropshire, including photos.
- Pubs in Shropshire - A growing database on the public houses of the county, from the Shropshire Star.
- Shropshire aerial photos - Fantastic website with many photos of places in Shropshire, taken from the air
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