Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about the town of Stafford, England. For other uses, see Stafford (disambiguation)
Stafford is the county town of Staffordshire in England. It lies in the north of the West Midlands region, between Wolverhampton and Stoke-on-Trent. The population of Stafford in 2001 was 60,049. The surrounding borough of Stafford has a population of about 120,000.
The town boasts a castle, a top-ranking house and a handful of historical and media notables.
Stafford means ford by a landing place. The original settlement was on an island in the middle of the marshes of the River Sow , a tributary of the Trent. There is still a large area of marshland adjacent to the town centre, which in both 1947 and 2000 saw floods. In the year 913 Stafford was fortified by Ethelfleda, daughter of Alfred the Great, to keep out the Danes. Stafford Castle was built on a nearby hilltop late in the 11th century. It has been rebuilt twice since but now only 19th century ruins remain atop the impressive earthworks. Night-time illumination creates a landmark for motorists on the M6 motorway, below. In the main shopping street, Greengate Street, lies the Elizabethan Ancient High House , the largest timber-framed town house in England.
Famous people from Stafford include the 17th century author of The Compleat Angler , Izaak Walton and the 18th century playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who was also the local MP. Also, the 1853 Lord Mayor of London, Thomas Sidney , was born in the town. More recently Stafford was the birthplace of Men Behaving Badly star Neil Morrissey and Freya Copeland of the soap Emmerdale and where stand-up comedian Dave Gorman was brought up. Author Storm Constantine is a long-time resident. Ozzy Osbourne lived nearby. In the early 1900s, the village of Great Haywood near Stafford was home to the wife of famous Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien. He stayed with his wife, Edith, in her cottage in the village during the winter of 1916, and the surrounding areas were said to be the inspiration for his early works.
A major activity in the town since 1903 has been heavy electrical engineering, particularly producing power station transformers, exported around the world. The works have been successively owned by Siemens, English Electric, GEC, GEC Alsthom, Alstom and most recently Areva. Every so often a delivery takes to the road. Each transformer weighs several hundred tons and so a sort of road train is used. The weight is spread by a 160-wheel cradle, pulled by an 8-wheel drive FAUN Goliath tractor unit and pushed by two more.
Stafford is home to a campus of Staffordshire University.
The Stafford knot
The North Staffordshire Railway was referred to as the Knotty after the knot.
- http://www.staffordbc.gov.uk/live/welcome.asp - Stafford Borough Council
- http://www.transportcafe.co.uk/britain22.html - Photos of the road train
- (11th century and earlier) Staffordshire Newsletter 1994 Guide
- Etymological list of counties of the United Kingdom
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