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The town of Telford is situated in the beautiful English county of Shropshire which is sandwiched between the urban sprawl of Birmingham and the West Midlands and the Welsh borders to the West. Telford has excellent road and rail links and sits conveniently on the British motorway network at the western end of the M54.
The town was created in the 1970’s when planners decided to construct so called ’New Towns’ to accomodate an ever expanding population. Essentially, a town boundary was established encompassing several small old towns and areas of derelict industrial land and other open space were earmarked for development. In the centre a modern enclosed shoping centre, similar to an American mall, was built and large estates of Corporation housing were constructed each with its own small centre comprising shops community facilities and other local ameneties. Similarly many thousands of private houses and several large industrial areas were established.
The town has continued to grow and develop and the population is now around 160,000. The large Corporation housing estates which proved to be unpopular with some local people have now been redeveloped to provide better living conditions for residents. The shopping centre has been expanded and extended several times and is now acknowleged as being one of the region’s leading retail sites, with numerous big name stores.
Public leisure facilities are excellent and include an ice rink, an athletics track, several swimming pools a dry ski slope and a huge centrally located park known as the Town Park which incorporates several pools, an amphitheatre outdoor arena and a small, childrens attraction.
Also in the Town Centre is the Telford International Centre which has over recent years become a major regional exhibition venue and attracts various exhibitions and sporting events.
It has to be said that the jewel in the crown of Telford, and the one thing alone which makes a visit worthwhile is the town of Ironbridge and its several museums which provide an insight into the industrial heritage of the area which is widely regrded to be the ’birthplace of industry’.
Sitting in a gorge, through which runs the River Severn (the longest river in the UK), lies Ironbridge. Here can be found the remains of furnaces and other ancient industrial artefacts where the so called Ironmasters began to produce iron on an industrial scale. This enabled construction on a level never before seen, and facilitated the building of an iron bridge over the river. The first ever bridge made of iron in the world. This still stands in its full glory proudly striding the river as the centre piece of the small town. Attractive and of massive significance. Certainly not the largest bridge and probably not the prettiest but arguably the clearest visible relic of how and where the developed industrial world as we now know it, began.
Around one mile downstream is the village of Coaport and its China Museum which records the history of the world renowned tableware and bone china products which bear it’s name. Sadly the brand is produced elsewhere these days.
A short distance from the China Museum is Blists Hill Museum. This is a working museum with exhibits from the Victorian era centered on a street comprising various buildings including shops and a pub depicting life as it was back in the 19th Century.
Although Telford is pretty unremarkable in its architecture it is most notable for it’s industrial heritage and indeed takes its name from one of the truly great British engineers - Thomas Telford. He was prolific in the field of construction and his work can be seen locally and further afield in some of the roads, bridges and other projects he was responsible for.
Wherever you might find yourself in the town of Telford you will never be more than a few miles from the beautiful Shropshire countryside and in particular the areas around the attractive towns of Ludlow, Much Wenlock and Church Stretton. Here you will be able to enjoy nature at its best, tranquil walks in undulating terrain and friendly rural pubs.
For more information on Telford and Shropshire contact www.shropshiretourism.co.uk