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Shrewsbury is my Hometown!
Shrewsbury in General
Member Name: MrChilliWillie
Shrewsbury in General
Date: 24/10/04, updated on 08/01/05 (2773 review reads)
This review is part of the HOMETOWN challenge where members are asked to write about any aspect of their home town - or a town they'd like/not like to be their home town. You can find all the participants by going to: http://www.dooyoo.co.uk /internet/internet_sites/dooyoo_co_uk_in_general/_ review/426988/
As many of you know, Proxam has set up a hometown challenge to anyone on dooyoo who wishes to participate and this is a review of my home town, Shrewsbury. The rules of the challenge are apparently non existent, all you have to do is write a review you consider as a hometown and include the latter paragraph (see above?) in your review. Well, here it goes.
~ Why Shrewsbury? ~
Shrewsbury was the place I considered as a hometown; I lived in it my entire life and was full of sorrow when I departed from it a couple of months back. It was an emotional move as my life’s memories are compiled in this one, little town, I can no longer refer to it as my home.
~ Location ~
Shrewsbury is found in Shropshire, England and for those who don’t know where Shropshire is, it’s in the South West Region of England, bordering Wales. Shrewsbury is situated on the River Severn, one of the longest rivers in Britain and specifically built (the town, not the river) there for a purpose (of which we’ll delve into later).
Shropshire is a rather unknown county next to Staffordshire and an hour’s drive from Birmingham. It’s an easy location to get to if you’re anywhere in the Midlands, well worth the occasional visit even if it is just a daytrip, a life wouldn’t be complete without visiting this tranquil town. It has history, beautiful surrounding countryside, plenty of shops, restaurants and Café’s as well as many leisure advantages, what more is needed?
~ How to get into Shrewsbury ~
There are many options you could choose of getting to Shrewsbury. There are the park and ride buses active all day round, car, train, taxi and so forth. On a busy day I would preferably use a park and ride bus with a £1 fare, as it saves going through congested streets trying to find a parking space.
~ History ~
I couldn’t do a review of Shrewsbury without dedicating a paragraph or so to history as the town is famous for its medieval past. Built on a gentle hill, the town’s tactical positioning was due to warfare advantages. It’s constructed on the inside of the River Severns oxbow feature, giving it a perfect position of defence.
The river loops completely around the town except for a short stretch of land that denies it the characteristics of being an island. As you can imagine, if under attack it would provide an immaculate stronghold against enemy armies and this was very important in its day.
Roger de Montgomery, a loyal friend to William the Conqueror, a Baron in the 11th century, was given the region under his caring and developed it from a military stronghold to a town like status that remains nowadays. At this day, he is buried in one of the town’s most historical sites, The Abbey (the town’s cathedral).
Also worth mentioning, Charles Darwin (the man who set out to prove the theory of evolution) lived and grew up in this town. He was schooled at Shrewsbury school and I’m proud to say he actually lived a couple of houses down the road to where I used to live.
The name Shrewsbury evolved over time and was once Salopsbury, hence the term *salopian.
*A person referred to as a salopian is someone living in Shrewsbury. We call people who live in America, Americans and thus people who live in Shrewsbury, salopians.
~ General Information about Shrewsbury ~
The town’s occupants in the historic ages were vast, ranging from Romans to Anglo Saxons to Normans. The Medieval occupants (Tudor England) are most evident as they left behind their black and white (“magpie”) timber houses and narrow streets and alleyways. These historic houses can be found on every corner, leaning crazily at inappropriate angles, just about ready to collapse. There are over 660 listed in Shrewsbury alone.
The Streets are just as historic, named after their original uses if you get my drift. This includes Fish Street (the place to go to buy fish) and Butcher Row (to buy meat), just two of the countless names.
~ Places to visit ~
The Benedictine Abbey was built on an old Anglo Saxon Church in the year of 1083, by Roger de Montgomery. It was home to many monks as a home for Prayer and thought. The abbey is magnificently decorated with dynamic stain glass windows, encrypted with some beautiful colours among with the usual splendid sights seen in any Catholic Cathedral. The mahogany pews are all hand crafted out of fine wood and expertise.
Outside is a graveyard, lined with beautiful flowerbeds full of Roses, lilies, Tulips and many more that my knowledge does not know the names of. Currently, the Abbey is being restored as some of the stone outside has toppled over; I do not know when it will be finished.
~ ~ ~
The castle is another historic place of Shrewsbury. Built again by roger de Montgomery, the founder of Shrewsbury, the Castle has a red sandstone façade and again was originally an Anglo Saxon fortification. It has beautifully kept lawns and gardens, the groundsmen do a superb job of keeping the grounds neat and tidy.
Constructed on a narrow stretch of land on the highest point of Shrewsbury, it had the ever growing need of Defence and worked as an ideal lookout. Miles of Shropshire could be seen in a 360o view that overlooks the town and on-marching armies would be spotted legions away.
The castle has undergone many alterations over the many centuries, this includes when under the reign of Edward I as he completely rebuilt the structure to make it stronger. Again, some of it was demolished during the Civil war, but then repaired by Thomas Telford. More recently, the castle has undergone one of its darker moments of history. The IRA planted a fire bomb in the Regimental Museum completely destroying it, thankfully, no one was killed.
~ ~ ~
Shrewsbury school is also worth mentioning. The oldest school in the county and one of the most well known, it’s famous for educating the likes of Charles Darwin (as mentioned before) and many more. The school’s really aimed for those richer parents who can afford to send their children to this boarding school, especially if expecting their child to board (£7000 for boarders). The school owns 150 acres of beautiful land and can serve as a lovely walk, positioned just by the River Severn, overlooking the town.
~ ~ ~
Pride Hill is one of the oldest streets in Shrewsbury and home to the towns’ prime shopping territory. The cobbled street is on a gradual slope and can provide quite an exercise if attempting to run up it, but the hard work pays of because there’s a Burger King awaiting you after the ascent to buckle the lost calories back on. Pigeons are normally found clustered on Pride Hill due to the extent of food available from hungry people and they take advantage of the many catering services available. This street cannot be missed because it’s packed with history, as well as the shops.
~ ~ ~
The towns’ main Park is called the Quarry and serves many uses. At the top of the park is a leisure centre while down nearer the river is a kid’s playground to amuse younger ones. In August the parks acres serve as the “flower show”, a popular event to cater for everyone’s likes. It has performances from all different acts, food catering, flower stalls, and craft stalls with sweet shops and general entertainment. At the end of each night of the flower show, magnificent fireworks take place and the whole town congregates in the park to view these special events, its magical. This also provides a lovely walk, I normally walked home through town and then down through the Quarry, there’s nature and history all around you.
The dingle owns itself an acre or so of the park because it is a floral enclosure. Made famous by Percy Thrower who was superintendent of the Dingle for 28 years, the floral area lays host to many spectacular flowers, ranging from Lavender to Orchids to Daffodils. The Dingle is encircled by a large hedge that isolates the Dingle from the park, inside is a large pond with friendly ducks and geese. Benches are positioned around the park and it really is lovely to sit, reading a book for an hour or two in the summer, watching the flowers bloom.
~ ~ ~
St. Chad’s church, another building overlooking the quarry is the oldest and most historically elegant church I think I have ever visited. It has existed for over 1000 years and was originally built in the centre of town until its main tower collapsed destroying the church. Over years of debate and controversy, the old site was discarded and the church moved to its new premises. The new construction included a 150ft tower and a circular design with a diameter of 100ft, one of the most original designs I have yet seen, a spectacular church.
~ ~ ~
The town square is a heavy rock structure built about 500 years ago. Now a renovated cinema, it used to be used on a Sunday morning as a market space where salopians from all over would come to sell goods. This starred as a big role in a latest edition of scrooge’s “A Christmas Carol”, as did most of Shrewsbury.
~ ~ ~
Well, those are the main places to visit while in Shrewsbury, the Town’s most “exciting” locations.
~ Shopping ~
Shrewsbury plays host to an endless array of shops, café’s, restaurants, bars, pubs or anything else you may be into. The prime shopping territory being Pride Hill, focuses at all customer demands. There’s a Marks and Spencer, WHSmith, Woolworths, various phone shops, MacDonald’s, Post Office and a Burger King, that being a small majority of the outlets available.
There are two Shopping Centres on Pride Hill, my favourite being Darwin centre, providing shop relief from Pride hill’s compact space. It has a JJB sports shop; T.K. Maxx., Gadget Shop, Dixon’s, and fashionable clothe shops to name a few.
"The parade" is the other Shopping mall but I find it a bit dull, focused at older ages. It sells crafts and collectibles but sometimes I give it the occasional roam.
Pride hill isn’t the only place for shops. Clustered around different parts of the town are a Toy’s R’ Us shop, Waterstones, Antique retailers, Art shops and furniture stores, all you have to do is look around to find the real gems.
~ Nightlife ~
Shrewsbury isn’t just a sweet, historical town – it knows how to party! Well, maybe.
Just on the outside of town is the Frankwell area where town’s night life is situated. It has “Flares”, a tacky chain disco that you can “boogie on down to” if you want a night out on the town. Unfortunately, it’s a dismal attempt to be “cool” and attempts a retro attitude that fails miserably. If you’re young and just out for a bit of fun with some mates it could be just right., If you’re a bit more mature and just looking for a place where you can hang out, have a drink with some friend’s and talk, this is the worst place imaginable.
Just next door is “Bar Med”, I haven’t actually been in here but it looks quite trendy. A new development, this takes on a modern approach with style and class. This seems a better place to relax in with large sofas and lounges, generally a comfier environment to be in while having a drink.
Around the Frankwell area are bars and clubs, open to early hours, some popular and thriving with business and others not so well known but quieter. I personally tend to like “night out’s” quieter, away from all the noise and action but others may disagree, Shrewsbury has the options to suit anyone’s tastes.
~ Final Opinion ~
Whether it’s a night out on the town, a peaceful walk, shopping needs, entertainment, just interested visit, Shrewsbury can provide. Its fun, friendly, clean, tidy and generally a charming atmosphere, a perfect day out in a perfect town. (The council even put in an effort to make it lovely too!)
This is my hometown, what’s yours?