infobox UK place
country = England
latitude= 52.6766
longitude= -2.4469
official_name= Telford
population = 138,241
unitary_england= Telford and Wrekin
lieutenancy_england= Shropshire
region= West Midlands
constituency_westminster= Telford
constituency_westminster1= The Wrekin
post_town= TELFORD
postcode_district = TF1–4, TF7, TF8
postcode_area= TF
dial_code= 01952
os_grid_reference= SJ698088
london_distance= 140 mi (225 km) SE

static_image_caption=The Town Centre viewed from the western end of Telford Shopping Centre, with the blue Telford Plaza buildings in the distance.

"Telford" (Audio|en-uk-Telford.ogg|pronunciation; IPAEng|ˈtɛlfɚd) is a large new town in the borough of Telford and Wrekin and ceremonial county of Shropshire, England, approximately convert|13|mi|km east of Shrewsbury, and convert|30|mi|km west of Birmingham.cite web|url=|title=Telford - A Unique New Town|publisher=Transforming Telford|accessdate=2008-03-22] With a population of 138,241 people (2001 census), and a projected population growth within the next 20 years to over 200,000, Telford is by far the largest town in Shropshire, and one of the fastest growing towns in the United Kingdom. [cite web|url=|title=Telford Town Centre|accessdate=2007-10-02]

It is named after Thomas Telford, civil engineer. The town was built in the 1960s and 1970s as a new town on industrial and agricultural land. Like other planned towns of the era, Telford was created from the merger of other, smaller settlements, most notably the towns of Wellington, Oakengates, Madeley and Dawley. Telford Shopping Centre, a modern shopping mall, was constructed at the new town's centre, along with an extensive Town Park. The M54 motorway was completed in 1983, connecting the town with the West Midlands conurbation, improving the transport infrastructure between Telford's component settlements.cite web|url=|title=M54, The Telford Motorway|work=The Motorway Archive|accessdate=2008-04-18]

Telford incorporates the northern half of Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town advertises itself as "The Birthplace of Industry", due to its proximity to Coalbrookdale, though this is disputed by many (See Michael Raven "A Shropshire Gazeteer") and seen as an inaccurate claim. Ironbridge played little part in the Industrial Revolution. Most of the activity took place in Coalbrookdale, Horsehay and other places on the Shropshire coalfield. The River Severn, one of the most important rivers in Britain, flows along its southernmost boundary. This was an early trade route to Bristol and the English Channel and was a significant factor in industry's success in the nineteenth century.


Early history

Early settlement in the area was thought to be on the land that sloped up from the Weald Moors (an area north of the town centre) towards the line along which the Roman Watling Street was built. Farmland surrounded three large estates in the tenth century, namely Wellington, Wrockwardine and Lilleshall. From the 13th century there was urban development in Wellington and Madeley, where Wenlock Priory founded a new town. Six monastic houses, founded in the 11th and 12th centuries, had large interests in the area's economic growth. They collectively acquired almost half of the area, and profited from coal and ironstone mines and iron smithies on their estates. cite web|url=|title=History of Telford|work=British History Online|accessdate=2008-03-21]

Modern history

The New Town was first designated on January 16, 1963 as Dawley New Town, covering 9,100 acres (37 km²) of Dawley, Wenlock, Oakengates, Wellington Rural District and Shifnal Rural District. ["London Gazette". 18 January 1963.] Development started, guided by the Dawley New Town Development Corporation, with people moving into the new Sutton Hill estate in 1967/1968.

The Minister proposed an extension of 12,000 acres (49 km²) in 1968 (taking in the historic area of Ironbridge Gorge), which saw objections and a public inquiry take place. The "Dawley New Town (Designation) Amendment (Telford) Order" was made on November 29, 1968, extending the New Town area by 10,143 acres (41 km²) of "land lying within the urban districts of Oakengates and Wellington and the rural districts of Shifnal and Wellington". ["London Gazette". 13 December 1963.] This Order also renamed the new town Telford, after the Scottish-born civil engineer Thomas Telford who, in 1787, became Surveyor of Public Works for Shropshire. Other suggested names at the time were Dawelloak and Wrekin Forest City.

Most of the infrastructure was constructed from the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s with the major housing and commercial development occurring over three decades up to the early 1990s when the Development Corporation was wound up to be replaced by Commission for the New Towns, later English Partnerships, and most of the property was handed over to the then Wrekin District Council. In 1983, after fierce opposition and three public enquiriesFact|date=March 2008, the M54 motorway was completed, connecting the town to the M6 and thence the rest of the UK's motorway network. Other major roads are the A5, A518 and A442, which is commonly known as the Eastern Primary or "EP", and is officially branded "Queensway".

In 2007, a £250 million regeneration plan for the town centre was announced, which will include the pedestrianisation of the road surrounding the shopping centre, and the creation of new cafés, bars and shops which will lead to 1,750 new jobs. [cite web|url=|title=BBC Shropshire - Redevelopment scheme unveiled|accessdate=2007-10-19] The reason for this expansion is that the original "centre" was only ever a shopping place with no real heart (See Shropshire Star June 3rd 2004). Since the "centre" closed at six o clock, there was no night life at all in the area and no entertainment. The only major entertainment facility being in Oakengates, where there is a theatre.


Telford town centre lies approximately convert|21|km|mi east/south-east of Shrewsbury and convert|24|km|mi north-west of Wolverhampton. The town comprises 7,803 hectares and its southern and eastern parts, between the Severn Gorge and Donnington Wood, include the east Shropshire coalfield. North and north-west Telford lie beyond the coalfield's boundary fault on sandstone beds which, along with other Triassic formations, prevail over much of the North Shropshire plain. The town centre stands on a watershed, with land to the south draining towards the River Severn, and to the north the land slopes gently down towards the Weald Moors. The town is dominated by the Wrekin, a broad but relatively small hill located south-west of Wellington, straddling the border with the borough of Shrewsbury and Atcham.


The climate of Telford is similar to that of the rest of Shropshire, generally moderate with plentiful precipitation year round.

The nearest weather station is located at Shawbury.

Shawbury weatherbox


:"For more information on Parish divisions, see list of civil parishes in Shropshire."Within the borough of Telford & Wrekin, the town is entirely parished. Telford has no single town council because of this, and the Mayor of the Borough of Telford and Wrekin is also "de facto" the town's mayor. The town is also divided into Wards, within the Telford and Wrekin borough. These are used for electoral purposes and demographic surveys. Telford was created politically - but its attempts to make a cohesive town from the fusion of other independent, smaller towns; Wellington, Madeley, Hadley, Oakengates, Dawley, Ironbridge, Shifnal and Donnington have largely failed. As a result of this, the town has much clearer divisions than in other older towns, such as nearby Shrewsbury, which have developed into one consolidated urban area over time. Some small settlements to the south, such as a part of Ironbridge and Broseley, while part of the Telford Urban Area, are administered by Bridgnorth Borough Council.

Telford is the only settlement within the Telford parliamentary constituency, although some suburbs, such as Wellington, are located in The Wrekin, a neighbouring constituency. Telford has been held by Labour since its creation in 1997, and the current MP is David Wright. The neighbouring Wrekin constituency has varying support between the Conservatives and Labour, due to its mix of rural and urban (Newport) areas. It is currently held by the Conservatives however, under MP Mark Pritchard. Telford is administratively part of the West Midlands region.


In 1963 Dawley new town was intended to take 50,000 people from the West Midlands conurbation [Dept. of Econ. Affairs, The W. Midlands: a regional study (1965), 3-4, 84.] and so to grow to a town of 70,000 or more. By 1968 Telford was intended to take an additional 50,000 and grow to a town of 220,000 or more by 1991. By 1983, however, Telford's population was just under 108,000, and it was generally thought that it might not reach 120,000 by the late 1980s.

With 138,241 inhabitants in 2001, Telford is now the largest town in Shropshire, and 39th largest settlement in England, although it missed the original target of 250,000 by the year 2000. Town planners now hope to drastically expand the town over the next 14 years, again hoping to reach a 250,000 population by 2020. There are concerns, however, that the local infrastructure will not accommodate such a large influx of people.Fact|date=March 2008

Telford has a younger than average population, and a higher rate of teenage pregnancy than the national average, as well as relatively high levels of income deprivation with 15% of residents living in low income households. In addition the level of statutorily homeless households in 2004/05 was above average for England. [ [ Association of Public Health Observatories - Health Profiles ] ] There are several severely deprived wards in the town centre area. Areas such as Donnington, Woodside and Malinslee are the most deprived, while, in contrast, areas on the periphery experience relative affluence, such as Lawley and Priorslee. There is a notable rural/urban divide; in the surrounding rural areas of Telford, such as the wards of Wrockwardine, and Shawbirch, there is a large percentage of relatively wealthy families and individuals. [ [ Association of Public Health Observatories - Health Profiles ] ] The Telford and Wrekin area is a popular commuter zone, containing some relatively rural areas in the North and West of the borough. These are popular with commuters to the West Midlands conurbation, due to the good transport links provided by the A5/M54.

Telford's population is ethnically White, comprising 93.8% of the population. The next largest ethnic group is those of Asian descent, comprising 3.3% of the population, which is again less than the West Midlands at 8.0%, and England at 5.3%. [cite web|url=|title=Neighbourhood Statistics - Telford & Wrekin|accessdate=2008-03-10] However, the town and borough remains comparatively more ethnically diverse than the ceremonial county, with South Shropshire for example being 97.8% white. [cite web|url=|title=Neighbourhood Statistics - South Shropshire|accessdate=2008-03-10]


During the economic crisis of the late 1960s unemployment in the town was high. However, in 1967 Halesfield Industrial Estate was founded on the south-eastern edge of the town. Other large estates followed, in 1973 with Stafford Park just east of the town centre and in 1979 with Hortonwood, to the north. In total, half a million square metres of factory space were provided between 1968 and 1983, making Telford an attractive investment area. [Private inf.; Thomas, 'Telford', 36-7; Fenter, 'Bldg. Development in Telford'; Reps. of Dev. Corporations 31 Mar. 1969, H.C. 398, pp. 469-70 (1968-9), xliii; 31 Mar. 1983, H.C. 81, p. 317 (1982-3); Town Planning Rev. xliii. 360 n. 52.] By 1976, Telford had begun to recruit industry from the U.S.A., Europe, and Japan. The foreign firms required larger factories, and they began to be built at Stafford Park. By 1983 over 2,000 jobs in Telford were provided by around 40 (mostly American) foreign companies. [The Times, 24 Nov. 1983 (p. 22).] In contrast to industry in the Black County at the time, these new companies focused on high-technology industries rather than the heavy and metal-finishing industries. [Reps. of Dev. Corporations 31 Mar. 1983, 309.]

The new arrivals included the American company Unimation and three firms from Japan: Nikon U.K. Ltd., which opened a warehouse at Halesfield in 1983; [T.D.C. Telford Ind. Dir. [c. 1979] , 28.] video tape manufacturers Hitachi Maxell at Apley Castle in 1983; [ Shropshire Star, 12 Nov. 1983 (p. 3).] and office equipment manufacturers Ricoh, who took a 22 acre site for a factory at Priorslee next to the M54, and formed the first in Telford's new enterprise zone. [ Shropshire Star, 24 Oct. 1983 (pp. 1, 6)] [Shropshire Star, 16 Nov. 1982; 2 Dec. 1983 (p. 16)]

Consequently, from the later 1970s, Telford began to attract high-technology firms and to diversify its industry, and the promotion of the Service industry also began to prosper, in the Telford Town Centre area. However, a deepening national recession meant that, despite the creation of new jobs, there were net job losses from 1979. Unemployment grew from 3.4 per cent in 1969 to over 8 per cent in 1972 and 22.3 per cent in 1983; long-term unemployment rose even faster. Nevertheless the rate of increase in unemployment was slowing down by 1983 and was making some progress against national and regional trends. [N. Staffs. Jnl. Field Studies, xiii. 78; Telford Development Strategy: 6th Monitoring Rep. (T.D.C. 1983), 8-12, 22-8; B. Trinder, Hist. Salop. (1983), 121; Shropshire Star, 10 Mar. 1982.]

Telford has attracted several large IT services companies, including EDS who support the MOD contract from the Euston Park site, as well as a vast array of clients across the world from the Plaza building. Also Capgemini and Fujitsu employ a significant number of staff in the area, mainly supporting their HM Revenue & Customs client.

In recent times there has been significant job losses, with the movement of 500 Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) jobs at the MOD base at Sapphire House, Telford, to Bristol. The closure of the local sugar beet factory at Allscott in 2007 is another recent example.


The commercial centre of the town is the aptly named Telford Town Centre, located off Junction 5 of the M54 motorway. It is home to the administrative headquarters of Telford & Wrekin council, the large Telford Shopping Centre (and the accompanying Town Park), various office blocks, such as the blue office towers ("Telford Plaza"), and the "Windsor Life" building. "The Forge" retail park and a large Odeon Cinema are also located in the area, as well as Thomas Telford School, which is within walking distance. Telford also houses one of the Midlands only ice skating rinks near the newly built Telford International Centre (TIC). The TIC comprises of a number of hall and event spaces. It holds parties, conferences, concerts and is the current home of the UK Snooker Championship in December.

A major Shropshire landmark, also now part of Telford, is The Iron Bridge, located in Ironbridge. It was the first bridge of its size in the world made out of cast iron. In the same area is the Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The most important landmark in the area is The Wrekin. There is also the Lilleshall Monument erected to The Duke of Sutherland, which has recently been restored.


Telford has a number of primary and secondary schools. Of particular notability is Thomas Telford School, a City Technology College (CTC), which claims to have a 100% pass rate at GCSE level, with all students achieving at least 4 GCSE's grades A*-C, [ [ Balance is the key to Telford's triumph - Times Online ] ] placing it at number one in the entire country for Key Stage 4 attainment. The Abraham Darby Specialist School For The Performing Arts provides specialist performing arts education and is home to one of the UK's best school concert bands which has performed at prestigious venues such as Birmingham Symphony Hall, Royal Festival Hall London, Royal Albert Hall and also Carnegie Hall, New York.

Further education is handled by Telford College of Arts and Technology (TCAT) and Telford New College, a sixth-form college located in Wellington. There are two other sixth forms located in the Blessed Robert Johnson Catholic School (The Oscar Romero sixth form centre) and Thomas Telford School. Adams' Grammar School is a selective school located in nearby Newport.Fact|date=June 2008

Telford is also home to The University of Wolverhampton Business School (UWBS) campus and the School of the Built Environment.

Madeley Academy is a sport college and a building will be built and opened for September 2009.


Telford is situated at the terminus of the M54 motorway, a spur of the M6 linking the town with Wolverhampton and the West Midlands, and on the A5 road between Shrewsbury and Cannock. The town also has three railway stations: Wellington, Oakengates and Telford Central, which are on the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton Line. In addition, there are two further stations, Spring Village and Horsehay & Dawley, at Telford Steam Railway, situated at Horsehay. A new direct train service to London was launched by Wrexham & Shropshire in 2008, a key boost for the local business community.

Telford's rapidly growing population still has a relatively low car ownership. In 2004 Telford & Wrekin council was awarded 'Beacon Status' for improving access to public transport. [ [ Department for Transport - Better local public transport ] ] Being a new town with a planned transport infrastructure, the town features relatively few traffic problems, in comparison to the urban areas of Birmingham or medieval streets of Shrewsbury. [ [ BBC - Shropshire - Travel - The road ahead ] ] The M54 removes all through-traffic from local roads, and the A442 Queensway acts as a north-south artery road.


Telford is home to a variety of established amateur, semi-pro and professional sports clubs.
AFC Telford United Football Club are currently playing in Conference North, and their current manager is Rob Smith. AFC Telford's achievements include Best Shropshire Senior Cup Performance: Final - 3 Times, and Promotion to Conference North in 2007, after beating Witton Albion in the play-offs 3-1.

Ice Hockey in the town is represented by the semi-professional Telford Tigers, an EPL Premier Team, enjoying game attendance at Telford Ice Rink of approximately 500 supporters. Telford Tigers ENL an ENL Team represents development hockey feeding from the excellent youth development through to the senior EPL team.

There have been many American football teams in the town, although presently Shropshire Revolution a British American Football League, founded in 2006, is the ony club in the town and the county of Shropshire. Previous clubs include Wrekin Giants (1985-1989), Shropshire Giants (1989), and Cannock Chase Giants (1989-1993/4).

Rugby clubs include Telford Raiders, Telford Hornets, and the Shropshire Scorpions.

Closest cities, towns and villages

hub = Telford
type= ex
NN = Market Drayton
NE = Lilleshall, Newport, Stafford
EE = Shifnal, Albrighton, Cannock
SE = Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley, West Bromwich, Birmingham
SS = Broseley, Bridgnorth
SW = Much Wenlock, Church Stretton
WW = Shrewsbury
NW = Shawbury, Wem

ee also

*Telford (UK Parliament constituency) - Constituency of Telford.
*The Wrekin (UK Parliament constituency) - Constituency for The Wrekin area.
*Telford Shopping Centre, a large indoor shopping mall located in the Town Centre.
*The Wrekin, a prominent elevation overlooking the town, located in the west near Wellington.
*AFC Telford United, Telford's local football team, reformed in 2004 on the bankruptcy of the original club.
*Telford Tigers, Telford's local Ice Hockey team.
*Telford FM, Telford & Wrekin's local radio station


External links

* [ Ironbridge Gorge Museums]
* [ Official Tourism Website for Ironbridge & Telford]
* [ Telford Photos]

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