Telford /ˈtɛlfərd/ ( listen) is a large new town in the
Telford and Wrekin
Telford and Wrekin and ceremonial county of Shropshire,
England, about 13 miles (21 km) east of Shrewsbury, and 30 miles
(48 km) north west of Birmingham. With an estimated population
(for the borough) of 170,300 in 2010 and around 155,000 in Telford
Telford is the largest town in Shropshire, and one of the
fastest-growing towns in the United Kingdom.
It is named after civil engineer Thomas Telford, who engineered
many road and rail projects in Shropshire. The town was put together
in the 1960s and 1970s as a new town on previously industrial and
agricultural land and smaller towns. Like other planned towns of the
Telford was created from the merger of other, smaller
settlements, most notably the towns of Wellington, Oakengates, Madeley
and Dawley. Many of the New Town's newer inhabitants were originally
Birmingham or Wolverhampton.
Telford Shopping Centre, a modern shopping mall, was constructed at
the new town's geographical centre, along with an extensive Town Park.
M54 motorway was completed in 1983, improving the town's road
links with the West Midlands conurbation.
On Telford's southern boundaries is the
Ironbridge Gorge, a scenic
tourist destination and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town
advertises itself as "The Birthplace of Industry", due to it having
Coalbrookdale and other places in the
Ironbridge Gorge area, within
its boundary. These areas are internationally recognised as being
important to the Industrial Revolution, and being to a large extent
constructed on the
1.1 Early history
1.2 Modern history
9 Notable people
11 Closest cities, towns and villages
13 External links
Sunnycroft near Wellington
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 10th century, namely Wellington,
Wrockwardine and Lilleshall.
From the 13th century there was urban development in Wellington and
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
Beatties department store at the west end of
Centre, which was renamed
House of Fraser
House of Fraser in early 2007.
Telford Plaza in
Telford Town Centre.
The New Town was first designated on 16 January 1963 as
Town, covering 9,100 acres (37 km2) of Dawley, Wenlock,
Oakengates, Wellington Rural District and
Shifnal Rural District.
Development started, guided by the
Dawley New Town Development
Corporation, with the first homes on the new Sutton Hill housing
estate being occupied in 1967. Initial planning and design concepts
Dawley New Town were produced by the Birmingham-based John Madin
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 29
November 1968, extending the New Town area by 10,143 acres
(41.05 km2) of "land lying within the urban districts of
Oakengates and Wellington and the rural districts of
Wellington". 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.
Telford was now
25 years old and was firmly established as one of the most important
towns in the region.
In 1983, after fierce opposition and three public enquiries, 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.
Many of the new town's residents were originally from the West
Midlands conurbation, which includes Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Dudley
and Walsall. The vast majority of the council house tenants in Telford
were rehoused from inner city Birmingham. Some individuals still
refuse to put
Telford in their address, instead using the original
local name (such as Wellington or Dawley) and often citing the
existence of Town Councils as support for the argument "you can't live
in a town in a town," e.g. Wellington(Town) Telford(Town). The new
town's residents who arrived in the 1960s and 1970s earned the
unwanted nickname "overspill" from people living in the existing towns
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. The reason for this
expansion is that the original "centre" was only ever a shopping place
with no real heart (See
Shropshire Star 3 June 2004). Since the
"centre" closed early evening, there was no nightlife at all in the
area, the only major local entertainment areas being in
The first phase of the town centre development, named Southwater, was
completed in 2014. The official opening ceremony on 18 October 2014
included live music and fireworks. The area comprises a refurbished
library, various chain restaurants,
Cineworld IMAX Cinema, bowling
alley/arcade and a new multi-storey car park.
The Wrekin overlooks the town
Telford town centre lies about 21 kilometres (13 mi)
Shrewsbury and 24 kilometres (15 mi)
north-west of Wolverhampton. The town comprises 7,803 hectares (30.13
square miles) and its southern and eastern parts, between the Severn
Gorge and Donnington Wood, include the East
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 large hill of 407 m
(1335 ft), located south-west of Wellington, straddling the
border with the unitary
Shropshire Council (before the latter's
creation in 2009 the borough of
Shrewsbury and Atcham).
Telford urban area highlighted in orange, within the Telford
For more information on Parish divisions, see list of civil parishes
Within the borough of
Telford & Wrekin, the town is entirely
Telford has no single town council because of this, and the
Mayor of the Borough of
Telford and Wrekin
Telford and Wrekin is also de facto the town's
mayor. The town is also divided into Wards, within
Telford and Wrekin
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 and Donnington have largely been successful. Despite 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
Telford is the only settlement within the
constituency, which was held by Labour from its creation in 1997 until
the 2015 General Election. The current MP is Lucy Allan
(Conservative). Some suburbs, such as Wellington, are located in The
Wrekin, which has varying support between the Conservatives and
Labour, due to its mix of rural and urban (Newport) areas.
Conservative Mark Pritchard was reelected as MP in 2015.
administratively part of the West Midlands region.
M54 (B'HAM) ->
<- A5 (S'BURY)
St George's and Priorslee
A clickable link map of the component towns of
Telford and surrounding
Dawley new town was intended to take 50,000 people from the
West Midlands conurbation 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.
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. The Telford
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 predominantly 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%. However, the town and
borough remains comparatively more ethnically diverse than the
ceremonial county, with South
Shropshire for example being 97.8%
Population and Employment
No. of Jobs
% of Jobs on
During the economic crisis of the late 1960s (with unemployment
doubling nationally during the second half of the decade),
unemployment in the then-new town was initially high.
However, in 1967 Halesfield Industrial Estate was founded on the
south-eastern edge of the town – the first real answer to Telford's
unemployment problems. Other large estates followed, in 1973 with
Stafford Park just east of the town centre and in 1979 with
Hortonwood, to the north, helping ease the unemployment crisis in a
decade which saw an almost unbroken rise in unemployment.
In total, half a million square metres of factory space were provided
between 1968 and 1983, making
Telford an attractive investment
Telford had begun to recruit industry from the USA, 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
provided by around 40 (mostly American) foreign companies. In
contrast to industry in the
Black Country at the time, these new
companies focused on high-technology industries rather than the heavy
and metal-finishing industries.
The new arrivals included the American company
Unimation and three
firms from Japan:
Nikon UK Ltd., which opened a warehouse at
Halesfield in 1983; video tape manufacturers
Hitachi Maxell at
Apley Castle in 1983; and office equipment manufacturers Ricoh,
who took a 22-acre (89,000 m2) site for a factory at Priorslee
next to the M54, and formed the first in Telford's new enterprise
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
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 (almost double the national average) 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.
Telford was still around the 20% mark – nearly
double the national average at the time – as late as 1986. The
Lawson Boom of the next three years saw that figure fall dramatically
by the end of the decade, only for it to rise to a similarly high
figure again by 1992 as a result of the early 1990s recession.
The 2014 Southwater development just south of the shopping centre
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
Fujitsu employ a significant number of staff in the
area, mainly supporting their governmental client, Her Majesty's
Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The expansion in these job sectors
provided a great asset to Telford's economic recovery after 1992. By
August 2007, the success story of Telford's economy had seen
unemployment shrink to 3.3% – a fraction of its peak 15 years
However, the subsequent recession meant that unemployment in the area
had risen to 5% by February 2011, although this was still well below
the national average.
Shropshire Star evening newspaper is based at Ketley, Telford.
There have been job losses, with the movement of 500 Defence Logistics
Organisation (DLO) jobs at the MoD base at Sapphire House, Telford, to
Bristol. The sugar beet factory at Allscott closed in
Thomas Telford statue in the town centre, by the Law Courts
The commercial centre of the town is the aptly named
Centre, located off Junction 5 of the M54 motorway, completed in the
1980s. It is home to the administrative headquarters of
Wrekin council, which are now based at Addenbrook House on Ironmasters
Way, after moving from Civic Offices in December 2012. The large
Telford Shopping Centre
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.
Telford also houses one of the Midlands'
few ice skating rinks near the newly built
Centre (TIC). The TIC comprises a number of hall and event spaces. It
holds parties, conferences, concerts and was formerly the venue of the
UK Snooker Championship .
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.
See also: List of schools in
Telford and Wrekin
Telford has a number of primary and secondary schools including Thomas
Telford School, a
City Technology College
City Technology College (CTC), which claims to have
a 100% pass rate at GCSE level, with all students achieving at least 4
GCSEs grades A*-C, placing it at number one in the entire country
Key Stage 4 attainment. It was students of this school who were
chosen to construct
Airfix models of planes and tanks, and to assist
Top Gear co host
James May construct a life size model of a World War
Spitfire on the first episode of the series James May's Toy
Stories. The school's choir has gained lots of notability after their
various performances up and down the country, including the Royal
Albert Hall for the
Music For Youth School Prom, along with
performances hosted by CBBC's Barney Harwood. Abraham Darby Academy
(Performing Arts, Business and Enterprise), formerly known as 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. They regularly perform at
national and international competitions, such as the world music
contest in Kerkrade, Holland, and Music For Youth.
Further education is handled by
Telford College of Arts and Technology
Telford New College, a sixth-form college located in
Wellington. There are four other sixth forms located at Abraham Darby
Academy, Holy Trinity Academy,
Madeley Academy and Thomas Telford
8 miles (13 km) to the north are
Adams' Grammar School
Adams' Grammar School and
Newport Girls High School
Newport Girls High School selective schools located in nearby
Telford is home to The University of
Wolverhampton Business School
(UWBS) campus and the School of the Built Environment. Harper Adams
University, a famous university for land-based education is located
near the town of Newport.
Madeley Academy is a sport college and a building that was built and
opened in September 2009.
Wrekin became one of three pilot areas selected
as part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's Cultural Hubs
programme piloting a cultural offer for young people and schools
Wrekin through the Council's
Telford Culture Zone
programme at the heart of which was effective partnership working and
joint planning between the cultural and education sectors.
In July 2012 the Department for Education and Arts Council England
Wrekin as one of the new areas for the in
Harmony programme working with Old Park Primary School and Children's
Wrekin Music, City of
Orchestra and the Manchester Camerata. In Harmony is a national
programme that aims to inspire and transform the lives of children in
deprived communities, using the power and disciplines of
community-based orchestral music-making.
The M54 shown here near Junction 5 for
Telford Centre, which is
visible in the background to the left.
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 has three railway stations on the
Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton
Telford Central. A new direct train
London was launched by Wrexham &
Shropshire in 2008.
The venture however proved unprofitable and ceased to operate on
Friday 28 January 2011, leaving
Shropshire as the only English
county without a direct train link to London; that is until Virgin
Trains launched a direct
London service in December
2014 In addition, there are two further stations isolated from the
national network, Spring Village and
Horsehay & Dawley, at Telford
Steam Railway, situated at Horsehay.
Telford's rapidly growing population still has a relatively low car
ownership. In 2004
Wrekin council was awarded 'Beacon
Status' for improving access to 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. The M54 reduces through-traffic
on local roads, and the A442 Queensway acts as a north-south artery
Gordon Richards was from Telford. He won a record 26 champion
jockey titles, and was the only flat jockey to be knighted.
The band, The Sunshine Underground, are originally from
Shrewsbury, and formed while studying at New College Telford.
Some of the band T'Pau are also from
Telford (Wellington) and
The death metal band Cancer formed in Ironbridge.
The film and television actor
Christian Brassington was born in
Former WBC super middleweight champion boxer Richie Woodhall, grew up
in Woodside, Telford.
Elliott Bennett grew up in Telford,
Fellow professional footballers Danny Guthrie and Connor Goldson
Thomas Telford School in Telford.
Professional darts player
Ted Hankey resides in Telford
Since 1991 education expert Professor
Steve Molyneux has resided in
Telford where he was Mayor of
Oakengates from 2003-2007.
Paul Blackthorne, who plays Detective Lance in the DC TV series Arrow,
was born in Wellington.
Stewart Lee, English stand-up comedian, writer, director and musician,
was born in Wellington.
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Telford is home to a variety of established amateur, semi-pro and
professional sports clubs.
Telford United Football Club are currently playing in the National
League North having been relegated from the
Conference Premier at the
end of the 2014–15 season.
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. Also, they won
the Setanta Shield Trophy by beating Forest Green Rovers on penalties
in 2009. They were formed in 2004 on the bankruptcy of the previous
Telford United club, who had competed in the
Football Conference –
the highest level of football outside the professional league – for
25 years since its inception in 1979 as the Alliance Premier League
and were winners of the
FA Trophy on three occasions.
Ice hockey in the town is represented by 2 teams. One is the Telford
Tigers, an English Premier League (EPL or EPIHL) ice hockey team
originally formed in 1985. The other are the
Telford Titans, an ENL
Team, which represents development hockey feeding from the excellent
youth development and were last year crowned league champions.
There have been many
American football teams in the town, although
Shropshire Revolution a British American Football League,
founded in 2006, is the only 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).
Telford Raiders are the town's Rugby League club, although there have
been other Rugby League Clubs in
Telford historically, such as the
Telford All Blacks and
Shropshire Scorpions. Telford
Hornets represent the town at Rugby Union.
Shropshire Warriors Basketball Club play at
Telford College of Art and
Technology (TCAT).
Telford also hosted the UK Snooker Championship, from 2007 to
2010. The championship moved from
York in 2007 but
returned to the refurbished Barbican Centre in
Shropshire Golf Centre is located near Muxton, to the northeast of
Telford. This has three nine-hole courses, a 13-hole par three academy
course and driving range. Other courses include the Municipal course
The Wrekin Golf Club and
Telford Golf and Country Club.
There are also several local cricket clubs, many of whom compete in
local leagues and some in the
Birmingham league. The largest of these
is Wellington where many
Shropshire County matches are also played but
St Georges, Madeley and
Lilleshall also run cricket clubs in or on the
outskirts of the town.
Closest cities, towns and villages
Destinations from Telford
Shawbury, Wem, Oswestry, Wellington
Whitchurch, Market Drayton
Lilleshall, Newport, Stafford
Shifnal, Albrighton, Cannock
Much Wenlock, Church Stretton, Ludlow
Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley, West Bromwich, Birmingham
Telford and Wrekin
Telford and Wrekin population estimates, 2011
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Telford.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Telford.
Official Tourism Website for
Ironbridge & Telford
Telford Culture Zone
Ceremonial county of Shropshire
Telford and Wrekin
Telford and Wrekin Council
See also: List of civil parishes in Shropshire
Shropshire Union Canal
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings