Having spent some time looking through our website, we bet you think you now know quite a lot about Shrewsbury, our fair county town... Shrewsbury was the birthplace of Charles Darwin - check; Shrewsbury is nearly islanded by a loop of the River Severn - check; Percy Thrower was Parks Superintendent for Shrewsbury for 30 years - check. However, Shrewsbury is full of surprises around every cobbled corner. Here are a few fun Shrewsbury facts that we bet you didn't know already!
It was right here in Shrewsbury that the first iron-framed building in the World was built, with the construction of the Ditherington Flax Mill in 1797. Despite it being only 5 storeys high, it was the experimental technique of building with iron that was first used at the Flax Mill, which paved the wave for modern day skyscrapers to be built. It is now affectionately known as the "grandfather of the skyscraper".
We like to think of Shrewsbury as the original one-off, but it is in fact one of 8 places called Shrewsbury throughout the world. The largest of these imposter Shrewsburys is Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, USA, with a population of 35,000, and the smallest is the ghost town of Shrewsbury, Quebec, Canada, with precisely 0 residents - not including the ghosts! Our own, original Shrewsbury has a population of 71,000.
The first Shrewsbury Flower Show was held way back in 1875, and is mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records as "the World's longest running horticultural show". Held on the second weekend of August in Shrewsbury's Quarry Park there are over 3 million flowers on display, from Alstroemeria to Zantedeschia, as well as celebrity gardeners, TV chefs, arena events, headline music acts and showstopping fireworks.
Shrewsbury is home to the oldest building in the World to house a McDonald's restaurant. Part of the building on Shrewsbury's Pride Hill date back to the 13th century. In Shrewsbury, even your burger is served up with a large portion of heritage!
Shrewsbury's St Mary's Church has the third tallest spire in England. In 1739 the church was at the centre of a not so tall tale - local steeplejack flier Robert Cadman was well known for his daredevil feats, but came to an unfortunate end attempting to cross the River Severn from a rope suspended from the spire of St Mary's Church.
Lord Hill's Column, outside the Shirehall in Shrewsbury, was erected in 1816 at a cost of £6000, to honour the achievements of local military hero Lord Rowland Hill. Standing at 133ft, 6 inches high it is said to be the tallest Doric column in the World.
Film buffs may know that Shrewsbury was used as the location for the 1984 film version of 'A Christmas Carol', but did you know that Ebeneezer Scrooge's 'gravestone' is still visible in St Chad's Church? When the production team rolled out of town, the prop was left behind as a permanent reminder of the film. Join a special Christmas Carol Guided Tour each December to see this and many of the film's other locations in the town, or visit St Chad's at any time to see the 'grave' for yourself.
It would appear that ice hockey, far from being invented by those ice hockey mad Canadians, may well have first been played by Charles Darwin, right here in Shrewsbury! In a recently discovered letter written by Darwin to his son William at Shrewsbury School, dated 1st March 1853, he writes: "My Dear Old Willy… have you got a pretty good pond to skate on? I used to be very fond of playing hockey on the ice in skates."
Shrewsbury is home to the World's tallest town crier, Martin Wood. At an impressive 7 feet, 2 inches tall, he really does stand head and shoulders above all the rest! His unique claim to fame has taken him all over the World, including the USA, Canada and throughout Europe. Martin has also appeared on TV and the silver screen, acting as a body double for Robbie Coltrane's Hagrid in the Harry Potter films.
Joe Hart started his professional football career in his hometown of Shrewsbury at Shrewsbury Town Football Club, before going on to become England and Manchester City goalkeeper.
Charle Darwin is perhaps the most famous 'Old Salopian' but he's by no means the only one. Shrewsbury School's former pupils include Michael Palin CBE, member of Monty Python, actor, writer and TV presenter famed for his travel documentaries; Michael Heseltine, former Conservative politician and member of Parliament; and Nick Owen, former TV-AM presenter and Midlands Today news presenter.
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This is the official tourism and visitor website for Shrewsbury provided by Shropshire Tourism, the official destination marketing organisation for Shropshire - read more