10 things you didn't know about Shropshire!

Shropshire is a place all of the BFS team call home, whether born and bred or only recently having made the move from city life. We all reside here for reasons many of you probably understand - the rolling hills, picture perfect streets and a collection of seriously beautiful towns! The county is also full of rich history - we’ve spent this morning researching and rounding up a list of 10 things you may not already know about Shropshire!


    1.     Home to the Brown Bomber

Boxer Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber, was stationed in north Shropshire while serving as a US Army PT instructor during World War Two. It is rumoured that people in the local pubs used to pay money to punch him in the stomach, but he was so strong that the punches had no effect. 

    2.     Shropshire loves hedgehogs!

 In 1982 the British Hedgehog Preservation Society was formed in Shropshire by Major Adrian Coles, who went on to be the chairman of Shropshire County Council. The society is responsible for humane innovations such as hedgehog ramps in cattle grids which stop the poor animals getting trapped, and improving general awareness of the welfare of wildlife.


    3.     World’s first skyscraper

It may not look much, but the Ditherington flax mill, on the outskirts of Shrewsbury, was the first multi storey iron-framed building in the world – the forerunner of every skyscraper and tower block in the world. In was built in 1797 and is one of 660 listed buildings in the town.


    4.     Tallest column

 Whilst on the subject of tall structures, Shropshire is also home to the tallest column of it’s kind the world. Lord Hill’s column, outside Shropshire County Council’s headquarters at Shire Hall, Shrewsbury, stands at 133ft 6ins tall and is in the Doric style, as used by the ancient Greeks.


    5.     Here lies Ebenezer Scrooge… or not?

 At the graveyard of St Chad’s Church in Shrewsbury lies the grave of Ebenezer Scrooge, and it’s actually a tourist attraction! But unfortunately, it’s fake. The 1984 film ‘A Christmas Carol’ used Shrewsbury as a location and the grave remained there after the filming wrapped up.


   6.     The continuous debate – Shrew or Shrow?

 Apparently, the traditional pronunciation of the 'ew' in Shrewsbury only survives in the word 'sew', and in earlier days the town's name was spelled Shroesbury or Shrowesbury, with the 'ow' pronounced as it is in 'show'. But you'll even hear the locals pronouncing it both ways, so in a way, everyone is right…


   7.     Birth of the Olympic Games

 In 1850, an Olympian Class was started by William Penny Brookes in Much Wenlock, as a distraction for a local population whose previous favourite pastimes were drinking heavily and fighting. In 1859 he changed the name to the Wenlock Olympian Games and the annual sports festival continues to this day.


   8.     First Welsh Team

The first Welsh International football team was picked at a meeting at the Queen’s Hotel in Oswestry in the 1870’s. Oswestry Town Football Club was a founder member of the Welsh football league and is still the only English club to play in the League of Wales.


   9.     Geologist’s haven

Did you know there are more rocks of different ages here than any are oaf similar size in the world (dating from 700 to 200 million years ago), and places like Ludlow and Wenlock Edge have even given their names their names to geological periods. The world’s oldest known complete fossil was also discovered in Shropshire at Caradoc.


    10.  Home of the Sweet Pea

Apart from having one of the shortest names in Britain, the Shropshire town of Wem is also accountable for giving the world the sweet pea! It was developed by Scottish nurseryman Henry Eckford, who crossbred the plants from an insignificant flower to the highly scented floral you see today. The annual sweet pea festival is still held every July in the town!