Saturday, 13 June 2009

Wheaton Aston

During our stay in Wheaton Aston last weekend, despite the rain, we had a look around the village. Many boaters will be familiar with this view of Turner's - the garage in Wheaton Aston that has a wharf for selling diesel to boaters at what is probably the lowest price on the canal system -49p a litre (plus propulsion duty) at the time of our visit.

But here's the view that road users will be more familiar with:

Apart from the modern fuel pumps a classic garage from the early days of motoring and it hasn't changed much inside either! But note those road fuel prices!

Wheaton Aston's an old Staffordshire village that was obviously expanded greatly in the 1960s and 70s judging by the amount of housing from that era. Most items of interest are to be found in the area around the canal, such as this bridge sign erected by the Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company sometime between 1847, when it was founded, and 1922, when it was taken over by the London & North Western Railway.
Nowadays Wheaton Aston is very much off the main road and is reached only by unclassified roads - the ones coloured yellow on ordnance survey maps, but this sign suggests that this wasn't always the case and that traffic unfamiliar with the area might be expected to pass along the road over the canal. The nearest main highway today is the A5, successor to Telford's Holyhead Road and an old fingerpost in the village points the way to Watling Street, the old Roman Road that cuts north-west from Dover to Wroxeter. I think, however, that at some stage Wheaton Aston was at least on a main road to somewhere. The village boasts a pub called "The Coach and Horses" and by the look of it its a genuine coaching inn which suggests that long-distance traffic once passed through the village. Then there's this:

On the wall of the village hall, itself situated on "Long Street" (another clue?) is this early direction sign pointing the way to the A5 itself (the black and white edging indicates that the road leads to the A5 rather than being the actual A5). The fact that its there suggests that what is now the quiet main street of the village was once a road on which traffic of at least regional importance might have passed to and from the "Holyhead Road" and I really must find out more.

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