Sunday, 29 April 2012

Life before Telford

Wellington Town Centre
At one time Wellington was the centre for this part of the world, the most important of the small industrial towns of east Shropshire (Madeley, Dawley, Ironbridge etc) that sprawl throughout this area in a way reminiscent of a sort of rural Black Country. But then came Telford New Town, as far as Wellington was concerned the ultimate out-of-town retail park, and Wellington went into decline. For a while the town even suffered the indignity of having its railway station renamed "Wellington Telford West" but that seems to have been dropped now.
I went there on the bus from Gnosall, mainly because I remembered it had a rather good market, which I was pleased to see was still thriving.
Wellington market: ready for the jubilee
I bought a couple of  Shropshire Blue Cheese and Caramalised Onion "sausage" rolls from the stall on the right, but when I ate one for my lunch it was just sausage meat!
In fact all of Wellington seemed to be thriving, with no empty shops on the High Street and few charity shops either. 
On the way back I changed buses at Oakengates. Oakengates is much smaller than Wellington and nearer to Telford as well so it's not surprising that it's not doing so well. It does, however, have one saving grace: three excellent pubs in very close proximity in the town centre:
Oakengates pubs
The Station Hotel, on the right, sells beer from the Salopian Brewery as well as a wide range of other beers and has an excellent unspoiled public bar.  Further up the street is a pub run by the Ironbridge Brewery, whilst across the road is the excellent "Crown", with beer from Hobson's and many others. Which to visit while I waited for my connection? It was a tough call, but the Crown was having a beer festival and also has the advantage that it's back door leads directly to the bus station - and yes, I did make the bus!

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