Modern Shifnal

 

Until the 1960s Shifnal changed very little, it remained a small market town though the cattle market was in decline for a long time before it was finally closed in the 1960s.  In the 1930s and 1940s the population was falling; and the impression of this period is one of stagnation if not actual decay. The present wide shopping area of Bradford Street and Cheapside was opened up in the 1960s and 70s when the crowded buildings which had grown up in the original Market Place over the centuries were cleared.  Unfortunately many of the older buildings were demolished at that time but there are still groups of 17th century half-timbered buildings, almost all built after the serious fire which occurred in 1591. There are attractive brick houses of the 18th and 19th centuries, and the church is beautiful and of considerable interest. In the last 35 years many new houses have been built in estates around the core of the old town.  There is now also some light industry and the population has more than doubled to over 6500 since the 1930s.  But in spite of these changes and the great expansion of Telford, Shifnal’s surroundings are still largely rural.

Shifnal has kept much of its ancient character as a market town.  Its shops and services cater well for the everyday needs of its residents, it has good schools and sports facilities.  Communications are excellent, being close to the motorway and other major roads.  It still has a rail service connecting to Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton and Birmingham which is enjoying something of a revival which seems likely to continue.  Though not an obvious tourist attraction like Ludlow or Shrewsbury, Shifnal has had a long and interesting history, and much of its past can still be traced in the modern town.  Its long coaching history has been reflected in recent years by the development of a wide range of restaurants and public houses which attract visitors from the surrounding towns.

Because it has retained its small town character, Shifnal is a popular place to live, and as can be seen from the range of societies and activities described in the pages of this Handbook, Shifnal is a very lively community.

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