The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Status: Ceremonial & (smaller) Administrative County
Region: West Midlands
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 13th
3,487 km²
Ranked 14th
3,197 km²
Admin HQ: Shrewsbury
ISO 3166-2: GB-SHR
ONS code: 39
- Total (2002 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 42nd
128 / km²
Ranked 34th
Ethnicity: 97.3% White
1.2% S.Asian

Badge of Shropshire County Council
Shropshire County Council
Executive: Labour & Liberal Democrat & Independents
MPs: Peter Bradley, Matthew Green, Paul Marsden, Owen Paterson, David Wright
  1. North Shropshire
  2. Oswestry
  3. Shrewsbury and Atcham
  4. South Shropshire
  5. Bridgnorth
  6. Telford and Wrekin (Unitary)

Shropshire (abbreviated Salop or Salops) is a county in the West Midlands of England, bordering Cheshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, and the Welsh preserved counties of Powys and Clwyd.

Shropshire is one of England's most rural counties. The county town is Shrewsbury, although the new town of Telford is the largest town. Also in this rural county is Coalbrookdale, where the Industrial Revolution started, Ironbridge, where the world's first iron bridge was constructed and Ditherington, where the world's first iron framed building was built. (See the "cradle of industry" section below).

The ceremonial county of Shropshire is now split up into the administrative county of Shropshire and the unitary authority of Telford and Wrekin borough. Shropshire, the administrative county, is then split up into five districts - Shrewsbury and Atcham borough, Oswestry borough, North Shropshire district, South Shropshire district and Bridgnorth district. The administrative county is then further sub-divided into parishes, except for the town of Shrewsbury. The area covered by the ceremonial county has not changed for centuries (other than the removal of several exclaves in other counties) - see traditional counties of England.

A 2005 estimate of the population of the administrative county of Shropshire was put at 286'400 - making the county the smallest two-tier administration in England.

The county was called Salop in legal documents for some centuries, a name deriving from 'Salopesbiry', an older name for the county town, Shrewsbury. When a council for the county was set up in 1888, it was called 'Salop County Council'. The name was never popular, and the council renamed itself 'Shropshire County Council' in 1980. However, the term "Salopian", derived from "Salop", is still used to mean "from Shropshire".


Cradle of Industry

Quite why this remote, rural county on the Welsh border became the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution is mystifying to many people. The reason, however, is Shropshire's diverse geology. Shropshire is the geological "capital" of the UK, as just about every rock type in Northern Europe is found within its borders, as are coal, lead, copper and iron ore deposits. In addition to this, the River Severn flows through the county and has been used for the transportation of goods and services for centuries.


Geographically, Shropshire is divisible into several distinct areas:

  • The North Shropshire Plain is an extension of the flat and fertile Cheshire Gap . Traditionally, the economy of the area depended on agriculture (and some small scale ore fields around Wem) although recently a growing number of commuters have moved to the area.
  • The area around Oswestry, also in Northern Shropshire, has more rugged geography than the North Shropshire Plain, and although farming was traditionally important in the eastern half of the area, the Western half is an extension of the Wrexham Coalfield and there are also copper deposits on the border with Wales.
  • Central Shropshire is a farming area, but has more varied terrain than northern Shropshire, as the River Severn has shaped the landscape and economy of the area.
  • Shrewsbury is a large market town in the centre of the county, and has traditionally been regarded with suspicion, often hostility, by the rest of the county, particularly by the inhabitants of the very rural South West (although since the 1960s that hostility has been diverted toward Telford). Shrewsbury itself is a polarised town, with a very affluent district around Copthorne, which contrasts sharply with the poorer suburbs of Bayston Hill, Castlefields , Ditherington and Harlescott.
  • Telford and Wrekin Unitary Authority is in the east of the county, and is the county's industrial core. Telford's rapid expansion has changed the character of the region dramatically since the 1960s. Despite their relatively recent arrival, large areas of Telford are economically deprived and already in need of regeneration. However, this region is the cradle of the Industrial Revolution is also Shropshire's major tourist destination.
  • South East Shropshire contains a relatively large town, Bridgnorth, fertile farmland in the Severn Valley and ex-mining communities in the Wyre Forest Coalfield (Highley , Alveley and the Stottesden area) and around Broseley (part of the Wrekin Coalfield).
  • South Shropshire is the other part of the county that tourists come to visit: the views are stunning and the area around Church Stretton is known as "Little Switzerland". It includes the ancient town of Ludlow, old mining communities on the Clee Hills , notable geological features in the Onny Valley and Wenlock Edge and fertile farmland in the Corve Dale . The River Teme drains this part of the county, before flowing into Worcestershire to the South.
  • South West Shropshire, or simply "Clun", is a little known and remote part of the county, with Clun Forest, Offa's Dyke and the River Clun. The small towns of Clun and Bishop's Castle are in this area. The countryside here is very rural and is in parts wild and forested. To the South of Clun is the Welsh town of Knighton.

Towns and villages

Places of interest

Famous People

List of MPs

As from 11 April, due to the Dissolution of Parliament the following will no longer be MPs

List of MPs after the 2001 General Election.

+Marsden was elected as a Labour member, but defected to the Liberal Democrats in 2001, over a disagreement over the military action in Afghanistan. He then defected back to the Labour party in 2005, just weeks before the general election.


Oswestry Football Club play in the Welsh League.

Shropshire holds the record for the coldest temperature recorded in England and Wales (weather). This was set on January 10, 1982, in Edgmond at -26.1 C.

See also

Railways of Shropshire
Etymological list of counties

  • Secret Shropshire - Document archives relating to Shropshire are being made available online, over 10,000 images including maps, photographs of scenery, buildings, famous people and natural history, sketches, and writings.
  • Shropshire Star - Local newspaper.
  • BBC Shropshire history - BBC Shropshire's history page.
  • Fords in Shropshire - Listing of all fords in Shropshire, including photos.
  • Pubs in Shropshire - A growing database on the public houses of the county, from the Shropshire Star.
  • Shropshire aerial photos - Fantastic website with many photos of places in Shropshire, taken from the air
Last updated: 10-13-2005 03:48:46
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