Shropshire (abbreviated Salop or Shrops) is a traditional, ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the West Midlands region of England. The ceremonial county borders Cheshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, and the Welsh ceremonial 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. Despite the county being so rural, the Ironbridge Gorge area of Shropshire is known as the birthplace of industry.

An estimate of the population of the shire county of Shropshire for 2006 is put at 288,846 - making the county the least populated two-tier governed area in the United Kingdom.



Shropshire (with Telford and Wrekin) in England
Status: Ceremonial & (smaller) Non-metropolitan 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 (2004 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 42nd
129 / km²
Ranked 34th
Ethnicity: 97.3% White
1.2% S.Asian

May Salop Flourish

Coat of Arms of Shropshire County Council
Shropshire County Council
Executive: Conservative
MPs: Mark Pritchard, Philip Dunne, Daniel Kawczynski, Owen Paterson, David Wright

  1. North Shropshire
  2. Oswestry
  3. Shrewsbury and Atcham
  4. South Shropshire
  5. Bridgnorth
  6. Telford and Wrekin (Unitary)


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 mainly due to 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. The Ironbridge Gorge became a focal point of new industrial energies in the 18th Century.

The towns of Broseley and Madeley were centres of innovation during the late 18th Century. It was in nearby locations where key events of the Industrial Revolution took place. Coalbrookdale is where modern iron smelting techniques were developed, Ironbridge is where the world's first iron bridge was constructed and Ditherington is where the world's first iron framed building was built. Other places notable for early industry are Jackfield and Coalport.


The origin of the name "Shropshire" is the Old English "Scrobbesbyrigscīr" (literally Shrewsburyshire). However, the Normans who ruled England after 1066 found both "Scrobbesbyrig" and "Scrobbesbyrigscir" difficult to pronounce so they softened them to "Salopesberia" and "Salopescira". Salop is the abbreviation of these.

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". The latin motto of "Floreat Salopia" (may Shropshire flourish) is also used for Shropshire on crests and emblems.

Salop can also mean the county town, Shrewsbury, and in historical records Shropshire is described as "the county of Salop" and Shrewsbury as "the town of Salop".


Shropshire is part of the West Midlands region of England, though it is also described as being in the Welsh Marches. Both Shrewsbury and Ludlow have held the position of capital of the Welsh Marches, at a time when it was a political entity (with the Council of Wales and the Marches). Historically Shropshire was part of the Kingdom of Mercia and the name exists to this day in the police force which the county comes under - the West Mercia Constabulary.

The county today

The ceremonial county of Shropshire is now split up into the administrative county of Shropshire and the unitary authority of Telford and Wrekin. The administrative county is then split up into five districts - Shrewsbury and Atcham, Oswestry, North Shropshire, South Shropshire and Bridgnorth. The county, including Telford and Wrekin, is then further sub-divided into parishes, except for the town of Shrewsbury which is unparished. Shrewsbury and Telford have no town councils.

The area covered by the county has not changed substantially since the county's creation in the 11th Century. The border with Wales was defined in the 16th century. The modern day ceremonial county is the same as the traditional county, except for the removal of several exclaves and enclaves, and other minor alterations along the border with Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The largest of the exclaves was Halesowen, which became part of Worcestershire in 1844, and the largest of the enclaves was Herefordshire's Farlow in South Shropshire, transferred to Shropshire in 1844 too.


Geographically, Shropshire is divisible into two distinct halves - North and South.

North Shropshire

Politically - Oswestry district, North Shropshire district, Shrewsbury and Atcham borough and the borough of Telford and Wrekin.

The North Shropshire Plain is an extension of the flat and fertile Cheshire Plain. It is here that most of the county's large towns, and population in general, are to be found. Shrewsbury at the centre, Oswestry to the north west, Whitchurch to the north, Market Drayton to the north east and the Telford conurbation (Telford, Wellington, Newport, Oakengates, Donnington and Shifnal) to the east. The land is fertile and agriculture remains a major feature of the landscape and the economy. The River Severn runs through the lower half of this area (from Wales in the west, eastwards), through Shrewsbury and the Ironbridge Gorge, before heading south to Bridgnorth.

The area around Oswestry has more rugged geography than the North Shropshire Plain and the western half is over an extension of the Wrexham Coalfield and there are also copper deposits on the border with Wales. Mining of stone and sand aggregates is still going on in North Shropshire, notably on Haughmond Hill, near Bayston Hill and around the village of Condover. Other primary industries, such as forestry and fishing, are to be found too.

The A5 and M54 run from Wolverhampton (to the east of the county) across to Telford, around Shrewsbury and then north west to Oswestry, before heading north into Wales in the Wrexham area. This is an important artery and the corridor is where most of Shropshire's modern commerce and industry is found, notably in Telford new town. There are also a number of railway lines crossing over the area, which centre at Shrewsbury. To the south west of Telford, near the Ironbridge Gorge, is Buildwas Power Station.

The new town of Telford is built on a former industrial area centred on the East Shropshire Coalfield. There are still many colliery heaps to be found in the area, as well as disused mine shafts. This industrial heritage is an important tourist attraction, as is seen by the growth of museums in the Ironbridge, Coalbrookdale and Jackfield area. Blists Hill museum and historical (Victorian era) village is a major tourist attraction as well as the Iron Bridge itself.

South Shropshire

Politically - South Shropshire district and Bridgnorth district; Ludlow constituency.

South Shropshire is more rural, with fewer settlements and no large towns, and its landscape differs greatly than that of North Shropshire. The area is dominated by hill ranges and valleys, forests and glens, and other natural features. Farming is more pastoral than the arable found in the north of the county. The only substantial towns are Ludlow, Bridgnorth and Church Stretton.

The A49 is the main road through the area, running north to south, from Shrewsbury to Herefordshire. A railway line runs through the area on the same route as the A49 with stations at Church Stretton, Craven Arms and Ludlow. Infrastructure is generally quite poor in the south of the county, but this is due mainly to the low population density. The (heritage) Severn Valley Railway runs from Bridgnorth into Worcestershire.

Church Stretton is known as "Little Switzerland" due to its valley location and character. Nearby are the 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.

One of the Clee Hills, the Brown Clee Hill, is the county's highest peak at 540m.

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

Shropshire has no cities, but 22 towns (of which 5 can be considered to be major - Shrewsbury, Telford, Oswestry, Bridgnorth and Ludlow) and hundreds of villages.


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of the non-metropolitan county of Shropshire at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added4 Agriculture1 Industry2 Services3
1995 2,388 238 618 1,533
2000 2,977 177 739 2,061
2003 3,577 197 843 2,538

Note 1: includes hunting and forestry

Note 2: includes energy and construction

Note 3: includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

Note 4: Components may not sum to totals due to rounding

Places of interest

Famous people

Also, British poet A.E. Housman used Shropshire as the setting for many of the poems in his first book, A Shropshire Lad.


Election results 2001
Election results 2001
Election results 2005
Election results 2005

Shropshire has five constituencies, four of which returned Conservative MPs at the 2005 general election and one, Telford, returned a Labour MP. This is a marked change from the 2001 general election result, where the county returned only one Conservative, three Labour and a Liberal Democrat to the Commons (see maps below).

The current MP's of Shropshire are:

In 2005 there was also a County Council election in which the Conservatives gained overall control of the administrative county. Telford and Wrekin Unitary Authority remains under Labour control. Being a rural county, there are a number of independent councillors on the various councils in the county.

The Conservatives gained complete control of Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council in the May 2006 local elections.



Shropshire holds the record for the coldest temperature recorded in England and Wales (weather wise). This was set on January 10, 1982, in Edgmond at -26.1 C. The following day the coldest daytime maximum temperature recorded in England occurred in the county, at -11.3 C.

Shrewsbury has the tallest town crier in the world, at 7ft 2in, and now also the tallest MP in the United Kingdom - Daniel Kawczynski is 6ft 8.5in tall.

The ceremonial county of Shropshire is the United Kingdom's largest inland (surrounded entirely by land) county.

There are 698 public houses in the county. The figure fell below 700 for the first time in modern history in April 2006. That means there are only 643 people per pub.

The 1985 television programme Blott on the Landscape was filmed mainly in South Shropshire, notably in Ludlow. The recently begun 2005 sit-com The Green Green Grass is set in Shropshire and is filmed near Bridgnorth.

The John Cleese film 'Clockwise' was filmed partly in and around Much Wenlock.

The 1984 TV film version of Charles Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol' was filmed in Shrewsbury. Scenes from the film are still displayed inside Goldsmith's the jewellers in the Square.

County of Shropshire
Unitary authorities: Telford and Wrekin
Boroughs/Districts: Bridgnorth • North Shropshire • Oswestry • Shrewsbury and Atcham • South Shropshire
Cities/Towns: Bishop's Castle • Bridgnorth • Broseley • Church Stretton • Cleobury Mortimer • Clun • Craven Arms • Dawley • Ellesmere • Ludlow • Madeley • Market Drayton • Much Wenlock • Newport • Oakengates • Oswestry • Shifnal • Shrewsbury • Telford • Wellington • Wem • Whitchurch

Districts of the West Midlands Flag of England

Birmingham | Bridgnorth | Bromsgrove | Cannock Chase | Coventry | Dudley | East Staffordshire | Herefordshire | Lichfield | Malvern Hills | Newcastle-under-Lyme | North Shropshire | North Warwickshire | Nuneaton and Bedworth | Oswestry | Redditch | Rugby | Sandwell | Shrewsbury and Atcham | Solihull | South Shropshire | South Staffordshire | Stafford | Staffordshire Moorlands | Stoke-on-Trent | Stratford-on-Avon | Tamworth | Telford and Wrekin | Walsall | Warwick | Wolverhampton | Worcester | Wychavon | Wyre Forest

Counties with multiple districts: Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire

United Kingdom | England | Ceremonial counties of England Flag of England

Counties of the Lieutenancies Act 1997

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United Kingdom | England | Traditional counties of England Flag of England

Counties that originate prior to 1889

Bedfordshire | Berkshire | Buckinghamshire | Cambridgeshire | Cheshire | Cornwall | Cumberland | Derbyshire | Devon | Dorset | Durham | Essex | Gloucestershire | Hampshire | Herefordshire | Hertfordshire | Huntingdonshire | Kent | Lancashire | Leicestershire | Lincolnshire | Middlesex | Norfolk | Northamptonshire | Northumberland | Nottinghamshire | Oxfordshire | Rutland | Shropshire | Somerset | Staffordshire | Suffolk | Surrey | Sussex | Warwickshire | Westmorland | Wiltshire | Worcestershire | Yorkshire

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