Telford is the largest town in Shropshire and one of the fastest growing in the UK. It is named after civil engineer, Thomas Telford, who engineered many road and rail projects in the county. On the town’s southern side is the Ironbridge Gorge, a scenic tourist destination and UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, Telford advertises itself as ‘The Birthplace of Industry’, due to its proximity to the Shropshire Coalfield and areas such as Ironbridge Gorge, which were internationally recognised as being important to the Industrial Revolution. Telford Shopping Centre and the accompanying Town Park are a hive of activity, with various retailers, office blocks and a large Odeon cinema. The town also houses one of the Midlands’ few ice skating rinks near the newly-built Telford International Centre, which hosts events, conferences and concerts.
The town has many other claims to fame, with a lost list of famous people, who have been born, raised or have lived in the local area. These include the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, stand-up comedian Stewart Lee, and professional footballer Elliott Bennett. Telford also boasts an active sporting scene, with many different sports represented, from ice hockey and American football, to basketball and snooker.
During the economic crisis of the late 1960s, unemployment in the town was initially high. But, in 1967, Halesfield Industrial Estate was founded – the answer to Telford’s problems. Other large estates followed suit, including Stafford Park and Hortonwood, helping to ease the unemployment crisis and making the town an attractive investment area, with companies that moved here focusing on high-technology rather than heavy industries. New arrivals included Unimation, Nikon UK Ltd, Hitachi Maxell and Ricoh. Telford has continued to attract several large IT companies such as EDS, Capgemini and Fujitsu, and the town is also home to the administrative headquarters of the Telford & Wrekin Council, which are now based at Addenbrook House.
The M54 motorway was completed in 1983, improving the town’s road links with the West Midlands. Telford has three railway stations on the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton Line, Wellington-Oakengates and Telford Central. A direct train service to London was launched in 2008, but it proved unprofitable and ceased to operate, leaving Shropshire as the only English county without a direct train link to London – that is until Virgin Trains introduced a direct Shrewsbury to London service a few years ago. Being a new town with a planned local transport infrastructure, Telford experiences relatively few traffic problems and was awarded ‘Beacon Status’ in 2004 for improving access to public transport.
There are a number of primary and secondary schools in the town, including Thomas Telford School, a City Technology College, which claims to have a 100 per cent pass rate at GCSE level, placing it at number one in the entire country. Further education is handled by Telford College of Arts and Technology and Telford New College, a sixth-form college located in Wellington, plus there are four other sixth-forms across the town. Telford is also home to The University of Wolverhampton Business School, which has a campus in the town, as well as Madeley Academy, a sports college which opened in September 2009.
The average house price for Telford stood at £177,154 in December 2018, which is a fall of 0.59 per cent in the last year. In terms of property types, flats sold for an average of £98,549, and terraced houses for £121,810. With such fabulous educational establishments on the doorstep, the town has a lot to offer those looking to relocate to the Midlands area.