A piece of Shropshire that's forever Crossroads

Fans of Midlands soap opera Crossroads were in mourning today as they bade farewell to a little piece of television history hidden in the Shropshire countryside.

Crossroads 1
Crossroads. (Note wobbly sign)

Fans of Midlands soap opera Crossroads were in mourning today as they bade farewell to a little piece of television history hidden in the Shropshire countryside.

A building at Walford and North Shropshire College, near Baschurch, which was used as a location in the long-running ITV show famed for its wobbly sets and fluffed lines, is being bulldozed to make way for a new £500,000 engineering diploma centre.

The old teaching block was used as one of the locations for the show in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when it was still known as the Shropshire Farm Institute.

But it is not all bad news for Crossroads fans because another of Walford's TV gems - the building used for external shots of the motel's main entrance - is staying put.

Lucy Evans, college spokeswoman, said: "The old teaching block is being demolished but the main entrance to the 'motel' is staying put."

The "motel" was seen by millions of viewers almost daily when a still shot of it appeared at the beginning of the show as the distinctive theme tune played.

Whitchurch-based actor Paul Henry, who used to play bumbling caretaker Benny Hawkins in the soap, said he was unaware of the building's connection with the show.

Mr Henry said he joined the show in 1975 but did not remember filming at the college.

Members of the Crossroads Appreciation Society said they had always heard rumours of the college's connection with the soap, but only confirmed its association this year after hours of painstaking research.

Fan John Drury, who was originally from Telford but now lives in Sheffield, said: "Because of the change of television company much of the paperwork was lost and the location of the site unknown.

"The society has spent a long time researching the other locations but feared the most famous of all was lost to developers.

"In May this year I decided to expand the search and after a lot of searching, reading and looking at Google Street View I found that the college was the location.

"A static image of the college was used almost every day and once I found the location, the site manager showed me round and I took some photographs."

He said: "None of the students knew of their link with TV fame, but some of the staff did."

He added that "nobody knows" how the college came to be used as a location for the show. "In 1964 there was a storyline about the motel owner Meg having a Georgian house and using it as a boarding house for the workmen building the new motorway to stay in," he said.

"Walford had a Georgian house and these 1960s-style buildings right next door, so it was the perfect outside location, I guess.

"They certainly filmed some live action stuff there, but over the years many of the episodes and paperwork have been lost.

"I think Walford was used on and off from 1964 until 1981 when there was a storyline about a fire at the motel." He added that the bulk of the interior scenes were filmed at studios in Birmingham, so the exterior of Walford College was what mostly appeared on screen.

Crossroads was set in a motel in a fictional village near Birmingham called Kings Oak.

The show was axed in 1988 after 24 years only to return for two more years in a glossier format in 2001.

  • Do you remember Crossroads being filmed at Walford College? If so, please call the newsdesk on (01952) 242424 or e-mail newsroom@shropshirestar.co.uk

By Tom Johannsen

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Comments for: "A piece of Shropshire that's forever Crossroads"

walfordworker

That block in the picture isn't being demolished it's the old student block next door and the new engineering building is being built 100m away. Good acurate story!!

Mike Garrett

The article says the motel entrance is staying. The spokesperson says so. The entire site was used in the series however, old Student block at Walford Hall, the chalet block of the Crossroads Motel.

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