Then and now: Old photos and beautiful painting show how Shifnal has changed over the years

Members of Shifnal History Society have pulled out all the stops once more to produce a calendar for 2023 that showcases the history of the town, the buildings and the people who live and have lived there.

A painting of the Wonder Coach by former mayor Bob Harrop
A painting of the Wonder Coach by former mayor Bob Harrop

The new calendar - which is available now - brings back memories of bygone times including old buildings which now have different uses and some that don't exist now.

They include the Old Post Office at the head of Victoria Road (now Nan's Cafe Bar) and John Bromley's Ironmongers, a building which has now gone.

One of the highlights of the calendar is a painting by former mayor Bob Harrop of The Wonder Coach coming through the centre of Shifnal in 1835, consisting of coach and horses.

The scene from the painting and its modern-day equivalent

The coach was said to have covered the 158 miles between London and Shrewsbury in a then record time of 12 hours and 40 minutes due to the carriage being pulled by six horses instead of four. The end of the service was marked by the railway coming to Shifnal in 1849 when it formed part of the London to Holyhead line.

The headquarters of the 16-member-strong history society at the Old Fire Station is a treasure trove of items all related to Shifnal, from a bronze age axe found with a metal detector, a mangle used in a town house and a grandfather clock made in the area. There is also an England shirt of former Wolves goalkeeper Bert Williams, who lived near Shifnal when he retired.

The former Post Office at the head of Victoria Road, now Nans Cafe Bar

Chair of the society Gerald Nickless, who celebrates his 78th birthday today, said it is a labour of love for the members to look for items which will give a flavour of what the town looked like and its history

He said: "Each year when we produce the calendar we aim to provide a snapshot of what Shifnal has looked like down the ages, contrasting with what it looks like today.

"It's amazing the amount of old photographs we get donated as well as the exhibits which we keep, all of which are verified, logged and on display for the public to come and view them.

The old John Bromley Ironmongers building, now gone

"We keep a small fund for us to source items that might come up on eBay or elsewhere that we have to bid on and the proceeds from the calendar help with this.

"Since we started doing the calendar we have sold around 250 copies each year and as well as helping with the funding for us to keep going and get more items, they make a lovely Christmas present or item to hang on the wall for anyone who is interested in the town's history."

The calendars priced at £7 are available during opening times at the Old Fire Station which are between 2 and 4pm on Fridays or 10am to noon on Saturdays, or from Presence Card and Gift Shop in the town centre.

Gerald Nickless at the old fire station

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