Visit Shrewsbury by Mouse
Shrewsbury (Web site) in Shropshire, is 163 miles northwest of London,48 miles northwest of Birmingham, and 18 miles south of Ironbridge. It is also 9 miles east of the Welsh border. We visited for an afternoon while we were in the neighborhood. We regretfully do not know much about the town except that it had some very nice 15th and 16th century half-timbered buildings, has at least two castles, the ruins of at least one along with the ruins of two abbies (abbys?), a museum and art gallery, is surrounded by the river Severn, and is the birthplace of Charles Darwin (1809). We took some photos, which we include on the photos page, and that is the main reason for including the town here. The town's tourist web site, with the link above, is a good one providing great deal of information and more photos. We did not write about the town in a letter, which explains the absence of one here.
The town holds a Darwin festival annually and, when we were there, was gearing up for a special one in 2009, two hundred years after Darwin's birth. There is a Darwin Birth Society and people can register as a Darwinite on the festival's web site. Darwin was baptized and attended school in Shrewsbury and his home, Mount House, is still there, functioning as the District Valuer and Valuations Office. The grounds can be visited during office hours, but we did not know about it while we were there.
Shrewsbury also is the location of the Ditherington Flax Mill, built in 1797, the first iron-framed building ever. Its proximity to Ironbridge, the location of the worlds first blast furnace smelting iron ore with coke instead of charcoal, and the location of the world's first bridge made of iron (built 22 years earlier in 1779), is no doubt responsible. This building has the right to claim to be the father of all skyscrapers which were destined to be built afterwards. This is another thing we did not know when we were there.
Had we had access to this web site  prior to our visit to Shrewsbury we would have enjoyed our visit even more than we did.  We certainly would have made an effort to see the Darwin home and the flax mill.  As it was, we were satisfied just to walk around, enjoy the pretty buildings, shop in an open-air market, take some photos, and leave.  You now can do better.
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