Discovering Salop

Frontpage Forum People & Places of Wolverhampton Discovering Salop

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    Billy

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As most of our members know, today my wife and I live in Bridgnorth and one of our favourite summer activities (bus pass in hand) is ride to Shrewsbury.
    After our usual walk along the tree lined river from the English bridge to Quarry park where if the weather is favourable we have our lunch. in the pleasant gardens at the Dingle after which we enjoy searching out the rich heritage of this medieval town.

    Now going back some forty years ago whilst working for Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries who at that time had just ventured into what was fresh fields for them and also myself, around Shrewsbury. I spent twelve months operating a new venture for them in Upton Magna.

    During those twelve months I enjoyed the company of the local farming community who had most interesting stories to tell of old times and on my journeys into town I took many photographs of the area.
    This Saturday I took a few of these photo’s from the seventies with me and thought I see how times had been changing, and what did I find (Not a lot) as far as the buildings were concerned.
    Now as we always at the end of our visit call in at our favourite dependable “Costa”

    SHREWSBURY 1NEW

    The Bridgnorth Bus as it travels into the High Street stops here, alongside the Square,.
    Two charming young ladies pose for me as I alight from the bus and take this view up High Street were on the left opposite the Square is Grope lane,. Why is it called Grope Lane? well you probably will gather by the name. Loads of towns in the Country had a Grope Lane but most of them have changed the name.
    All the Grope Lanes mentioned were used mainly for one trade, prostitution and it was big business in the medieval days of course.

    Now the building on the corner at the bottom of “Grope Lane” in the 1780s was known as The Globe public house before changing its name to The Cross Keys around 1820 and then entering into many name changes from around 1910. When this picture was probably taken as you may notice here Allsopps Brewery supplied the beer and Slaey’s were the tenants.

    CROSS KEYS GROPE LANE SHREWSBURY

    If at any time you feel like a walk up Grope Lane just pause for a while and look at the builders marks on the timbers of the old Cross Keys, all the timber houses built in town were originally put together in the forest where the timber was felled to make sure it all fit, once the carpenter was happy he would mark each timber to tell his workers where each one had to go.
    Most of the time these mark are on the inside but as this was an inn do you think the carpenter was paid in ale on a drink as you go basis?
Halfway up Grope Lane, used to be St. Martins chapel and it is believed that under this chapel was one of the three Plague pits that we had in the town, around 2,000 of the 9,500 Shrewsbury folk who succumbed to the black death are thought to be buried in the pit but sadly all traces of the chapel are long gone.
There are some lovely individual shops in Grope Lane that are well worth a visit but take heart, none are trading in you know what!!”
    A big thank you to Town Crier Martin Wood. who gave me the historic information see above.

    CROSS KEYS TODAYjpg

    This was the shot I took of the building on Saturday, slightly changed in appearance to how it looked over a century ago, as you can see and of course gone over to a beverage less taxing on the liver.

    Below the old cellar head.

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