Shropshire is a large inland county that has been influenced by countless generations from the Celts, Romans, Saxons and Normans through to the present day. Towards the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century many enterprising national and local photographers travelled around the country taking thousands of photographs of people, places and events that were then turned into postcards. Thankfully many of these cards still survive, tucked away in old albums or stored in attics and at the back of drawers and cupboards. They give us a glimpse of how life was at this time and how things have altered during the last century as progress has accelerated. Telford New Town dates from 1968 when the Government enlarged the area that had been designated Dawley New Town in 1963. It was named after Thomas Telford, a Scotsman, who came to Shropshire in 1786 and became Surveyor of Public Works for the county. Many of the settlements have a long history, some pre-dating the Norman Conquest, and although a great deal of change has taken place over the past 40 years the local population have done their utmost to preserve the identity of their area.
It is a region of great contrast, from the rural nature of Wellington in the north to the heavy industrialisation of the Ironbridge Gorge, a World Heritage site and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. The photographs are taken from Ray Farlow's unique collection of old picture postcards and illustrate the buildings, countryside and the lives of the people who lived in the area long before the new town of Telford was envisaged. The result is a fascinating book that is sure to appeal to anyone with an interest in Shropshire's fascinating local history.
DAVID TRUMPER was born and bred in Shropshire and has always lived in Shrewsbury. A teacher by profession, since his retirement he has continued to write local history books and contribute articles to local newspapers and magazines. He lectures and gives slide presentations on the county's past and arranges historical walks. RAY FARLOW lives in Bridgnorth and over the years has amassed an enormous archive of postcards of Shropshire's past. He often supplies material to the Shropshire Star for their nostalgia features.