Posted 22 Apr 2022

Shrewsbury's architecturally unique buildings

Shrewsbury may be famous for its Tudor and Georgian architecture - but it isn't all black and white! Alongside the very old, you'll also find the very new, and very interesting.
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Costa Coffee

Costa Coffee is one of Shrewsbury High Street's many classic timber framed Tudor buildings. But if you look closely, you may realise that not all is as it seems! During restoration works in the 1990s, the upper carvings were given a colourful update with the addition of the heads of Margaret Thatcher and Michael Heseltine back to back, as they apparently were in political terms, the words 'Poll Tax' are behind them. The carvings along Grope Lane include grapes and motorcycles.

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Lloyds Bank

Whether you love it or hate it, the Lloyds Bank on Shrewsbury's Pride Hill is an award-winning piece of architecture. Architect Percy Thomas made a conscious effort to reflect the nearby Tudor architecture of Ireland's Mansion and Pride Hill. Lloyds Bank is considered a good example of Brutalist architecture, and proof that bold modern buildings can be successfully slotted into traditional historic streets.

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Shrewsbury Market Hall

Nestled beneath the 240ft clock tower, sits Shrewsbury's award-winning Market Hall. The building was designed by a respected architect of his day, David du Rieu Aberdeen, who also designed the award-winning Postmodernist icon Congress House in Bloomsbury and the former Swiss Centre in Leicester Square. Opened in 1965, the today’s Market Hall replaced a large Victorian market hall of similar proportions that was in a poor state of repair and was condemned as unhygienic, dingy and “no longer fit for purpose”.

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The Old Market Hall

Presiding over Shrewsbury's town square, The Old Market Hall is a magnificent 16th century market hall. Built in 1596 by the Corporation of Shrewsbury, it reflects the town's prosperity at that time, and its emergence as a major regional centre for trading. The Old Market Hall was one of the earliest forms of prefabricated buildings and, built from local Grinshill sandstone, was constructed in only four months. Historically the lower level was used by farmers to sell corn, and the upper level was used by the Shrewsbury Drapers and dealers in cloth and wool. Today, the upper level has been lovingly restored and opened as a contemporary cinema and cafe bar.

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The Parade Shops

Built in the 1820s by prominent local architect E H Haycock, The Royal Salop Infirmary was a subscription hospital for the people of Shropshire. Built in the Greek Revival style for which Haycock was known, later additions were made including an additional wing, steel and glass balconies to allow recovering WWI soldiers to enjoy the views over the Severn, and an operating theatre was constructed on the roof during WWII. Ultimately, the hospital closed in 1977 due to structural difficulties. After considerable reconstruction by local businessman Bob Freeman in the 1980s, the building was converted into residential homes and a specialist shopping centre. Today, The Parade Shops is still owned and managed by the Freeman family, and is a haven of independents and local makers.

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Shrewsbury Prison

Shrewsbury Prison, known as The Dana, was completed in 1793 and named after Rev Edmund Dana. The original building was constructed by Thomas Telford, to plans by Shrewsbury architect John Hiram Haycocke see today were built in 1877. Shrewsbury Prison has a long, dark history, with its last execution on 9th February 1961. Today, Shrewsbury Prison is a popular local attraction, boasting in depth guided tours, as well as an exciting calendar of escape rooms, nights behind bars, prison breaks, ghost hunts and more!

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Ellerker Opticians

Ellerker Opticians sits at the corner of Mardol and Roushill. This early 16th century timber framed building is one of Shrewsbury's many listed buildings. Typical with many buildings over the time, the upper floors overhang the ground level, the weight of which is supported by a beam traditionally known as a 'Dragon Beam'.

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