In 1936 the Italians invaded Abyssinia and the Emperor Haile Selassie had to flee, He was given refuge by this country and one day whilst I was at Craven Arms railway station he arrived with his entourage to stay at Walcot Hall on the way to Lydbury North, which was a mansion owned by the Stephenson Ink people.
In stature, he was a small man, very swarthy and black-bearded, with striking features. His helmet had big white feathers on top and his military uniform was well-decorated with a sash and medals. How long he stayed locally I have no idea, but that is my memory of Haile Selassie, Emperor of Abyssinia, also known as the 'Lion Man'.When I first visited Shropshire I imagined that Craven Arms would be a medieval town like Much Wenlock or Church Stretton. Not a bit of it. It is a Victorian town, named after a pre-existing hotel and built around a cattle market and railway junction, which has somehow always failed to thrive. My picture shows Craven Arms' derelict Temperance Hall.
At least when Haile Selassie saw it the railway station had refreshment rooms and was not the wasteland of bus shelters you see today. And maybe the Shropshire tourism people can use this story to bring Rastafarian tourists to the area.