Tuesday, September 05, 2017

After Stiperstones vernacular - with a note on Seven White Gates

I took the photograph above in 2010:
The sudden rise of the lead mining industry in this remote part of England in the mid 19th century meant that the Stiperstones area has the feel of the Wild West. Shanty villages were thrown together with materials like corrugated iron and their hastily abandoned remnants can still be found today.
Snailbeach has this atmosphere most strongly, but you even find it down at Minsterley - a larger village on the main road to Shrewsbury.
You may have to hurry though. A planning notice on a nearby lamppost suggests this shop may soon be replaced by a more conventional building.
I was right. When I went back this summer the building had been replaced by the one below.

The good news is that the business has stayed in the same family - the gentleman in the photo built the new shop though it is now run by his daughter

Today The Flower Shop does coffee and very good baguettes and is even a BT wifi hotspot. All in all, I highly recommend it.

Chatting with the owners I learnt something of interest to readers of Malcolm Saville's Seven White Gates.

An aerial ropeway used to pass over Minsterley, carrying ore from the local lead mines or coal to them to power their engines.

I was told that the locals would sometimes hitch a ride on it to get to Snailbeach.

A good book if you are interested in this aspect of the county's industrial history is Aerial Ropeways of Shropshire.

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