History group season four

The history of Shrewsbury in the 18th & 19th centuries

The History Group Season Four will start in August 2024. The focus this time will be on Shrewsbury in the 18th and 19th centuries – the period of the Industrial Revolution and the Victorians.

Once again there will be five separate presentations, lasting approximately 90 minutes, with refreshments and notes included in the price. Details can be found to the right or on

Newspapers and Networks

The development of the printed word and the start of the Shrewsbury Chronicle; the development of turnpike trusts and the beginning of the stagecoach business in Shrewsbury; the rise and decline of Shrewsbury’s river trade; the development of the Shrewsbury Canal; the coming of the railways to Shrewsbury and Shrewsbury’s lost railway stations.

Click below for tickets:
Sunday August 18 at 16.30
Wednesday August 21 at 19.00

People and Production

The Shrewsbury Season – high society in 18th century Shrewsbury; the battles against cholera and smallpox; the reasons for the construction of the Ditherington Flax Mill; key industries in Shrewsbury in Castlefields and Coleham; dealing with poverty and social attitudes towards the poor and needy; the construction of Shrewsbury Prison and the ending of public executions.

Click below for tickets:
Sunday Sept 22 at 16.30
Wednesday Sept 25 at 19.00

Improvements and Innovations

Population, congestion and changes to trading; the ‘beautification’ of the town; planning and other forms of regulation; the new buildings of Shrewsbury, such as the Salop Infirmary, the Shirehall and the Music Hall; ragged schools, the Lancasterian model and the concept of educating females; Sunday Schools and Shrewsbury School; the improvements made by Thomas Telford.

Click below for tickets:
Sunday Oct 27 at 16.30
Wednesday Oct 30 at 19.00

Fame and Fortune

The chaotic but restricted nature of 18th century politics; significant milestones in Shrewsbury’s electoral past; the fame or infamy of Admiral John Benbow, Lord Robert Clive and Viscount Rowland Hill; the presence of John Wesley, the construction of St Chad’s and the destruction of St Mary’s; leisure and the development of organised sport; strange attitudes towards relationships.

Click below for tickets:
Sunday Nov 24 at 16.30
Wednesday Nov 27 at 19.00

Place and Personalities

The growing population and the changing ways of crossing the River Severn; the significance of Charles Darwin, Julia Wightman and Thomas Southam in Shrewsbury; the tower at the castle and the toilet in Wyle Cop; Mad Jack Mytton and the problems of indebtedness; the changing townscape of Shrewsbury as revealed from old maps.

Click below for tickets:
Sunday Dec 15 at 16.30
Wednesday Dec 18 at 19.00

All presentations held at the Bear Steps Hall and Art Gallery, the home of Shrewsbury Civic Society

As with previous seasons, each session provides a handout with brief notes of the presentation, together with some of the other issues of the period for which there was no time in the presentation itself.
Tea and/or coffee will be provided.

Each session will be led by Russell Game, who is a retired teacher of History and Politics at William Brookes School in Much Wenlock. Russell has a BA Honours degree in History and German from the University of Reading, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from the University of Exeter. He also studied at Konstanz University in Germany.

Currently Russell is a Board Trustee of Shrewsbury Civic Society, serving as IT manager, membership secretary, archivist, researcher, presenter, webmaster and newsletter/magazine editor. He specialises in local history and will be assisted by Bibbs Cameron, an ex-British Museum Guide, who runs Shrewsbury Historica.