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compiled by old Hadleyite Keith Harris
& including photographs by Kath Parton

Appeal for help in recognizing old Hadleyites

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Hadley ‘Castle’ (left)
— in reality Hadley Park Mill, a former windmill next to the old canal and converted to
a water mill by 1792 and then replaced in 1842. It is believed that Hadley Castle
Works took its name from the mill, which was often mistaken for a castle. The mill has
been preserved.

Hadley is one of the oldest recorded settlements in Shropshire.


Hadley in 1928.

Visible at the bottom is the main London/Holyhead railway. The fields surrounding New Hadley to the lower right were a maze of abandoned mine workings. Sankeys (then Castle Car Works) is the grey block centre top.

Below right is a picture of The Square, Hadley c. 1905. Brittains’ family owned general store is visible in the foregound, as is Melia's shop, another family owned concern, at the back left and on the corner of Castle Street. The house in the middle of Castle Street was Henry Woodfin's shoe repairers, where work was carried out in a lean-to-shed at the rear of the house. Brittain's became a chemist before it was demolished. Melias was previously owned by Robert Heenan. Mr Heenan's grandaughter Jill now lives in Lubbock, Texas with her husband and daughter.

She writes: “I remember when the Bay City Rollers played at Sankeys, and begging my mum to let me go - but I was too young. I also spent many days wandering around Hadley. My cousins lived on Church Street, almost 'next door'. They were Anne, Moira and Stewart Robertson. Their father - Larry Robertson, worked at Sankeys. Anne is about 10 years older than I, and Moira is 5 years older. Stewart is a year younger than I am—he and I roamed the area extensively - discovering the 'new swimming pool' at Ketley (huge compared to the Hadley swimming pool). We wandered from Castle Street up Church Street towards Blockleys brick works (where my uncle worked) - close to the Middle and Valley pools. My cousin Moira would take us walking in the fields between the main road and Hadley railway station. My father would always warn us not to go near the Middle pool, even though it looked the prettiest of the three pools, he said that there was a lot of weeds in there. I hated the way you had to look down into the Valley pool, but he always said that the valley pool was the safest to swim in.”


The other section of Brittains, c. 1905 (left), with the Primitive Methodist Church visible on the corner of Gladstone Street is pictured on the left. Built in 1841 and rebuilt in 1871, the church closed in 1934 and was turned into the Regal Cinema. It then became a tyre garage before it was demolished. Gladstone Street led up to where Hadley recreation ground was later built.



The Wesleyan Chapel in the centre of Hadley (right), c. 1930— one of the few to remain through the redevelopment of the village. It is still much the same today. Hover on the door for a look inside. Does anyone recall Alan Jackson and his band The Outlaws who played in the youth club at the rear of the church on a Sunday afternoon?



Hadley Boys & Girls Junior School (left)- now a Sikh Gurdwara. To the right and up the steps a pathway led alongside the railway track and school playground, leading down to Horton and Trench road. Newsmedianews editor Keith schooled here between 1957/61. Miss Firth was the well known headmistress at the school for several years, having transferred from the Hadley Infants School in Crescent Road. Raffeyetta mats and pattern painting were big at the school, which had its own playing fields at the rear. Girls and boys had segregated hard play grounds, though it was possible to use the playing fields in the summer months in a mixed sexes environment!




The front elevation of Forge Row (right), c. 1960, though it isn't clear if this row of houses, which mainly accommodated workers from the local steel works, was in Hadley or Trench. Some believed the Coalport Bridge was the boundary between Hadley and Trench while others held the boundary to be the Trench canal lock.





1-6 Victoria Road (left), which had to rely on outside toilets visible to the left.

Hadley High Street and the Green Dragon (below right), c. 1964, looking towards Hadley Square shortly before the buildings were demolished. The old post office was across the road on the right, next to the village wool and habberdashery shop. On entering the Green Dragon (right), visitors would find they had to step down two or three steps immediately inside the door, a recipe for a flooded bar in heavy rains!



The Britannia Pub (below), May 1974 — a favourite with workers from Sankey's as it was located at one of the entrances to the extensive Hadley Castle Sankey's Steel Works. It was demolished to make way for a new bypass for Telford New Town, named Britannia Way. To the top of Castle Street beyond the pub was the Paradise Lost strip club, a daunting innovation for bustling and busy Hadley in the late 50s and early 60s.

Sankey's Hadley Castle Steel Works (right), c. 1955, later to become GKN Sankey and one of the largest employers in the Midlands, at one time housing a workforce of over 5,000 in the 1960s. The editor trained here as an apprentice works safety engineer. The factory produced automobile wheels, automobile bodies and was widely known for its production of steel office furniture and military equipment such as Saracen troop carriers.




Watery Lane (left)— a lost corner of Hadley snapped during the big freeze of 1963. Anyone with memories of Watery Lane is warmly invited to send them in.




2, 4 & 6 Highfield Terrace (right) pictured in
1963 shortly before they were demolished.



11 May 1985 and the last train to stop at New Hadley Halt (left). Built mainly of railway sleepers, the halt was located in the New Hadley fields close to Hadley Hollow, locally called ‘Adley Oller’ and there was only one wooden shelter, on the far platform. It was about a 15 minute walk from the centre of Hadley one way and 15 minutes to Ketley Bank in the other direction.




Still on the subject of railways, The Coalport Bridge (right), 30 July 1966, which many saw as the boundary between Hadley and Trench. It carried goods and passenger traffic down a branch line to Coalport, until the line was axed by Beeching in the early 1960s. Under the bridge to the left was the entrance to Sankey's cricket pitch, now a Greenhous Garage and showroom. The houses visible on the right still remain. Forge Row was reached up a track to the right immediately through the bridge.




Left - Looking from Hadley High Street towards Wellington c. 1905. The white building visible to the left is the Cross-Keys-Inn, still standing today and very much unchanged inside and out. The Wrekin is visible a few miles away in the distance beyond.







Bricks and tiles are known to have been produced at Hadley since 1681. By 1901, B.P. Blockley had opened Ragfield Tileries at New Hadley and Hadley Tileries was built nearby in 1912. By 1935, Blockleys Ltd had opened a third factory, advertised on the right and by 1963 over 20 million bricks were being produced each year. Note the single digit telephone number!





In this delightful picture (left) from 13 September 1919, the Creed family are all dressed up for their parts in the Hadley Peace Carnival—a major annual event in the village and part of the Shropshire Peace Day, which was celebrated all over the county. The Creeds lived at The Firs, a large house hidden behind tall fir trees in the centre of Hadley. John Bull to the left is Mr Creed, Britannia is Mrs Creed and Sissy Millman is the gipsy on the front row.








The old footbridge crossing the railway line at the end of Summer House Drive and leading to the fields quaintly known as The Chocolats.



Photograph supplied by Kath Parton.

The following collection of more recent photographs of Hadley have also been supplied by Kath Parton.
Clicking on any image will enlarge the image in a new window. Resizing the new image browser
window will also automatically enlarge the picture. Hover mouse over image for information.

View more photos of Hadley from Kath including some supplied by Hadley men George Price and Norman Lewis
Appeal for help in recognizing old Hadleyites

Slideshow of Hadley and Trench     |     Hadley VE Day celebrations 2005—slide show only

Paradise Lost - an article by Hadley old boy Derek ‘Gash’ Gambie

more ... Trip to Trench
Victorian Wellington

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Around the Wrekin
Where is Boreatton Park?
COMING NEXT — Trip to Wellington

Recollections from the Hadley, Donnington, Oakengates, Wellington areas?
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