The parish and town of Whitchurch
Whitchurch is a small market town in North Shropshire, surrounded by lovely countryside. The church is located at the top of the High Street (left), easily visible from all directions (below).
Whitchurch has good transport links as it is located at the junction of the A41, A49, and A525 trunk roads and is conveniently situated, 15-20 miles from Shrewsbury, Chester, Wrexham and Crewe. Llangollen is less than an hour away, and it takes about an hour by road to reach Manchester or Liverpool airports. Whitchurch has a railway station on the main Manchester to Cardiff line, with local services to Crewe and Shrewsbury. There is also a circular bus service for shoppers, and services to outlying villages, Chester, Nantwich, Shrewsbury and Wrexham.
The Whitchurch Arm of the LLangollen Canal
The Llangollen Canal (left) passes close to Whitchurch, near enough for people holidaying on the canal to walk into the town.
The town centre combines historic old buildings and landmarks with 1960s and later developments. It is an important service centre for the surrounding area and has a weekly market and a monthly farmers’ market. Most of the shops are independently owned, but there are branches of some national chain stores (Boots, Argos, WH Smith, Homebase M&Co). There are several butchers, bakers and a greengrocer. Tesco and other smaller supermarkets operate around the town centre. Proposed further supermarket building is being considered at present.
There is a range of community facilities such as library, swimming pool, leisure centre, community centres, youth centre, Heritage Centre, a multi-purpose Civic Centre and a fire station, ambulance station and police station.
Whitchurch has a community hospital (right), with a minor injuries department, where a range of specialist clinics are held, as well as being the base for ShropDoc for out of hours calls and one of the three GP Practices in the town. The Bradbury Day Centre provides day care.
There are two dental practices, four residential and nursing homes and a Senior Citizens Club. Day care sessions are also held twice weekly at Kingsway Court. Age UK, formerly Age Concern, has a call-in centre in Whitchurch.
Whitchurch Community Hospital
There are three other places of worship and two Christian groups which meet in community buildings. A number of banks, building societies and solicitors operate from the town centre. There is a selection of pubs and places to eat and an active Chamber of Trade and Commerce in the town.
Local newspapers serving Whitchurch include the Whitchurch Herald, Shropshire Star and North Shropshire Chronicle.
The population is about 9,400. It is a comparatively young population – there are more residents under the age of 18 than 65 and over, although this is a place to which people choose to retire. Two thirds of the population is of working age.
Whitchurch has four schools; CE Infant and Nursery School, with Sure Start Children’s Centre; CE Junior School; Sir John Talbot’s Technology College and Sixth Form (11 – 18 yrs); The White House School (independent), 3 – 11 yrs. The maintained schools offer a range of activities and learning opportunities for families. There are also two play groups and two nurseries. A number of adult education classes are held in the town and a very active U3A (University of the Third Age) organises groups and activities.
This is a mixed residential housing area: some new estates of houses and bungalows; a number of former council houses, some of which are now privately owned and some owned by housing associations; sheltered housing and apartments. The upper floors of many commercial premises in the town centre have been converted into flats.
Whitchurch has an industrial and business area on the edge of town with small units, which are of growing importance for employment. One of the major employers is Grocontinental with its large cold storage depots and logistics unit, distributing goods all over Great Britain and the Continent. This is a mixed farming area, with one major cheese producer which supplies national outlets. Some local farms have diversified. However, considerably more people commute to work out of the town than commute in.
There are many clubs in Whitchurch offering a wide variety of sporting activities for all ages, including the Swimming Centre, Rugby, Football, Cricket, Hockey, Tennis, Running, Bowling and Snooker Clubs, and the Leisure Centre at Sir John Talbot’s Technology College has an all-weather playing surface for hockey and football. A wide variety of voluntary groups and organisations includes Rotary, Inner Wheel, Round Table, Lions, Royal British Legion, Operatic, Little Theatre, and Drama Groups, Photographic Society, choirs for adults and children, Wildlife Trust, Waterway Trust and History and Archaeology Group. . For young people there are all sections of Scouts and Guides, Mini Rugby and Junior Football Teams, Army and Air Cadets.
Victoria Jubilee Park (right), Deermoss Park and Queensway Park are situated very close to the town centre and the Whitchurch Waterway Country Park and Greenfields Nature Reserve lead down to the canal.
Local clock-maker J B Joyce & Co, maker of our church tower clock, operated in Whitchurch from 1834 and is internationally famous. This recent example of the firm’s work (left) is to be found at the bottom of the High Street