A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.
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By the late 17th century there was a conduit on high ground at the southern edge of the town, near a large pool (fn. 1) fed from streams that rose near the parish's southern boundary. (fn. 2) Thence the Town brook (fn. 3) descended, perhaps along the conduit, (fn. 4) to the west side of Tan Bank (fn. 5) (probably the former Pool Head Lane) (fn. 6) and reached the nearby (fn. 7) Pool Head, (fn. 8) presumably a public water supply. (fn. 9) The brook descended thence (fn. 10) to join the Vineyard brook. (fn. 11)
In 1851, through T. C. Eyton, (fn. 12) the Wellington Waterworks Co. was formed to supply an area 5 miles around the Market Place. The company was reconstituted in 1860 as the Wellington (Salop) Waterworks Co. and its area reduced to Wellington civil parish and that part of Wrockwardine parish already supplied. (fn. 13) Wellington urban sanitary authority bought the undertaking in 1884. (fn. 14)
In the early 1850s (fn. 15) the company made a reservoir at the Ercall pools (fn. 16) near Buckatree Hall, and by 1859 a main descended from it, entered the town along Walker Street, and terminated in the Market Place (fn. 17) at a drinking fountain. (fn. 18) A second reservoir, near Steeraway, was opened c. 1870 (fn. 19) and by the 1880s the town's main streets were furnished with standpipes. (fn. 20) The water authority did not supply water beyond the town until the 1890s, when it laid a main eastwards along Watling Street. (fn. 21) From c. 1905 the reservoirs were supplemented by water pumped from boreholes. (fn. 22) In 1933 the supply area was enlarged. (fn. 23) In 1946, shortly before water supply passed to a regional authority, (fn. 24) the hamlets of Arleston, Aston, and Wappenshall still had no piped water. (fn. 25) By then the urban district council's principal water sources were boreholes at Woodfield (in Ercall Magna) (fn. 26) sunk 1930-2. (fn. 27) Within the rural district council's area of responsibility Walcot was still without piped water in 1946. (fn. 28)
Before 1892 all the town's sewage was piped north-westwards to Springhill where it flowed untreated into a watercourse that fed Bratton brook. From 1892 or 1893 some was also piped from the east side of the town into Haybridge brook. In 1898 those arrangements were superseded by the Admaston disposal works in Dothill township. (fn. 29) The Dothill works was later replaced by the new Rushmoor works (in Wrockwardine) opened 1975. (fn. 30)
The parish's first public medical service was a dispensary supported by subscribers, which was established in 1834 and revived in 1859. Through local doctors it gave treatment to people not on parish relief. In 1900 c. 700 patients a year were being seen. (fn. 31) After the National Health Service was introduced the funds were used to endow a charity for the sick poor. (fn. 32) By 1916 a maternity and child welfare centre had been established by a local society. (fn. 33) Later the county council supported it (fn. 34) and in 1936 opened a new clinic (fn. 35) in Haygate Road, (fn. 36) which was replaced in 1971 by the council's new health centre in Chapel Lane, the first such in Shropshire. (fn. 37)
The U.D.C. built a small isolation hospital at Steeraway in 1903, which it shared with the R.D.C. (fn. 38) From 1919 it was leased to the county council, (fn. 39) which still used it in 1947. (fn. 40) Birmingham Regional Hospital Board sold it in 1951. (fn. 41) Under the will of J. C. Bowring's widow (fn. 42) a cottage hospital in his memory was built in Haygate Road in 1912. (fn. 43) Ownership later passed, like that of the public-assistance institution (renamed Wrekin Hospital), (fn. 44) to the regional hospital board. (fn. 45) Construction of a Telford general hospital at Apley was expected to begin in 1984. (fn. 46)
In 1910 a committee of local ladies gave a horse ambulance to the U.D.C. (fn. 47) and the council maintained an ambulance service until 1948, when it was superseded by the county ambulance station at Donnington. (fn. 48) Wellington and Oakengates U.D.C.s provided a service for the rural district (fn. 49) until 1945, when the R.D.C. began a service from Donnington. (fn. 50)
In 1898 a public soup kitchen, paid for by voluntary contributions, was open twice weekly in winter in King Street, and an unendowed coal charity existed for the poor. The sick poor were helped by the Wellington Nursing Association and the Wellington Ladies' Charity. (fn. 51) A home for underfed babies was founded by Mrs. Flora Dugdale in Wrockwardine Road. The county council took it over in 1920, (fn. 52) and in 1945 converted it into a home for older children. (fn. 53) It closed in 1978. (fn. 54) By 1893 it was a probation and after-care centre. A children's home was created at the workhouse in 1914. (fn. 55) In 1916 the children were transferred to Brooklyn House (fn. 56) on Watling Street, and thence in 1928 to the Mount, (fn. 57) Haygate Road. The county council took over the home in 1930 and opened a second at the Vineyard in 1947. (fn. 58)
In 1873 the Wellington (Salop) Burial Board, elected by the vestry, (fn. 59) bought land off Haygate Road that was consecrated a cemetery in 1875. (fn. 60) In 1894 (fn. 61) the board's functions passed to the Wellington (Salop) Burial Joint Committee, composed of representatives of the C.P.s in which the old board's area lay: Wellington Urban, Wellington Rural, Hadley, and Eyton. In 1913 the committee's part of Eyton C.P. was excluded from its area. (fn. 62) The committee's functions passed to Wrekin district council in 1974. (fn. 63)
The earliest known postmaster, unsalaried, was mentioned in 1795. His office was then a suboffice of Shrewsbury (fn. 64) but Wellington was designated a post town in 1813. (fn. 65) The post office occupied several successive sites in the town until 1927 when a new building opened in Walker Street. (fn. 66) It became the Telford head post office c. 1970. (fn. 67) The town's first sub-post office opened in Mill Bank c. 1890. (fn. 68)
In 1823 William Edwards opened a gas works (fn. 69) on the east side of Tan Bank (fn. 70) and by 1835 the town was said to be well lit. (fn. 71) A dispute over street lighting (fn. 72) led to the formation, through T. C. Eyton, (fn. 73) of a rival Wellington Coal and Gas-Light Co. in 1851, to supply gas within a 5-mile radius of Wellington, especially in Wellington, Ketley, and Oakengates. (fn. 74) The company built a works between Tan Bank and Wrekin Road (fn. 75) but by 1870 (fn. 76) had a railside works on the west side of the town. (fn. 77) Edwards died in 1863 (fn. 78) and next year the company bought his undertaking. (fn. 79) In 1872 the company's supply area was reduced to the parts of Wellington and Wrockwardine C.P.s within 2 miles of All Saints' church but excluding almost the whole of Hadley township. In 1903 the company was reconstituted as the Wellington (Salop) Gas Co. (fn. 80) It took over the undertakings of the Oakengates Gas and Water Co. Ltd. in 1922. (fn. 81) of the Hadley, Trench, and Wrockwardine Wood Lighting Co. Ltd. in 1930, and of the Lilleshall Gas Co. in 1939. (fn. 82) From 1936 the Severn Valley Gas Corporation owned a controlling interest in the company, (fn. 83) which was nationalized in 1949. (fn. 84)
The U.D.C. had electricity-supply powers from 1901 (fn. 85) but, unused, (fn. 86) they were relinquished in 1928 to a regional authority, (fn. 87) which supplied the town by 1934. (fn. 88) Electric street lighting was introduced in 1944. (fn. 89)
Wellington had at least one fire engine in 1803 (fn. 90) and more than one in 1843, when the vestry contributed to their maintenance. (fn. 91) From 1853 the inhabitants were allowed to keep them at the new police station (fn. 92) but in 1858 one old appliance was kept at the Sun inn. The brigade was controlled by the improvement commissioners from c. 1854. (fn. 93) The commissioners opened a fire station in Walker Street c. 1883. (fn. 94) Two engines were provided by the Shropshire & North Wales Assurance Co. (later the Alliance Assurance Co.). (fn. 95) In 1906 the brigade had eight operational members, all retained men. The U.D.C. bought a horsedrawn steam appliance in 1909 but kept one of the manual engines until 1924. (fn. 96) The station moved to Foundry Lane c. 1924. (fn. 97) In 1928 the U.D.C. and R.D.C. formed the Wellington and District Joint Fire Brigade (fn. 98) and bought the first motorized engine, its only vehicle in 1939. (fn. 99) Control passed to the National Fire Service in 1941 and the brigade was absorbed by the county council in 1948. (fn. 100) One of the county's two divisional headquarters was located in Wellington and a new fire station, manned by full-time officers, opened in 1953 (fn. 101) in Haybridge Road. In 1980 it was superseded as divisional headquarters by the new Telford central fire station, Stafford Park. (fn. 102)
From 1840, when a county constabulary was formed, Wellington had a divisional headquarters. (fn. 103) The superintendent and two of the constables were stationed in the town in 1840. (fn. 104) They used the lock-up of c. 1831 (fn. 105) but otherwise worked from home until 1848 when an office was provided (fn. 106) in Walker Street. (fn. 107) In 1853 (fn. 108) a new station with lock-up and court room was opened in Church Street near the Green. (fn. 109) Eight officers were stationed there in 1885. (fn. 110) The premises were replaced in 1897 (fn. 111) by a new station at the corner of Church Street and Plough Road, (fn. 112) which had fourteen officers in 1926. (fn. 113) It remained in use as a station until 1955, when a new divisional headquarters opened (fn. 114) in Glebe Street, but it still housed a magistrates' court in 1982.