Wombridge: Public services

A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


A P Baggs. D C Cox. Jessie McFall. P A Stamper. A J L Winchester, 'Wombridge: Public services', in A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford, (London, 1985) pp. 297-298. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp297-298 [accessed 28 May 2024].

A P Baggs. D C Cox. Jessie McFall. P A Stamper. A J L Winchester. "Wombridge: Public services", in A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford, (London, 1985) 297-298. British History Online, accessed May 28, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp297-298.

Baggs, A P. Cox, D C. McFall, Jessie. Stamper, P A. Winchester, A J L. "Wombridge: Public services", A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford, (London, 1985). 297-298. British History Online. Web. 28 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol11/pp297-298.


A gas works was built west of New Street in 1849 by William Edwards (d. 1863). (fn. 1) It was sold in 1864 to the Oakengates and St. George's Gas and Water Co. Ltd., (fn. 2) which was in turn bought by the Wellington (Salop) Gas Co. in 1922. (fn. 3) By 1882 the Hadley & Trench Gas Works stood on the south-western edge of Trench Pool, and in 1912 the Hadley, Trench, and Wrockwardine Wood Lighting Co. Ltd. supplied gas to Oakengates urban district council. (fn. 4) The company was bought by the Wellington (Salop) Gas Co. in 1930. (fn. 5)

Electricity became available in the 1930s. (fn. 6)

In 1892 water supply in Oakengates was said to be 'as bad as it can be, . . . scanty, . . . inaccessible, . . . contaminated or liable to it', coming from rainwater butts or 'dip' wells if it could not be begged from one of the few pump wells. Soft water was bought for washing. Ketley Bank was as ill-supplied as Oakengates. Houses belonging to the Lilleshall Co. tended to be better served and the company was at that time improving the water supply by tapping pit water. Contamination was unavoidable as the area was sewered either not at all or ineffectively: the more recently developed streets had sewers, but they generally discharged into open ditches that passed other houses before draining into settling tanks below the town. Most houses, many with shared closets, had cess pits, many of them open. Other households had pails and threw sewage into their yards or the street. The disposal of ash and domestic refuse was just as erratic. In general only the Lilleshall Co. properties enjoyed the attention, albeit irregular, of a scavenger. (fn. 7)

Water supply to Oakengates was improved in the 1900s despite the abandonment of a major scheme of 1904. The Lilleshall Co.'s supply was transferred to the U.D.C. between 1901 and 1918; from 1913 it included water from the duke of Sutherland's Redhill reservoir fed from Hilton (Staffs.). (fn. 8) For a time, before 1946, Ketley Bank was supplied with water purchased from the borough of Wenlock and conveyed through Dawley U.D.C. and Wellington rural district council mains, but that arrangement proved unsatisfactory and Ketley Bank was linked c. 1946 to the Oakengates main system. (fn. 9)

The U.D.C. built the Trench Farm sewage works, Hortonwood, in 1904-5; (fn. 10) it was one of those replaced by the Rushmoor works, Wrockwardine, opened in 1975. (fn. 11)

A child-health centre opened in Oakengates in 1918. In 1936 it moved to a site in Stafford Road, where it remained in 1983. (fn. 12) The U.D.C. helped to maintain an ambulance service for Wellington rural district until 1945. (fn. 13)

Fear of air raids led to the provision of several 'fire boxes' containing hoses, etc., in 1916; the nearest fire engine was then at Wellington. (fn. 14) After the Second World War the county council provided a retained fire station at Oakengates. (fn. 15) It closed in 1980 when Telford central fire station opened at Stafford Park industrial estate. (fn. 16)

Oakengates had one police constable in 1840 (fn. 17) and a post office by 1856. (fn. 18)


  • 1. P.O. Dir. Salop. (1856), 93; Wellington Jnl. 3 June 1949 (p. 14); S.R.O. 2990/10-22.
  • 2. S.R.O. 2990/14.
  • 3. Above, Wellington, Public Services.
  • 4. O.S. Map 1/2,500, Salop. XXXVI. 10 (1882 edn.); S.R.O., DA 12/134/51 (19 Aug. 1952); /134/52 (16 Aug. 1952).
  • 5. Above, Wellington, Public Services.
  • 6. Kelly's Dir. Salop. (1937), 179.
  • 7. S.C.C. Mins. rep. of Co. M.O.H. 31 Dec. 1892, 9-11; S.C.C. Mins. 1896-7, 273-82.
  • 8. Gale and Nicholls, Lilleshall Co. 72-4; S.R.O. 119/60; above, Dawley, Public Services; above, Lilleshall, Public Services.
  • 9. A. H. S. Waters, Rep. on Water Supplies (S.C.C. 1946), 24.
  • 10. Above, Eyton, intro.
  • 11. Telford Jnl. 7 Aug. 1975; inf. from Severn-Trent Water Auth., Wellington.
  • 12. Inf. from Salop Area Health Auth.
  • 13. Above, Wellington, Public Services.
  • 14. S.R.O., DA 12/100/7, pp. 448-53; Evans, Childhood Memories, 22.
  • 15. S.R.O. 3005/2.
  • 16. Shropshire Star, 31 Oct. 1980.
  • 17. S.R.O., q. sess. Const. Cttee. rep. bk. 1839-53, p. 76.
  • 18. P.O. Dir. Salop. (1856), 94.