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Book Club Starts Again

Book Club IconAs the summer holiday period draws to a close, many activities which have also taken a summer break begin a new season. Next Thursday, 8th September, Marchamley Book Club resumes its monthly meetings in Marchamley Club.

To coincide with this MBC now has its own page on this website, where anyone interested in joining can find out which books are on the reading list for the next few months, and who to contact for more information.

Earlier this year we reported on the three book clubs which are flourishing in this area. Contact details for them all are available on our Monthly Events page. The other two local Book Clubs meet in Hodnet (dates vary, in homes) and Peplow (4th Wed. in homes).

Petition to Reinstate 341/342 Buses

The Shropshire Star has today published an article here on its website highlighting a petition calling for the reintroduction of the 341 & 342 bus routes. The routes between Telford and Market Drayton was discontinued at the end of July after Telford & Wrekin Council withdrew its funding for the service.

People from villages in the local area insist it was vital for visiting Princess Royal Hospital. The Star says that more than 25 people have signed the petition but it does not say how others can add their names to it – please contact the webteam if you know how to do this and we will add the information.

The article also mentions that North Salop Wheelers is now running  a pre-booked service along the former 341/342 route. Bookings can be made by phoning 01948-880037 or texting 07943-275757 (before 7:45am on the day). More information is available on their website, including a PDF “timetable“.


Hodnet & District Garden Club Sept 2016

Hodnet & District Garden ClubNow that people are mostly back from their holidays, members of the Garden Club can look forward to another season of meetings at the Lyon Hall, Hodnet.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 20th September at 7:30pm.

Our speaker this month is Mr Harry Delaney, who taught for many years at Reaseheath. He will talk about how we can create interest and colour in our garden through the autumn and winter, under the title Extending the Season.

Visitors are most welcome. Refreshments are served after the talk, and this year all meetings are free of charge.


Frank Paddock – Local Artist?

Paddock Painting FullThe webteam have been asked if they can help find out any information about a painting of Church Street, Hodnet signed by Frank Paddock. The date on the painting is ’84 – certainly not 1984, but more likely 1884. The painting (pictured right) shows St. Luke’s Church steps, the property which is presently Mulberry Bush Studios, The Hundred House and The Bear Inn.

Fran Holt, who was bequeathed the picture by her Auntie Annie, shares the story behind it:

I am very fond of this painting of, I believe, Church Street in Hodnet. I look at it each day and wonder about the people in it. Why is that man pointing his walking stick at the pony and trap? Who is the man in the top hat who is driving it? Where is he going? What are the flower sellers talking about? And who is or was Frank Paddock?

My lovely Auntie Annie looked after me when I was a baby, 65 years ago, as my mother was too ill to do so. They were sisters and Auntie had no children of her own so I spent my first few years with her and Uncle Arthur in Market Drayton. We remained close throughout my childhood and I remember them both very fondly. Exactly thirty years ago, Auntie, who was by then a widow, wrote me a letter. She then put it with her Will so I did not receive it until after her funeral. I have it here now:

Fran Holt with her painting by Frank Paddock“Dearest Frances, I feel that my time on earth is approaching its end. You have always been very very special to me and very kind and thoughtful ever since you were a tiny little girl. I have noticed how fond you are of my Hodnet painting: you gaze at it with such a lovely smile each time you come to see me. I very much fell in love with it myself when I first saw it 2 years ago and decided I must buy it. I don’t mind admitting that it was a fair old price but I have never regretted the extravagance. Well, when I have finished with it, I want you to have it. All my love: Auntie Annie”

I wonder whether there is anyone in Hodnet who can throw some light on the picture or the artist?

The painting is an oil on canvas and measures approximately 24×18 inches. The artist’s signature is enlarged below. Paddock was not necessarily from the Hodnet, though he may have been Shropshire based. (This author has found two references to paintings by him on the internet – one of English Bridge in Shrewsbury and a water colour of Llandudno.) However, if anyone can provide more information about him, or Fran’s painting, please email David and Fran.

Paddock Painting Signature

Multiple Roadworks Planned for A53 & A41

Shropshire Council LogoResidents driving into Market Drayton will have spotted signs giving advance notice of roadworks on the A53 at Tern Hill roundabout and further away. They start in early September and are planned to last for 14 weeks.

Details of current and planned roadworks can be found on the Shropshire section of roadworks.org. Information about the works can be accessed by clicking on the icons on the map. Several icons provide information relevant to the next 3 months on the A53 between Tern Hill and Adderley Road roundabouts. The main work is the resurfacing of the carriageway between these two locations. However, also included is the construction of new roundabout by Barratt Homes/David Wilson Homes to the north-east of Rush Lane. Work on the A53 is scheduled to take place between 5 September and 9 December.

Between 18 October and 29 November, the resurfacing work will be extended to cover Tern Hill roundabout and the other three approaches to it. Resurfacing on the Hodnet side of the A53 will be between Lostford Junction and the roundabout. Northwards on the A41 the work is described as going as far as Bletchley, whilst to the south the section to be resurfaced extends to Sweet Appletree Crossroads.

The roads will not be closed during the work but traffic will be controlled by a mixture of two-way and multi-way signals.

It is not difficult to imagine that this autumn travel will be difficult between Hodnet and Drayton. Hopefully, being forewarned will help us all to be prepared.

Please let the webteam know if you have any further information so we can share it with other local residents.

Police appeal for witnesses after break in

Neighbourhood WatchToday (16/8/16) West Mercia Police have appealed for information about a brake in which occurred last Sunday, 14 August.

The Neighbourhood Watch Update describes the property as being in Wellington Road, Hodnet – presumably somewhere on the A442. The offence took place between 3.30pm-9.30pm. A quantity of cash and jewellery, and a small jewellery box were stolen.

Anyone with information should contact the West Mercia Force Control Roomphone by dailing non-emergency police telephone number 101. Please quote the OIS incident reference 0814s 140816.

Have you seen this Turaco?

Missing Livingstone's TuracoLindsey Williams has contacted the web team with this message:

Lost in Hodnet a Livingstone’s Turaco.

His aviary companion is missing him.

The bird has turned in feet and is unsteady on them.

If anyone spots him please ring Wendy Williams on 01630 684086 or message Lindsey on Facebook.

Antiques Valuation Day – September 2016

Bear with Carriage ClockFrom 10.00am – 4.00 pm, Thursday 8 September, at The Bear, Hodnet.

Midlands Air AmbulanceFree valuations of collectables, jewellery, ceramics and other antiques.

Hansons and The Bear both support the Midlands Air Ambulance Service and donations can be made on the day.

Items can be accepted into forthcoming Hansons Auctions.

For more information please telephone 01630-685214 or email

Have Your Say on 2 important issues

Shropshire Council LogoShropshire Council have in the last few days announced two community consultations on topics which may be of interest to local residents.

Recently, we published a post which highlighted that not everyone in the Hodnet is able to  benefit from the faster broadband roll-out. Last week the Council launched a consultation requesting comments in relation to basic and NGA broadband infrastructure within the Shropshire Council area and wishes to hear from all relevant stakeholders (including residents and businesses as well as broadband infrastructure operators).

Click here to visit the broadband consultation web page. Closes 5 September 2016.

For those who enjoy walking another recent consultation is seeking residents views about a proposed designation of a ‘Shropshire Way Main Route’ and the line it should take. Development of the route since it was first introduced has made it more of a web of paths than a single route. There are 4 different routes proposed and respondents are asked to look at each and decide which they prefer. Comments can be submitted via the consultation.

Click here to visit the Shropshire Way consultation web page. Closes 18 September 2016.

Both on-line questionnaires are short and once you have considered the documentation and thought about your response, will only take a short time to complete.

A41 Reopened!

Site of the demolished house at ShakefordShropshire Council announced here this afternoon(7/8/16), that the A41 between Tern Hill and Newport would be reopened at 2pm.

On Friday it was thought that it would not be possible to open it until Monday, but good work by the contractors enabled it the closure to be terminated ahead of schedule. The picture on the right shows the cleared site.

Councillor Simon Jones Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport said;

I would like to thank everyone who has worked tirelessly to ensure that the work carried out have been as done as effectively and efficiently as possible – they should be commended for their work.


Hodnet Man’s Historic Grave

The grade I St Lukes Church.

Recently the web-team were contacted by someone asking permission to use a photograph from our website on a local history site. It was not the first time we have had such a request and the photographer, Geoff Potter, was very happy to grant them permission. The image in question is of St. Luke’s Church (right). What made this request different is the fascinating story which motivated it.

The local history concerned is mainly on the far side of the world – in Australia, thought it starts with the birth of a baby boy right here in Hodnet. Henry Edward Dodd, the son of Ralph and Sarah, was baptised on 1 September 1748 at St. Luke’s Church, Hodnet. But it was not in Shropshire where he became prominent.

Aged around 15 Dodd moved south to Lyndhurst in Hampshire where he found employment as a farm labourer. The owner, Arthur Phillip, was quickly impressed by Dodd’s abilities and thus began a long association between the two. Phillip took Dodd with him when he captained the “First Fleet” of convicts to be sent to Australia. Phillip was appointed the Colony’s first Governor and searched for a good place for the first settlement. In time Dodd was given the task of organising the clearing and cultivating of the ground; his workforce consisted of one hundred convicts.

Phillip expected that he and Dodd would one day return together to Britain, but things took an unexpected turn in January 1791. Dodd was woken during the night by some of his “staff” stealing produce from his own garden. Dodd had been unwell for some months and was no longer young. He chased the intruders for several hours wearing only a shirt. This proved too much for his weakened state and he died that night.

Plaque on Henry Dodd's graveHenry Dodd was buried in what is now Parramatta, today a suburb of Sydney and a major central business district [Google Map]. His grave is the earliest known, undisturbed European one with headstone in situ in Australia. This is why this story has come to light now. There is now a St. John’s Cemetery Project with those involved researching the stories behind the graves in what is Australia’s oldest surviving European cemetery. Of those graves Dodd’s is one of the most significant.

You can read more about this local man who left for Hampshire and ended up as a pioneer settler in Australia on The St. John’s Cemetery Project’s website.

Michaela Ann Cameron of The St. John’s Cemetery Project has given us permission to use two of her photographs on the Hodnet website. The one above is of a plaque added to the grave, whilst below is a picture of the whole grave. The bushel of wheat and large cabbage commemorate Dodd’s achievements at successfully cultivating crops, enabling the colony to become self-sufficient.

Henry Dodd's grave

Parish Council Meeting – Sep 16

15th September 2016 7.30pm at Lyon Hall, Hodnet

Theft from Medical Practice

Yesterday, the Shropshire Star published a report which included a brief statement about a theft of a purse from Hodnet Medical Practice. The report headlined a theft of items from Boots in Market Drayton.

The final paragraph relates to the incident in Hodnet:

Meanwhile, police are also appealing for information about a theft at Hodnet Medical Practice on July 25, where £60 and credit cards were stolen from a purse belonging to a member of staff.

Anyone with information about this offence should call police on 101.

Update: A41 closed until Mid-August

UPDATE: 7 August 2016 – The A41 has been REOPENED – more details

UPDATE: 5 August 2016

This afternoon Shropshire Council posted here an update on the status of the damaged property adjacent to the A41 at Shakeford. The property was completely demolished yesterday and a site meeting today deemed that the carriageway was safe. Work then began to fill in the cellar with compacted hardcore, and then to remove demolished material from the site. The insurance company’s contractor has told the Council that they expect to complete this phase of the work no later than Sunday morning. The Council’s highways team will arrange for the necessary remedial works to be done on Sunday and it is anticipated that the road will reopen sometime on Monday. Earlier in the day the Shropshire Star published an update on yesterday’s demolition which features a rather underwhelming video of the site.

UPDATE: 4 August 2016

Shropshire Council have announced here this morning that the decision has been made to demolish the whole house damaged when a lorry ran into it last week. It is hoped that this will enable to a A41 to be reopened sooner than suggested below. The Shropshire Star report on the decision here, which has been made because the property “continues to pose a serious risk to members of the public and contractors”. The picture below is from the Star’s report.

Original Report

Shropshire Council LogoThis afternoon (29/7/16) Shropshire Council have updated information on the closure of the A41 at at Shakeford, Hinstock. The announcement here on the Newsroom website reads:

A41 update as of Friday 29 July at 3.40pm.

A41 scheduled to remain closed till mid-August, due to complexities around the removal of listed building.

Following the vehicle incident at Shakeford, Hinstock on the A41 this week, work is now being undertaken by the owners insurance company who are overseeing the operation to demolish a large section of the property.

However due to the conservation of the building, it cannot just be demolished with a crane or bulldozer and has to be done almost piece by piece while preserving as much of the materials as possible.

A demolition contractor is now currently working on a complex programme of work which is scheduled to start on Monday 1 August following essential health and safety checks.

Once the building is down, the impact of the crash on the cellar will be assessed as it appears  that the cellar wall on the road side is bulging, which could imply damage to the road.  This could result in reinforcement work being done to either the cellar or the road. This reinforcement work will need to be carried out before the road can be reopened, as the weight and pressure caused by opening a running lane for traffic, even under signals, could cause further damage.

The insurance company and the surveyor will continue to provide us with daily updates and have informed the council that the work will be done as quickly as possible but within the parameters of safety. Work will continue on the site after the road is reopened.

The current timescale for the closure is for mid-August but as soon as traffic lights can be installed to replace the closure they will be; however until the condition of the cellar is known, we cannot remove the closure.

We’ll provide further updates as and when work progresses.

A report published earlier today on the Shropshire Star’s website carried the headline, Shropshire A41 lorry crash: Work goes on to make house safe as road to stay closed for the weekend. That has now been superseded by a story picking up on the above announcement, A41 lorry crash: Road closed until mid-August as house is taken down brick by brick. Both reports carry this picture of the house after the lorry had been removed.

Hinstock house damaged by lorry

See our previous report here.

Have Your Say on Shropshire’s Sports Facilities

Shropshire Council LogoShropshire Council has announced a consultation on its Draft Sports Facilities Strategy 2016 – 2037. Details can be found on this page on its website.

The consultation opened today (29/7/16) and will be open for responses until 30th September. It covers all aspects of Council supported sports and leisure facilities. The consultation document, can be downloaded from the above web-page, is 125 pages long and makes 7 recommendations. Responses to it are to be submitted by email to the address provided.

Shropshire Council states:

The most recent Leisure Facilities strategy, produced on behalf of Shropshire Council in 2009, is no longer fit for purpose; the landscape has changed considerably since then, both financially and from a local policy perspective.

Consequently, we’re seeking views on the ‘Draft Sports Facilities Strategy 2016 – 2037’, out to public consultation until 30 September 2016. The document is based on the need to identify a future for leisure facilities that are affordable, sustainable, future proofed and that deliver value for money.