Buoyed by my successes In Brewood and Gnosall I set off in the gathering gloom to take a look at Market Drayton. Matilda was weary from the three mile trek into Gnosall so I took this stroll on my own, the evening sunshine sinking low into the sky.
Market Drayton parish church
The town of Market Drayton is set back a good mile to the west of the canal but can be reached after a brisk 20 min walk.
Detailing from arond the church
In the event the town turned out to be a bit of a sad place. At it's core it is very attractive , mainly built in the 1700's and early 1800's with it's shops clustered around a market square. The town was clearly very prosperous in the past, and the construction of the canal seems to have heralded a golden age. The chief engineer built a huge mansion near the canal, a building which now houses the towns secondary school in considerable style.
Closed for business
However, recent years have not been kind to the place. Today, the shopping area stands folorn and empty - I counted 9 empty shops in a row, clustered round the rotting shell of what was once Woolworths. Now there is almost nothing left and with so few shops the town centre has dropped below the critical mass for viability and I can see little to attract the shoppers in. No doubt the town has its share of supermarkets on the periphery, but the centre has really lost the plot.
Faded 18th century glory
The one boom industry is take aways - they are everywhere catering for every taste. All froth and no substance I am afraid.
The town does still boast a good selection of interesting architecture, all in various stages of decay which is at least good for photography.