The Friends of Shropshire Archives was formed in 1991 after a series of meetings of users of Shropshire Archives who realised the staff could not be everywhere and do everything. Our first local history day was held in Shifnal church and members of the Friends gave talks and guided walks. We less accomplished made the tea!. Since then we have visited all four corners of the county from Richard’s Castle in the south to Whitchurch in the north and Llanymynech in the west to Newport in the east.
Every year we arrange a number of different events for our members. These provide opportunities to meet other people with similar interests, learn about some aspect of Shropshire’s history, and raise funds to support Shropshire Archives.
Recent activities included visits to three privately-owned properties of historical interest not open to the public, complete with a guided tour and delicious afternoon tea. These take place in the summer months and are popular with our members.
We have also held local history days in some of Shropshire’s towns and villages. These allow a more in-depth look at the history of each place with guided walks and presentations by local historians with particular special interests in each area. Our last local history day was in Much Wenlock.
Sometime we celebrate the work of special people who have made a significant contribution to Shropshire’s history such as Ken Jones, whose in-depth knowledge and study of the parishes making up the Madeley Union was unsurpassed and who formed an oral history society to record the memories of the people who lived there. In April 2015 we co-hosted a special event with Shifnal Local History Group to recognise the extraordinary work and talents of the late Dr Sylvia Watts in her home town of Shifnal.
We also have themed days like the amazing music day held at Concord College, Acton Burnell in 2010 which culminated in a concert by John Kirkpatrick, the reknowned folk musician.
Our annual (and short) AGM is held in June in conjunction with a special event of historical significance. In 2014, for example, we were privileged to have a private tour of the new Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery in its opening year. 2011 saw us at the Mythstory Museum of Myth and Fable in Wem and 2005 at Sleap Airfield.
The Friends of Shropshire Archives is a registered charity (number 1014458) established in 1991 to support and promote the work of Shropshire Archives.