Raven Meadows: New Film Captures Shrewsbury Riverside History
01 Aug 2022

Shrewsbury's Riverside area has seen huge changes over the past 150 years and is set to be completely transformed under the Big Town Plan.

A wonderful new film uses archive material to capture changes to Shrewsbury riverside through history - 'Shrewsbury's Field of Dreams' is created by Shropshire Council and narrated by local historian Phil Scoggins.

No other area of Shrewsbury town centre has seen such great change over such a short period of time as the area known as Raven Meadows, between the main shopping streets and the River Severn.

The Riverside area is set for another great transformation under the Smithfield Riverside Development Framework - which could include a quayside, new homes, hotels, a new HQ for Shropshire Council and a leisure facility including a cinema. This would see the demolition of The Riverside Shopping Centre, the former Riverside Medical Practice and the Pride Hill Centre.

The fascinating new video collaboration between Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, Shropshire Archives and the Old Market Hall explores the rapidly changing look and feel of Raven Meadows. Using a raft of images from the archives, the film illustrates the rich history of this area and chronicles the changes over the past 150 years. 

Local historian Phil Scoggins has used the information to research and narrate the film, which has been created by Shropshire Council reprographics officer Nat Stevenson with the assistance of Mike Wilde, a technician at the council-owned Theatre Severn.

The 40-minute video takes viewers around the perimeter of Raven Meadows down Meadow Place, along Smithfield Road, up Roushill and along the backs of Pride Hill and Castle Street, before turning its attention to the ever-changing area in the middle. Phil Scoggins tells us about the homes of medieval merchants, Roushill’s colourful past, and the lofty but doomed ambitions of 1960s architects.

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, culture, leisure and tourism, and transport, said: "This video shows how Raven Meadows has changed and adapted over many years to meet the differing needs of the town and its population.

“It is of great value that Shropshire Museums & Archives service has the evidence and documentation to illustrate the changes, and with Phil’s informed narrative take us on such an interesting journey through time.”

Fay Bailey, Shropshire Council’s museums and archive manager, added: "This fascinating film uses a carefully researched selection of images and archive footage to help us to understand changes and developments over time.

“As Raven Meadows is about to undergo another exciting transformation, we hope the interesting stories the film reveals will help to shape the future of this important part of Shrewsbury.”

A previous collaboration looked at Shrewsbury’s West End and the changing face of Barker Street, Bridge Street and Hill’s Lane.

Shropshire Council is seeking Government 'Levelling Up' funding to help accelerate the Smithfield Riverside improvements. If successful, more detailed proposals will follow, with input from partners and close engagement with residents, organisations, community groups and businesses.