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Local history

View information about the Community History Centre at Wellington Library holds the main local history resources covering the areas and communities now within the borough, on microfilm, fiche or online formats.

There is a fiche/film reader with printing facilities at Wellington Library, it is advisable to book in advance. 

Census returns

A national census has been held every ten years since 1801. The early censuses are scarce and incomplete but from 1841 they contain vital information about individuals, families, communities and how they lived and worked. The most recent census available to researchers is 1911.

At the Community History Centre at Wellington Library there are fiche copies of the 1841-1901 censuses for the area covered by the modern Borough. Newport library has fiche copies of the 1881 census for Shropshire and a fiche copy of the 1881 census for Staffordshire.

Visit the Ancestry website for information about the census returns from 1841 to 1911. Library members can access this free of charge at any Telford & Wrekin libraries. View the locations of libraries in Telford and Wrekin.


Before 1800 the UK was mapped in a series of small-scale county maps. Local sections of these are reproduced in the Documents concerning the Parish of... Series.

From 1836 until 1850's a tithe map was produced for each parish. These are large scale maps, in which each parish is divided into numbered plots. This was to identify landowners for commutation of tithes into money payment.

Madeley Library has a copy, for the Parish of Madeley, dated 1847, which covers the Ironbridge Gorge. The maps are the basis for the field name maps available in the local libraries. A collection of similar maps are available to view at the Community History Centre, Wellington Library.

Ordnance survey maps began in the 1800s. The main series of 1:25000 were produced in three editions: 

  • First 1881-2
  • Second 1901-2
  • Third 1926-7.

The Community History Centre at Wellington Library holds microfiche copies of all three editions for most of Shropshire. Paper copies of the maps are held in the branch libraries. There is an index in each library listing the editions and locations of these maps.

The Community History Centre holds fiche copies of the 1:10560 maps, dated 1891, 1901-2 and 1920s and 1:1250 maps for the 1970s.

There is a digitised collection of some maps covering Wellington held in the centre on two computers. These maps cover various periods and places in and around the town from 1626 - 1877.

Visit the National Library of Scotland website to view the historic OS maps of England and Wales 1842 - 1952.

Visit the old-maps website to view older ordnance survey maps for the whole of the United Kingdom can be viewed online.


The earliest Shropshire newspaper was the Shrewsbury Chronicle first published in 1772. From 1794 it had a rival Community Centre entitled the Salopian Journal. From the 1850’s onwards, the smaller Shropshire towns started their own local papers, so the two Shrewsbury papers came to be more concerned with the town and its immediate surroundings. However, the Shrewsbury Chronicle and Wellington Journal were distributed widely in the county in the 20th Century and are worth consulting for reports of places some distance from these towns.

Newspapers are a valuable primary resource for local and family historians.

Community History Centre at Wellington Library

  • You can access the following newspapers at Wellington Library via microfilm: 
    • Shropshire News, Wellington Advertiser and Mineral District Reporter 1855 - 1874 
    • Wellington Advertiser and Railway Messenger 1850, 1852 - 1854 
    • Wellington Journal 1854 - 1970 
    • Wellington Standard and Local Reporter for Shifnal, Oakengates etc 1888 - 1891 
    • Wrekin Local Salopian Herald and All Round the Wrekin Advertiser 1881.

Newport Library

  • You can access the following newspapers at Newport Library via microfilm: 
    • Newport Advertiser 1855 - 1950 (incomplete) 
    • Newport Recorder 1930 - 1936. 

Telford Journal 1985 to date - hard copy

  • Contact your local library for information.

Parish documents

A series of publications were produced in the 1980s, in which samples of key documents for particular parishes and topics of county history were brought together in the one publication. These are called Parish Documents..

Although the administrative boundaries in the Telford and Wrekin area have undergone considerable changes in recent years, in compiling these documents, the parish boundaries specified in Bagshaw's Directory of Shropshire (1851) have been followed as far as possible. Some areas are split between two or more parishes, in which case they have been placed in the parish in which they best fit.

Topic packs

  • Agriculture.
  • Crime and punishment.
  • English Civil War.
  • Natural disasters.
  • Rural life.
  • Stiperstones.
  • Victorian Education.
  • Wells.
  • Workhouses.
  • World War 1. 
  • World War 2.

Parish registers

The library service holds microfiche copies of registers at the Community History Centre at Wellington Library covering christenings, marriages and burials.

Download the Index to parish registers which are held at the Community History Centre in Wellington Library. View information about Wellington Library.

The Shropshire Collection is now available on Find My Past covering baptisms, banns, marriages and burials up to 1900. This is available with free library membership on all library computers.

The International Genealogical Index (IGI) acts as an index to the baptism and marriage registers of many parishes in the UK. The IGI does not cover burial registers. Most of the names indexed come from records dating from the early 1500s to 1875. The entries always need corroborating for accuracy.

Where you can find the IGI?

Trade directories

Trade directories developed to fulfil a role very similar to today’s business directories, to advertise the location of local businesses and tradespeople. They generally start in the late eighteenth century and are arranged by town or parish and contain information such as:

  • short history of the town or parish
  • population of towns and parishes
  • churches, schools, postal services, other public institutions
  • lists of prominent people and private residents
  • list of tradesmen and women.

For family historians these directories complement census returns and can be useful for tracking families between census years.

Microfiche copies of county and trade directories, dating from the 1830s - 1941 are available at the Community History Centre at Wellington library.

Branch libraries hold photocopies of the relevant part of the directories covering their localities.

Visit the University of Leicester website for historical directories for Shropshire, and all English counties.

Last updated: 09/03/2023 13:44

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