Newport is a thriving market town on the Shropshire / Staffordshire border. According to the 2011 census profile the Town had a population of 11,536 and extends over an area of 413 hectares.
The origins of the Town date back to the 12th century and it was granted a borough charter by Henry I. The Town’s crest shows three fish reflecting it’s history as a provider of fish to the Royal Household in the early 12th century courtesy of the many pools in the area.
town was incorporated in 1551 by Edward V and the charter was confirmed by James I in 1604 with a town governing body led by a Lord Steward.
Many original buildings were destroyed by fire in 1665 but a few of the medieval buildings, including the historic Guildhall, remain amongst the predominantly Georgian and Victorian buildings on the High Street.
By the early 19th century the pools had mostly gone and the Town was at the centre of the local agricultural community, and it retains strong links with this sector today. During the mid- 19th century the author Charles Dickens was a visitor to the town, staying in the Bear Hotel. It is believed that Miss Havisham (a character in Great Expectations 1861) was based on Elizabeth Parker, a recluse who lived at Chetwynd House in Newport.
During the Second World War the town was lucky not to sustain serious damage on Christmas Eve 1944 when a V1 flying bomb aimed at Manchester landed in a field adjacent to the main road just to the East of the town. The remains of the bomb are on display in the museum at nearby RAF Cosford.
The early 1960s saw the expansion of manufacturing in the local area but this had largely gone by the mid -1980s.
Today the town is the main centre for the agricultural sector on the Shropshire / Staffordshire border. The Newport Show is one of the main agricultural shows in the West Midlands region and attracts thousands of visitors every year. The local Harper Adams University is a specialist university at the forefront of agricultural innovation and is working with the local councils and the Telford Enterprise Hub on the new Innovation Business Park which is being built on the edge of the town. This will bring hundreds of jobs in agricultural technology and research to the area.
The University is also the site of one of the town’s most famous records. On 10th January 1982 a MET Office researcher recorded the lowest temperature ever recorded in England – minus 26°C!
The town holds a host of community events throughout the year, including an Old Tyme Market, an annual carnival, the Christmas lights switch-on, floral competitions run by Newport In Bloom, St George's day celebrations and its own internationally renowned floodlight cycle race – the Nocturne. Newport also has its own canal section with a recently modernised towpath, for a gentle stroll adjacent to the town's 'Victoria Park'. The canal is generally used for fishing, however work to extend the canal at its eastern end is underway with the aspiration to join up with the canal at Norbury Junction. Newport is also connected to the national cycle route with Ironbridge, Telford and Stafford being easily accessible by bike.
The retail and hospitality businesses in and around the High Street ensure that retail continues to be a significant part of the towns economy, supplemented in recent years by the large shopping areas built around the A41 corridor to the East of the town centre.