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29 October 2014

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Oakengates theatre
Oakengates theatre

Oakengates town guide

Hemmed in by the Queensway road on one side, Wombridge to the north west Ketley to west, and Ketley Bank to the south west, Oakengates has still managed to assert itself as a vibrant and dynamic town.

Whether it's a visit to the theatre (Telford's only major theatre), nightclubs, pubs, live music, dining out, trying your hand at martial arts, or a visit to the nearby leisure centre, Oakengates has plenty to do for such a small town. It's particularly developed a name for itself as the centre for nightlife in the Telford area.

Like many other small towns in the vicinity, Oakengates was at the centre of the industrial revolution. The abundance of wood, coal, iron and other minerals meant that Oakengates was perfectly positioned to make the most of a new hunger for iron and engineering goods.

Transport links also grew, firstly canals and then later the railways.

Priorslee furnaces (Photo Dr Tim Hughes)
Priorslee furnaces

But like other nearby towns, Oakengates suffered with the decline of the industrial age and then had to reinvent itself with the arrival of Telford New Town in 1963 (originally called Dawley New Town, until 1968). Although this would prove a tough time, Oakengates suffered less than some of its neighbours.

Oakengates has in many respects found itself at the heart of Telford.

Oakengates Theatre (owned by Telford & Wrekin Borough Council) is the largest theatre in Shropshire, with a capacity of just under 650. Alongside the Shrewsbury Music Hall, Oakengates is one of the premiere entertainment venues in the area, attracting some of the biggest names in music, theatre and comedy.

The biggest event of the year is undoubtedly the Christmas pantomime, which entertains more than 15,000 people each year!

Oakengates Youth Theatre offers a range of drama activities every Sunday during termtime. It also performs a number of popular productions through the year.

The Oakengates Leisure Centre opened in 1977 and, although officially situated in Wrockwardine Wood, is very much connected with the Oakengates community. The centre offers a 25 metre public swimming pool, four badminton courts, a five-a-side football pitch, a gym and a variety of other facilities and clubs.

The leisure centre also boasts the Telford Athletics Stadium (opened in 1991). The 400 metre floodlit synthetic track and field stadium is one of the best in the area and is home to the Telford Athletics club.

Both the theatre and leisure centre also organise a large range of youth activities throughout the year, often in partnership with local schools.

Oakengates station (photo Dr Tim Hughes)
Oakengates station

Oakengates Library, located next to the theatre on Limes Walk, is open four days a week to service the local community.

The town is also fairly well serviced by transport links. Within striking distance of the M54, Oakengates also has one of the few railway stations in the area. It's also well serviced by local buses.

You can check out the situation on the roads and railway on our travel section.

Telford town centre may be just down the road, but Oakengates' own shops offer a huge range of goods from food to hardware. Meanwhile the open air market in Limes Walk on Friday and Saturday is also very popular.

last updated: 14/04/05
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