|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2008)|
Oakengates shown within Shropshire
|OS grid reference|
|Unitary authority||Telford and Wrekin|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||West Midlands|
Oakengates is a town in the borough of Telford and Wrekin and ceremonial county of Shropshire, England, and now forms part of the new town of Telford. The parish's population was recorded as 8,517 in the 2001 census.
The name has nothing to do with Oak or Gates but is derived from the Ancient Brythonic name for the valley which was Usc-con, meaning The Lake(Usc(water) and the confluence(Cond) of two streams (see Cartlidge), and from the Old Norse gata, path; see gh- in Indo-European roots. meaning boundary or Road. So Usc-con gait is at the Road at the vale of Usc-con. A history of Oakengates was written by local historian Reverend J.E.G. Cartlidge whose name is commemorated in the name of the retirement home Cartlidge House.
In the late 18th century the Ketley Canal was constructed to carry coal and ironstone from Oakengates to Ketley works. The canal has long since fallen into disuse and little trace of it can be found today. The first boat lift in Britain was an experimental one built at Oakengates in 1794 by Robert Weldon of Lichfield. A full scale version was to be built on the Somerset Coal Canal at Rowley Bottom near Combe Hay, but the lift jammed and failed while being demonstrated and the construction was abandoned. The town had a considerable manufacturing sector well into the c20 and one of the products of this can still be seen at the Museum of Power in Langford, Essex. This has, still in working order, what is believed to be the last steam engine built and installed by the Lilleshall Company Ltd. It was commissioned on 13 January 1931. Shadrach Fox ran the Wombridge Iron Works in Oakengates and with Abraham Darby was involved in experiments on methods of producing pig iron in a blast furnace fuelled by coke rather than charcoal. This was a major step forward in the production of iron as a raw material for the Industrial Revolution . In 1701 he placed his brother in charge of the blast furnace, at Wombridge to which Isaac Hawkins supplied a large quantity of coal and ironstone, which suggests that they already smelted iron with coke there - a major technological breakthrough which is now solely commemorated at nearby Coalbrookdale. Ferrous_metallurgy
Oakengates has Telford's main theatre. Nearby are the town council's headquarters and the United Reformed/Methodist church. The town has a growing reputation as offering an "all year real ale festival". It has three pubs in the CAMRA guide (2015) more than many towns very much greater in size. These are the Crown Inn, The Old Fighting Cocks and The Station Inn which are all within a few feet of each other and collectively offer a wide range of real ales, principally from smaller breweries. Over 20 can typically be found at any one time and special beer festivals at the individual pubs can expand this range even further at certain times of year.
Urban District Council
Before the formation of the District of The Wrekin (Telford) and later the Borough of Telford and The Wrekin, the Urban District of Oakengates comprised Oakengates, Wrockwardine Wood, St. George's, Priorslee, Snedshill, The Nabb, Wombridge and Trench, and always had a Labour council.