Telford HistoryTelford People

Horse Racing and Bull Baiting in Oakengates

Local historian and blogger, Anth Rowley, takes a trip around Oakengates and St Georges, revealing a surprising past involving a long forgotten horse racing track, revelry and celebrations, and a fact about Bull Baiting.

From the blog…

“And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time is the title to William Blake’s poem that was a preface to his epic ‘Milton: A Poem in Two Books‘. But many will recognise it as the opening line to the Hymn ‘Jerusalem‘.

Blake wrote the poem in 1804, with those words being set to music (by Sir Hubert Parry) in 1916. The hymn is now almost universally seen as an English patriotic anthem.

While being able to hum the tune of Jerusalem, along with the opening line, there are another two lines that many people will recognise and probably be able to quote ‘Among those Dark Satanic Mills’ and ‘Bring me my Chariots of Fire’.

Those two lines provide hooks to describe how the East Shropshire town of Oakengates and the village of St Georges (both are now integral constituents of Telford New Town) played a part in the path to Great Britain’s glory at the Paris Olympics in 1924 – 100-years before this year’s Olympic Games in the same City.”


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