It was food that first put Market Drayton in the north-east corner of Shropshire on the map.
And that tradition has continued ever since, with the town being famous for its gingerbread as well as being the location for two major food-processing firms.
And this year sees the
150th anniversary of meat-processing firm Palethorpes and the tenth anniversary
of dairy giant Müller arriving in the town, where it has
its UK headquarters.
Market Drayton, with its black and white half-timbered and red sandstone buildings, has also laid claim to the title of the “home of the sausage roll”, with Palethorpes saying it is the biggest producer.
It was the town’s famous son, Robert Clive, who helped bring the taste for Indian food not only to Market Drayton but to Britain as a whole.
His name is now celebrated in a revival of the Clive pies.
The little pies were rediscovered by Shropshire visitors at patisseries in Pezenas, Market Drayton’s French twin town, where they had been made for 200 years.
In times gone by, Market Drayton was famed for its damson fairs when textile makers from the north would buy the damsons to make dye for their cloth.
July 3-6 sees the return of the popular Taste of the Town exhibition, when Market Drayton’s links with food will be promoted.
The exhibition will demonstrate the links the town has with food, and organisers are hoping to get producers from around the Market Drayton area to bring along their products.
It was in 1245 that a market was first set up in Market Drayton, and stalls line the centre of the town every Wednesday for the lively attraction.
There’s also a market hall.
Market Drayton has several pubs, eating places and currently four supermarkets, with German discount supermarket chain Lidl waiting to find out when it can demolish the derelict former Somerfield supermarket building, which it bought around two years ago.
The dilapidated building had been given special preservation status by English Heritage because of its unique “hyperbolic parabolic” roof.
The Shropshire Union Canal winds its way past and through the town and continues to attract visitors on boats.
Improvements have been made to the A53 between Tern Hill and the Müller island.
A scheme is also underway which will see a bypass around nearby Hodnet.
There is a library, a tourist information centre and a popular swimming pool.
The town’s secondary Grove School also won specialist language college status.
Moves to have a sports centre in the town are also being looked at by district council bosses.
Market Drayton, which has a livestock market and a magistrates court, has no purpose-built cinema but films are shown regularly at the Festival Drayton Centre in Frogmore Road, where there are plans for a modern events complex.
One of Market Drayton’s most historic buildings, the nineteenth-century Pell Wall Hall, designed by Sir John Soane, is being sold after plans to transform the building as part of a new multi-million-pound TV makeover fell through.
Nearby there are the award-winning gardens of Hodnet and Wollerton Old Hall, Dorothy Clive Gardens and Bridgemere Garden World.