Wilfred Owen spent his formative years living in Shrewsbury in the period leading up to the First World War. He arrived in the town on a cold, wet night in January 1907 with his parents Tom and Susan, and siblings Harold, Mary and Colin. Tom had secured a good job at Shrewsbury Station, and while the family was never well-to-do the post meant they were able to live comfortably in a Shrewsbury recognisable to this day: the old town encircled by its loop of the River Severn; the tightly packed medieval streets and stately Abbey; the bridges, roads and railway lines that radiate out into Shropshire beyond. The modest houses that were home to the Owen family can also still be seen.
Today, it is hard to imagine Wilfred Owen – one of England’s most admired war poets – for what he was then: just another ambitious but uncertain adolescent, puzzling out his place in the world. He arrived in Shrewsbury as a 14-year-old schoolboy, yet headed to war just 11 years later as a young man determined to make his mark in the world as a poet – something he achieved despite his untimely death in 1918.
Wilfred Owen’s Shrewsbury offers both an intimate account of Wilfred’s family life in Shrewsbury, and an atmospheric portrait of the town during the early years of the twentieth century, richly illustrated with archival photographs.
Paperback | 144 pages | 242 x 171 mm | 2018
76 b&w illustrations