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Stafford

Stafford is the county town of Staffordshire, in the West Midlands of England. It lies approximately 16 miles (26 km) north of Wolverhampton, 18 miles (29 km) south of Stoke-on-Trent and 24 miles (39 km) north-west of Birmingham. The population of the Borough of Stafford is the fourth largest in the county after Stoke-on-Trent, Tamworth and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

It is thought Stafford was founded about 700 AD by a Mercian prince called Bertelin who, according to legend, established a hermitage on the peninsula named Betheney.

Already a centre for the delivery of grain tribute during the Early Middle Ages, Stafford was commandeered in July 913 AD by Æthelflæd, Lady of Mercia, in order to construct a burh there. This new burh was fortified and provided with an industrial area for the centralised production of Roman-style pottery ("Stafford Ware") which was supplied to the chain of West Midland’s burhs. 

Stafford Castle is an ancient Grade II listed building that lies two miles to the west of Stafford. The stone building is an important early example of a 14th-century keep, later redesigned in a Gothic Revival style. The structure was built on the foundations of its medieval predecessor and incorporates much of the original stonework.

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre is the town's main entertainment and cultural venue. The Met Studio within the Gatehouse is a dedicated venue for stand-up comedy and alternative live music. There is an art gallery in the Shire Hall. Staffordshire County Showground, just outside the town, is the venue for many national and local events.

Victoria Park, opened in 1908, is a 13 acre (53,000 m2) Edwardian riverside park with a play park, bowling green, bird cages and greenhouses; Victoria Park has recently undergone a major redevelopment in places, incorporating a new children's play area, new sand and water jet area which has replaced the previous open-air paddling pool and also a brand new bmx/skateboard area. Stafford is also home to a 9 hole golf course near the town centre.

Stafford Borough Council: www.staffordbc.gov.uk/