Love ShrewsburyThe wrap has officially been taken off an exciting new website for Shrewsbury today. Love Shrewsbury has been set-up to celebrate everything that is positive about the county town, promising to deliver the very best for Shrewsbury in terms of news, what’s on, business and much more.
brings together various strands and areas of the town – and the site has immediately been attracting positive feedback from Councillors, local townspeople and business owners within hours of launching. There is already the unique chance for visitors to the website to enter a competition to win free tickets to the Fields Forever festival at the Shrewsbury Showground in September.

The What’s On zone of the website enables people to discover the wide variety of events that are taking place across the town and this is enhanced by the Tourism area, which highlights things of interest to those considering spending a day, weekend or even a week in Shrewsbury. A Community zone will showcase worthwhile community initiatives and is destined to become a popular feature with site visitors, whilst other areas of the new website include Pulse, an area for younger residents of the town – and finally business, for the commercial community of Shrewsbury.

The Love Shrewsbury site has been set-up via a partnership of Michael Tinkler from the increasingly popular Severn Magazine, Peter White and Nathan Bensley-Edwards from The Web Orchard and Habib Malik-Mansell, Marketing Assistant at the Hive in Shrewsbury.

Habib Malik-Mansell said “We are excited to finally be launching the Love Shrewsbury website. Based on the positive response so far, we are confident that the Love Shrewsbury website is just what is needed to promote all that is positive about the town, encouraging a sense of community and pride in everything that Shrewsbury has to offer – for both those who live and work here, plus tourists from elsewhere”.

People are invited to check out the new website for themselves, by visiting

Olympic Torch

By Pete | @kingpetey | 30 May 2012

On Wed 30th May 2012 the Olympic Torch passed through Shrewsbury.

People waiting for the torch.

The torch being carried through the town.

Shrewsbury based Information Solutions Limited have won an award at the Mayor of Shrewsbury annual awards ceremony. The award was presented by the mayor in recognition of Information Solutions’ “outstanding contribution to the community in the business sector”.

On receiving the award, company director Simon Atkin said: “It’s great to be recognised for the hard work we do in the town helping local businesses with their IT requirements. We’ve been helping local companies to improve their competitive edge with advanced information technology for the last nine years. Information Solutions also trade as The Web Orchard and we’ve been very involved with local creatives to add web development to our portfolio. We like to think that the services we provide are of great benefit to the town”.

Mayor Tony Durnell with Pete White

Presented by Mayor of Shrewsbury, Councillor Tony Durnell, the awards are held annually at the town’s Guildhall and cover categories including Business, the Environment, Tourism, Community and Youth activities. Shrewsbury takes civic pride in being an innovative and dynamic area for businesses.

Information Solutions have been providing IT Support and Services to businesses throughout The Midlands and Wales since 2003. They serve some of the largest - and smallest - organisations in the area from their offices in The Pump House, Shrewsbury. The company provides a wide range of services, from advanced ecommerce websites and advanced network installations through to computer maintenance and IT consulting services.


Chris Pritchard from & Pete White with their respective awards.

Simon Atkin with the award.

It's ten times harder to build your own website. With a customers site you can find out exactly what they want, make suggestions of what they could do and come up with a specification covering the site plan, design, structure etc.

When building your own website however you already know what you do as you do it every day yet it seems a whole lot harder turning that into an appealing website. 

As with most of our projects we turned to our designer to put together the graphical elements. We've been slowly building on our marketing material over the past 18 months with folders, business cards and more recenltly our brochure so we had a good selection of branding material to base the design on.

Next we turned to our copy writer to help turn what we knew so well into content that would be informative and appealing to the reader. We spent a lot of time working through every paragraph to minimise the jargon and waffle.

Finally we needed to turn the design and text into a website. We went through several iterations with some of the finer elements, the block at the top that fades between services took us especially long to get right.

The end product we hope showcases the business in the way we want it to be seen, the balance between professional and business IT services works well and compared to the local competition we feel we've got a really strong offering.

Let me know what you think and find out more at


Here are some of the projects we completed at The Web Orchard in 2011:

AAIB Travel Insurance

The worlds first travel insurance website for people visiting Iraq & Afghanistan. We built a complex quoting, purchasing and policy generation mechanism allowing for the easy purchase of online policies.

Build It International

The Shrewsbury based charity manage building projects in Zambia. We built a Drupal based content management system allowing them to easily update their website with the latest project news.


Jordan based Alfaevac provide evacuation services to some of the most remote regions of the world.

It's a nomad life

Shrewsbury based Its a nomad life sell a range of tribal art and antiques. The Web Orchard provided a Drupal & Ubercart based E-Commerce system.

Smoke & Pickle

Smoke & Pickle are a Shrewsbury based fine foods producer. They turned to The Web Orchard for a content management system to help their online presence.

Severn Magazine

A new exciting magazine for Shrewsbury. The Web Orchard helped bridge the gap between printed magazine and online publication.

Iraq Business News Marketing

We've been working with Iraq Business News for almost two years now, in Oct 2011 we built a microsite specifically for marketing.

Be part of The Web Orchard 2012

Find out more today:

From a very young age, Shrewsbury-born Sam Handbury-Madin had a fascination with finding and collecting things. He's now turned the fascination into a business and has recently launched his venture as the quirkily named 'It's a Nomad Life'. Sam says "from a small boy I was always coming home with things I'd found. I had drawers stuffed full of old coins, bottles, fossils, mineral specimens, animal bones, you name it I probably had a collection of it!"

32 year old Sam was always interested in history and, undoubtedly this is connected with his family history as Sam's father was a history teacher before becoming an antiques dealer and Sam's great grandfather was also a collector. Sam said "I guess my passion for travel and wandering around the globe stems from my great grandfather, who I never met but it must certainly be in the blood! He was quite a traveller in the late 19th and early 20th century. He spent time in Africa and the Far East, mainly in India and he also visited Australia".

"Dad used to bring interesting things home all the time", said Sam. "I remember I was first entranced by some Australian aboriginal items he brought back: spears and clubs, some flaked stone stools, boomerangs etc., think I must have been 8 or 9. I knew from an early age that I was interested in ethnography and other cultures from around the world and wanted to start collecting objects. I used to love the Oceanic (Pacific) art Dad used to bring home, like masks from Papua New Guinea, beaded necklaces with metal adornments, cooking pots and textiles."

With many precious items locked away in display cabinets, Sam was allowed to 'play' with the tribal art items his father had brought back "these were always out, so I could look at and dream about where these wonderful items had come from and who had owned them before me"

After leaving school, Sam was accepted onto an Archaeology Degree course at the University of Bristol. Sam continued "archaeology was the perfect combination of history and learning and of course, going out in to the field to look for artifacts was something I'd always enjoyed doing".

During a university dig in Somerset in 2000 Sam uncovered the hearthstone of the long house they were excavating. Sam said "finding the hearth stone was a key discovery as we were able to radio carbon date the charcoal on the stone to around the late 14th century AD. It was an amazing feeling".

After graduating from Bristol in 2002, Sam stayed on in the area and volunteered at the Bristol City Museum. "I used to love being down in the vaults full of cabinets of curious items, from ethnographic weapons to ancient Egyptian sarcophagi. It was just breathtaking being among such incredible items".

Sam then moved to London where he undertook a work placement at Bonhams Fine Art Auctioneers in the Tribal Art and Antiquities Department. Sam said "it was a yearlong placement and I enjoyed it greatly. I loved doing the cataloguing of the items that were going to be sold – I also helped in the sale room on sale days and loved the buzz of the auction room. Most of the other time was spent researching objects so I used the skills I gained in my degree. I also met some very interesting characters and some very 'colourful' antique dealers".

An interesting period then came for Sam, as he lived in the Caribbean for a few years where he worked in an art gallery and he also volunteered at the Anguilla Museum, where he catalogued finds and cleaned and restored items. "I've found some amazing things, like a large collection of ancient pottery I dug up in my garden when I lived there, dating back to circa 1200 AD. I donated this to the local museum along with numerous axe heads and arrow heads and a very fine Arawak carved conch shell pendant I had found".

Being passionate about travelling and collecting, Sam's favourite places are North and South America. "I am very interested in the ancient cultures of South America and the Caribbean, especially the ancient Inca people of Peru and the Taino people of the Caribbean. I also am fascinated by Native American cultures and in particular the cultures of North West Coast of Canada such as the Haida and Tlingit people where I have spent time". Sam continued "I have always wanted to travel to the pacific islands (Oceanic art is probably my single favourite area of collecting) – so this would be my ultimate trip with stops off in Australia and New Zealand to see friends and to learn about the Maori and Aboriginal cultures".

After almost ten years of working for other people, Sam decided to bite the bullet and go into business alone. "I just decided that I wanted to start my own business after working for others for the past ten years. I've been very fortunate to work in the art and antiques industry in some amazing places such as the Caribbean and Canada, and doing work that I've always been so passionate about".

Sam has amassed a large collection of eclectic and interesting items for the business "I've been building my collection up over the years so I've got plenty to sell!"

Sam's business, 'It's a Nomad Life' is initially an online emporium bringing customers a collection of globally inspired affordable goods, ranging from the ancient Neolithic period right up to the 1980's, items are sourced responsibly and with respect. By using his experiences and expertise, Sam is able to source quality interesting items from all over the world.

We've had a busy week at The Web Orchard with three of our projects going live:

Tuesday - Libya Business News

With the National Transitional Council putting together an interim goverment the oil rich country will soon be a hive of business activity. Based on the sucess of Iraq Business News, getting over 100,000 monthly visitors, we were asked to design and develop the platform for Libya:

Wednesday - Sports Booker

An exciting midlands based startup has developed online software allowing gyms, personal trainers and a range of other sports activities to take bookings and payments online. We were asked to develop a website to help demonstrate how easy to use and powerful their software is:

Friday - It's a Nomad Life

It’s A Nomad Life is an ecommerce website showcasing an eclectic collection of globally inspired goods from the ancient Neolithic period to the edgy 1980’s. Using Drupal and Ubercart we developed a sophisticated ecommerce website allowing easy viewing and purchasing of products as well as an easy to use administration system allowing for quick management of products.

To see what we can do for your website - visit us online or call 01743 367927!

The Smoke & Pickle Food Company of Shropshire, a Shrewsbury-based company specialising in a range of high-quality food products, recently turned to local Web Development specialists The Web Orchard to build their new web site.

With an upcoming event at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair in London's Olympia it was important for the Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre based company to have their web site completed on time.

Members of the Heart of England Fine Foods organisation, the Smoke & Pickle line-up includes a range of soups, sauces, traditional potted fish recipes, potted cheeses, plus desserts and cakes.

Martin Curtis, co-founder of the company, said launching the company was the realisation of a 20 year dream. "Along with my wife Sara and our son Will, we've been dedicated food lovers for a long time. We wanted to create a range of foods that only use the best, wholesome ingredients and were satisfying and full of flavour."

The Smoke & Pickle product range will suit the palate of traditionalists and those who prefer something a little different. Old English recipes include Potted Crab made with delicate herbs and spices, and Pear & Ginger cake. Classic dishes such as Bolognese Sauce and Minestrone Soup feature. While for those who are looking for something more exotic, Smoke & Pickle offer Rochellaise-style Fish Soup, Mulligatawny Soup, and other dishes inspired by Martin and Sara’s travels around the world.

Martin, Sara and Will are personally involved in sourcing all ingredients and managing the company's state of the art kitchens at the Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre, Shrewsbury.

When it came to marketing, Smoke & Pickle turned to local creative teams. The Web Orchard managed the implementation of the web site based on the branding and web site design created by Carl Jones Design.

Peter White, Web Architect at The Web Orchard, said “Working on the site was a real pleasure. The web site features a mouth watering photo gallery of Smoke & Pickle products, plus the facility to find the growing list of retailers, restaurants and pubs who sell the Smoke & Pickle range of fine foods.”

AAIB, the specialist insurance brokers, has commissioned Shrewsbury web developers The Web Orchard to create the worlds first online travel insurance site specifically for travel to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Designed for people visiting Iraq or Afghanistan for business or personal reasons, the new website enables travellers to get an instant quotation which exactly matches their needs. The variables that can be chosen from include duration of stay, purpose of visit, the amount of personal accident and medical evacuation cover required.

Managed by AAIB Insurance Brokers, the travel policy is 'A' rated and essential baggage cover is included in the price. Varying levels of cover are available as well as the option to add more specialist types of cover if required.

Peter White, Web Architect at The Web Orchard, said: “We are delighted to have been able to contribute to this first ever travel insurance site for travel to Iraq and Afghanistan. From a technical perspective, the main challenges were to create a web-enabled copy of AAIB’s risk calculation database, and then to offer users the chance to go from quote to payment in one seamless transaction.”

Additional refinements in the site are the ability to receive an email quotation with PDF attachment, and for customers to download a PDF copy of their policy whenever required from anywhere in the world.

William Wakeham, AAIB’s CEO Insurance is delighted with the outcome. “The Web Orchard created a very elegant front end for our quotation database. Now travellers only have to answer eight drop down questions in order to receive an instant travel insurance quote, which is linked to a secure card payment screen if they want to pay for immediate cover. Compared to other more complex insurance quotation sites, the single page quotation form that The Web Orchard provided is incredibly simple to use.”

The Web Orchard have a five year track record of creating sophisticated e-commerce web presences. They are based in Shrewsbury, near Birmingham, in the United Kingdom and work for an international client base.