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Shropshire (pronounced /ˈʃrɒpʃɪə/, /-ʃə/), alternatively known as Salop or abbreviated, in print only, Shrops, is a county in the West Midlands region of England. It borders Wales to the west. Shropshire is one of England's most rural and sparsely populated counties, with the population of the non-metropolitan/shire county 289,100 - making it the least populated two-tier governed area in the United Kingdom. The shire county and its districts will be replaced with a unitary authority on 1st April 2009. The borough of Telford and Wrekin, included in Shropshire for ceremonial purposes, has been a unitary authority since 1998. The county town is Shrewsbury, which is culturally and historically important, although Telford, which was constructed around a number of older towns, most notably Wellington, Dawley and Madeley, is today the most populous. Other notable towns are Oswestry in the north-west, Bridgnorth in the south-east and Ludlow to the south. The Ironbridge Gorge area is advertised as the 'Birthplace of Industry', and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering Ironbridge, Coalbrookdale and a part of Madeley. There are additionally other notable historic industrial sites located around the county such as Broseley, Snailbeach and Highley as well as the Shropshire Union Canal. The Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers about a quarter of the county, mainly in the south. The Wrekin is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the county, though the highest hills are the Clee Hills, Stiperstones and the Long Mynd. Wenlock Edge is another significant geographical and geological landmark, and the River Severn, Great Britain's longest river, runs through the county. Shropshire is landlocked, and with an area of 1,346 square miles (3,490 km2), is England's largest inland county.
Dalbeattie In Dumfries and Galloway Is Said To Be The Birthplace Of Granite Polishing. Granite Quarrying Craignair quarry is a notable town landmark Formerly granite quarrying was an important part of the Dalbeattie economy. The most prominent of which is the characteristic Craignair quarry which is clearly visible to the west of the town. Dalbeattie Granite works was established in 1820 and was situated in Craignair Street, following a direct route from Craignair quarry. The industry died down locally around 1883 due to cheaper imports from Denmark. Many of the workers immigrated to other parts of the world in order to find work, a number immigrated to the USA to work at a sister quarry in Westerly, Rhode Island. Dalbeattie is credited with developing the technique of polishing granite stone to form a shiny surface. This technique was exported throughout the world by the skilled workers of Dalbeattie as they travelled.