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  • Writer's pictureSElliott

Ironbridge - The Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution

Updated: Dec 24, 2022

Please note - I visited Ironbridge during October 2011 so some information below may be out of date. For more information please visit their website.


Saturday 22nd October 2011

Arrived at Ironbridge Youth Hostel last night after travelling up after work ended. Lots of lovely views on the way up and not too far for a Friday night drive. The Youth Hostel was easy to find, located at the end of the valley.


Woke up this morning and had breakfast before catching the Gorge bus (a bus that runs the length of the gorge, stopping at all the tourist attractions - it's free for museum ticket holders) to Coalbrookdale for the iron making museum, the Museum of Iron, located at the opposite end of the valley from the Youth Hostel.


The museum was really fascinating since the Darby family (who owned the area, and are not to be mistaken with the Darcy family from Pride and Prejudice) progressed the iron making process from the original method using charcoal to the modern method of using coke! The process they pioneered is still in use today, albeit using a bit more technology (i.e. drilling machines instead of manual tools to "tap" the furnace - removing the molten iron). It was also interesting to see how the actual method of iron making (smelting) evolved from the first smelters to the current day.


From the Museum of Iron I walked the short distance uphill to the Darby houses. Unfortunately, one of these was closed so next time I visit I'll go back. Next to the Museum of Iron is "Enginuity", an activity centre - mainly aimed at families with children that has a sciency edge. I didn't visit but I believe it is worth a visit if you do have children. An important point that I should have mentioned earlier is that the pass you buy for access to the museums gives you unlimited access for 12months and, if you haven't managed to visit all the museums in those 12months, it will be valid for entry to each of any unvisited museums after the 12 months expire - a GREAT idea!!


I then took the bus back down into Ironbridge where I first visited the Museum of the Gorge, which tells the history of Ironbridge Gorge and the surrounding area of Coalbrookdale, before taking a peek into the Teddy Bear Shop! I walked along the river to the actual Iron Bridge which gave the town its name.

Ironbridge

When I reached the Iron Bridge I once again got the bus, this time to the Blist Hill Victorian Town, a recreated Victorian town. Upon arrival, I headed to the Foundry eager to see them casting iron - only to find that they only do this on Wednesdays! I definitely have to return!! I walked through the town down past the old Blast Furnaces and the forge. I got slightly too excited about the Blast Furnaces I must admit - it must be the Engineer in me!

Blist Hill Blast Furnace

On my way up the hill back to the Victorian town proper I visited the bakery to get some freshly baked bread before visiting the Steam House where my engineering side ran away with me again and I started asking technical questions about whether the steam was superheated or not. I am supposed to be on holiday!!


Then, after a full day in Ironbridge, I headed back to the Youth Hostel for a good night's sleep before heading home tomorrow.


Sunday 23rd October 2011

I left Ironbridge this morning and wound my way homeward. On my way I stopped for lunch at Berrington Hall, a National Trust property. The hall itself was a bit disappointing since it was a tour and, to me, didn't really seem that comprehensive. I then went to the restaurant and had a lunch of roast pork - now that was worth the money!!! It was delicious!!

Berrington Hall


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