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History Of Ironbridge
The area around Ironbridge is described as the "Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution" because it is near the place where Abraham Darby I perfected the technique of smelting iron with coke, allowing much cheaper production of iron. The grandson of the first Abraham Darby, Abraham Darby III, built the famous bridge - originally designed by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard - to link the two areas. Construction began in 1779 and the bridge opened on New Year's Day 1781. Soon afterwards the ancient Madeley market was relocated to the new purpose built square and Georgian Butter Cross and the former dispersed settlement of Madeley Wood gained a planned urban focus as Ironbridge, the commercial and administrative centre of the Coalbrookdale coalfield. The Iron Bridge proprietors also built the Tontine Hotel to accommodate visitors to the new Bridge and the industrial sights of the Severn Gorge. On the hillside above the river are situated the stone-built 16th century hunting Lodge at Lincoln Hill, many 17th and 18th century workers cottages, some imposing Georgian houses built by ironmasters and mine and canal barge owners, and many early Victorian villas built from the various coloured bricks and tiles of the locality.

St Luke's Church (1837) in simple Commissioners' Gothic by Samuel Smith of Madeley, has stained glass by David Evans of Shrewsbury. The living was endowed as a rectory when the parish was created from Madeley in 1847 and is now a united with Coalbrookdale and Little Wenlock, in the Diocese of Hereford. The former Iron Bridge and Broseley railway station, on the Severn Valley line (GWR) from Hartlebury to Shrewsbury, was situated on the south side of the Iron Bridge until 1966.

Taken from 'Wikipedia' 

Construction Of The Iron Bridge

In the early eighteenth century the only way to cross the Severn Gorge was by ferry. However, the industries that were growing in the area of Coalbrookdale and Broseley needed a more reliable crossing.

In 1773, Thomas Farnolls Pritchard[1] wrote to a local ironmaster, John Wilkinson of Broseley, to suggest building a bridge out of cast iron. By 1775, Pritchard had finalised the plans, and Abraham Darby III, an ironmaster working at Coalbrookdale in the gorge, was commissioned to cast and build the bridge.

Shares were issued to raise the £3,200 required, and Darby agreed to fund any overspend. Although it had been predicted that 300 tons of iron would be needed (costing £7 a ton), in the end 379 tons were used, costing Darby and his company nearly £3,000. There would be many other costs to bear (masonry abutments, assembly etc), so that the project was far more expensive than first envisaged. Darby bore most of the cost over-run, and was in debt for the rest of his short life.

Being the first of its kind, the construction had no precedent; the method chosen to create the structure was therefore based on carpentry. Each member of the frame was cast separately, and fastenings followed those used in woodworking, such as the mortise and tenon and blind dovetail joints. Bolts were used to fasten the half-ribs together at the crown of the arch. Very large parts were needed to create a structure to span 100 feet rising to 60 feet above the river. The largest parts were the half-ribs, each about 70 ft long and weighing 5.25 tons. The bridge comprises more than 800 castings of 12 basic types.

The bridge was raised in the summer of 1779, and it was opened on New Year's Day 1781. In 2001, the BBC screened a documentary in which a half-sized model of the bridge was built to test recent research over the construction. Instead of large timber towers, a pair of uprights with a crosspiece was used to erect each of the ribs in sequence. The abutments were built afterwards.

Taken from 'Wikipedia' 

Local Attractions
Blists Hill Victorian Town
TEL: 01952 884391

Costumed staff give a warm welcome and a fascinating insight into how life was lived in Victorian Times.  Exchange your money in the Bank; admire the goods in the Grocers, Bakery and Sweetshop.  Find out about curious remedies in the Chemist and see the printer and candle-maker in action.

   
Enginuity
TEL: 01952 884391

Find out how a little ingenuity will let you pull a 10 ton locomotive or generate electricity from flowing water. Look at familiar objects with new eyes using the giant X ray machine, build an earthquake proof tower and challenge our robotic arm.

   
Coalbrookdale Museum Of Iron
TEL: 01952 884391

See the versatility of cast iron and marvel at the great skill of the Coalbrookdale craftsmen in the fabulous display of domestic and decorative ironwork. A large gift shop sells a range of cast-iron goods and souvenirs alongside a café serving a selection of light refreshments.

   
Jackfield Tile Museum
TEL: 01952 884391

Galleries show exquisite examples of individual tiles and period room settings depict various locations that would have been decorated with tiles. You can walk through an Edwardian Tube Station, the bar of an Hotel, a children's hospital ward and a 1930s 'front room'.

   
Coalport China Museum
TEL: 01952 884391

See the National Collections of Caughley and Coalport china in the magnificent old Coalport China works. Rich colours, bright glazes and exquisite decoration.

   
Museum Of The Gorge
TEL: 01952 884391

See what the Gorge was like in 1796 with the help of a giant 12 meter long model. Spot a Royal carriage crossing the Iron Bridge, the cargo on a Severn Trow and a tiny figure toiling in a coalmine.

   
The Ironbridge & Tollhouse
TEL: 01952 884391

Follow in the footsteps of millions of tourists who since 1779 have journeyed here to marvel at the world's first cast-iron bridge.

Built by Abraham Darby III and now recognised as one of the great symbols of the Industrial Revolution, the remarkable structure still dominates the small town that bears its name.

The secrets of how and why it was built are revealed in an exhibition housed in the original Tollhouse on the south side of the Bridge.

   
Tar Tunnel
TEL: 01952 884391

A short walk from Coalport China Museum, alongside the Shropshire Canal, takes you to the Tar Tunnel. Over 200 years ago natural bitumen trickled like treacle into pools. It was turned into pitch, lamp black and rheumatics remedies. Now you can walk along this brick-lined tunnel where the bitumen still oozes through the walls. Don't forget to pick up your hard hat on the way in.

   
Broseley Pipeworks
TEL: 01952 884391

Broseley, two miles from the Iron Bridge, was once home to one of the most prolific clay tobacco pipe making factories in Britain. Production came to an end in the 1950s when the works were abandoned and left untouched until reopened as a Museum in 1996.


Places To Eat
Pondicherry Indian Restaurant
TEL: 01952 433055
The Pondicherry provides some of the best Indian food in the county, in the heart of the Ironbridge. Located in the Old Police Station, you'll be sure to enjoy a unique dining experience. Sit back and relax in the bar or cells, whilst waiting for your meal in the old court. What more could you ask for? Plus, recieve a 10% discount during your stay at Ladywood Bed & Breakfast!*

 
 
     
 


01952 882 822
Ladywood House, Ironbridge Road, Jackfield, Shropshire, TF8 7JU

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