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Ironbridge - Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution
Here, in Ironbridge, along the most spectacular stretch of the River Severn, are six square miles that changed the world.
Although nature has now softened the landscape and reclaimed her riverbanks, it still seems faintly shocking that so beautiful - so quiet - a county should have given birth to all things industrial in the world.
But it was here, within the dramatic gorge of the River Severn, that the great Ironmaster Abraham Darby perfected the secret of smelting iron with cheap and plentiful coke, instead of expensive and less efficient charcoal. Britain, and the world, would never be the same again.
So: Shropshire, birthplace of heavy industry. Who'd have thought it?
The world's first iron bridge was built in Shropshire, in 1779 and still stands testament to his industry. And throughout the town which now proudly bears the name ironbridge, ten astonishing 'hands-on', world class museum's celebrate those early pioneers.
Take Blists Hill Victorian Town, for example. It's not so much a museum as a living, breathing insight into life in Victorian Shropshire. An army of performers in period dress bring those times alive: change your money back into the real stuff at the bank (remember pounds, shillings and pence?), then visit their shops, pub fair workshops and cottages.
The Victorian industry is brought bang up date at Enginuity, their newest mueseum. Here you get to play with an incredible collection of interactive machinery and a vast array of activities including testing your speed and accuracy against a robot; generating power from water; pulling a locomotive by hand. There's even stuff to keep the kids amused while you're doing it.
Other ways to get your hands dirty can be found at the Coalport China Factory, home of the famous brand until 1926. Here you can make pottery yourself or watch the live demonstrations. Likewise at the Jackfield Tile Museum across the river.
And for a history of early iron making and decorative castings, visit the Museum of Iron, which tells the story of iron Smelting up to the Great Exhibition of 1851, where the Coalbrookdale Co. showed off its finest work.
For a history of the gorge itself, see the Museum of the Gorge. It houses an impressive 40ft scale model of the town as it was in 1796.
Ironbridge features the highest standard of accommodation for our staying visitors. We have plenty of hotel, bed and breakfast, guesthouse , self catering and caravan or camping accommodation both within the town and surrounding countryside.
This website contains an extensive searchable database of the best places to stay.
The Ironbridge Gorge Museums holds a number of events, fairs and festivals throughout the year. There are spectacular and unusual events such as the Gypsy Wedding, Ghostly Gaslight, Pancake Races, Easter and Harvest festival activities and the Victorian Christmas weekend.
There are always things going on with events celebrating theatre, music, the arts and culture. Whatever time of year you visit you're sure to find something going on.
Ironbridge has a wide selection of small independent shops offering all manor of gifts. The town offers visitors a quality bout of retail therapy. A little further affield in Jackfield you will find local crafts on display at Maws Craft centre.
There is also a selection of fine restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars which please anyone seeking good food as well as retail therapy. There is something to suit evey taste and pocket.
Shropshire is a diverse county of Historic market towns like, Bishops Castle, Bridgnorth, Church Stretton, Cleobury Mortimer, Clun, Craven Arms, Ellesmere, Ironbridge, Ludlow, Market Drayton, Much Wenlock, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Telford, Wem and Whitchurch.
For more information on the rest of Shropshire, please visit the website below:
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