Ironbridge and the surrounding Gorge area on the Severn Valley is one of the significant locations in the history of Britain’s Industrial Revolution. While Arkwright and others all contributed to the rapid industrialisation of England, as opposed to the cottage industry which preceded it, it is Abraham Darby’s contribution to the low cost smelting of iron, which gives this area its “claim to fame.”
Darby’s grandson, also Abraham, had the world’s first great fabricated cast iron bridge built to span the gorge. The bridge was erected between 1779 and 1781, opening on New Year’s Day.
The bridge was designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument in 1934 is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visitors can view the scenic valley, the bridge, and also a local museum which houses a large diorama of the area. We didn’t make a day of it, but it was a great way point and offered some really nice photo opportunities. It really is worth seeing for anyone interested in the history of the Industrial Revolution, or in 18th and 19th Century history more generally.