Post-conference tour 2: Ironbridge,
Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution
A street scene at Blists Hill Victorian Town
Our tour will first visit Blists Hill Victorian Town, which is a living museum in Madeley, close to Ironbridge. First opened in 1973, it recreates a typical town of the region from 1900. You can change your modern British money for tokens representing farthings, halfpennies, pennies, three-penny pieces and sixpences to spend in the shops and exhibits. The living museum has three districts, a town area with Victorian-era shops such as a bank, bakery, bicycle shop and post office. An industrial district that provided various employment from a blast furnace and wrought iron works and a countryside district with buildings such as a squatters' cottage and tin roof church. Original buildings have been transported to the town from elsewhere, such as the New Inn public house (pub) which originally stood in Walsall.
Ironbridge town, Shropshire, and its famous bridge dating back to 1779
The tour will then continue to Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Severn Valley of Shropshire. The town of Ironbridge is often hailed as the “Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution” because Abraham Darby revolutionised the smelting of iron with coke in his nearby Coalbrookdale foundry, leading to the mass production of cheap iron for the construction of railways, ships, and the famous symbol of the region, the Iron Bridge itself. It was completed in 1779 making it only three years younger than the United States of America and it was the first bridge built of iron. Since nobody had built such a bridge before, it is rumoured that some carpentry techniques were employed in its construction.
Today there is a new road bridge across the River Severn but visitors can walk across the iron bridge, enjoy the spectacular views of the river and the town, take selfies on the bridge and visit the former toll house which now contains a small museum about the construction of the bridge. There is no guided tour of Ironbridge itself, our party will be free to amble along the river to the iron bridge and visit some of the shops and hostelries on the Wharfage.
The tour group will leave Springfield Campus at 09:00 and aim to return around 17:00.
When: 9 September 2023
Price: £35 per person (First come first serve)
Bookings can be made when registering for the conference.
Unfortunately the Museum of the Gorge is closed until at least 2024 for refurbishment.