Ironbridge is a small town on the River Severn, at the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge, in Shropshire, England. It lies in the civil parish of The Gorge, in the borough of Telford and Wrekin. Ironbridge developed beside, and takes its name from, the famous Iron Bridge, a 30 metre (100 ft) cast iron bridge that was built across the river there in 1779.
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. It was the birthplace of England National Football Team captain Billy Wright.
By the 19th century, Ironbridge had had many well-known visitors, including Benjamin Disraeli, but by the mid-20th century the village was in decline. In 1986, though, Ironbridge became part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site (which covers the wider Ironbridge Gorge area) and has become a major tourist attraction within Shropshire. Most industries in Ironbridge are now tourist related; however, the Merrythought teddy bear company (established in 1930) is still manufacturing in Ironbridge and has a small museum there too. Amongst other things, the village is still host to a Post Office, pharmacy, various pubs, cafés and many successful small shops.
On Thursday 10 July 2003 The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh made a visit Shropshire which included a visit to Ironbridge, and a walk over the bridge itself.
An annual Coracle Regatta is held in August on the River Severn at Ironbridge, along with many other events throughout the year. This is mainly due to the fact that the coracle making family of Rogers lived in Ironbridge for several generations. Just outside Ironbridge in Coalbrookdale is the Ironbridge Institute, a partnership between the University of Birmingham and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust offering postgraduate and professional development in heritage.
Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust is an industrial heritage organisation which runs ten museums and manages 35 historic sites within the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, England, widely considered as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
Located at Ironbridge, Coalbrookdale and Broseley on the River Severn, the area is a World Heritage Site and an anchor point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH).
Thanks to Wikipedia.
Where is Shrewsbury, travel guide.