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The cradle of the Industrial Revolution

The cradle of the industrial revolution is in Ironbridge, England. Reason enough to visit the village, which owes its name to the first cast iron bridge in the world, built in 1779 over the Severn River.

The year is 1709 when Quaker Abraham Darby I first smelt iron in Coalbrookdale using coke (purified coal) instead of charcoal.

Start of the Industrial Revolution

The creative discovery heralded the start of the Industrial Revolution, which soon swept across the UK and the rest of the world. When Thomas Newcomen invented the steam pump in 1712, the predecessor of James Watt's steam engine, the production of iron became increasingly intense.

Old blast furnace

The old furnace, where Abraham Darby injected coke, shows several inscriptions, including "Abraham Darby 1777", the year the furnace was probably enlarged to cast the Iron Bridge. The year below indicates 1638, but is an incorrect restoration of 1658, the presumed year of construction of the furnace.

The historic building has been placed under a protective cocoon since 1982.

378 tons of cast iron

Ironbridge is not only famous because it was the first place where iron was made by injecting coke in a furnace but also because the first cast iron bridge in the world was built there. 

In 1768, the 18-year-old grandson of Abraham Darby I took over the scepter of the Coalbrookdale ironworks. The youngest member of the Quakers gave the green light for the construction of the most significant cast iron construction to date, good for 378 tons of cast iron, according to the BBC: Iron Bridge. The bridge was finished entirely in 1779.

Ironbridge today houses a whole range of museums that tell the story of the start of the Industrial Revolution; in any case, there are too many to visit in one day.

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