The all new Museum of Iron at Coalbrookdale, in Shropshire’s Ironbridge Gorge, is opening on Saturday, 8th April in time for the Easter holidays after a massive refurbishment. Telling the history of iron making from ancient times through to the present day, it will explain how remarkable discoveries made in The Gorge changed the world forever and why the area became internationally recognised as the Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
The museum is housed in the magnificent Grade II listed Great Warehouse of the Coalbrookdale Company, which dates back to 1838. All three floors have been redeveloped as part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust’s 50thanniversary celebrations. The opening completes the first phase of the Trust’s 10-year Masterplan for its Coalbrookdale site.
The redevelopment of the Museum of Iron has been generously funded by many organisations including, The Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust, the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, The Headley Trust and the Clive & Sylvia Richards Charity.
New galleries, trails and interactive exhibits tell the story of iron making from how the geology of the Ironbridge Gorge provided all the raw materials needed to make iron, up to the modern day steel industry.
Ironbridge’s pivotal role as the Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and the key people involved are highlighted, notably Abraham Darby I who perfected the technique of smelting iron with coke, rather than charcoal on a commercial scale in 1709. Darby’s Old Furnace, where this world changing development took place, lies close to the Museum of Iron.
The lives of other key characters associated with the iron industry will be celebrated in addition to the Darby dynasty of ironmasters, such as John Wilkinson and Richard Reynolds. Visitors will also discover more about the important role played by women in the management of the Coalbrookdale factory and the conditions that the workers faced to help make Ironbridge one of the most important industrial locations in the world.
Fine examples of the varied ironware made in Coalbrookdale will be on display including an anchor from a Napoleonic warship, a giant whaling pot, magnificent
statues, fire-surrounds, furniture and everyday household goods such as door stops and flat irons.
Children will be able to follow an interactive trail around the museum and discover many of the fascinating stories through interactive games and puzzles. Historic images can be viewed on a ‘Digital Table’, which functions like a giant tablet computer, allowing visitors of all ages to see dozens of historic scenes, which can be expanded to view the smallest details.
Open daily 10am to 4pm, entry into the Museum of Iron is £9.75 for adults, £8.75 for the 60 plus and £6.25 for children aged 5-16 years; under 5s free (includes a Gift Aid donation).
A great value Annual Passport Ticket allowing unlimited entry into all 10 Ironbridge Gorge Museums costs £25 per adult, £20 for seniors, £15 for children under 16, £68 for a family of two adults and all their children and £50 for a family with one adult; under 5s free (terms and conditions apply); Passports can also be bought online in advance saving 10% and individual entry tickets are available at each museum.
For further information, call the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on 01952 433 424 or visitwww.ironbridge.org.uk. The Gorge is easily reached via the M54 motorway exiting at Telford junction 4 or 6.
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