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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > November 2016 > Britain’s Treasures…

Britain’s Treasures…

Be transported back to the time of the Industrial Revolution with a visit to this picturesque village and heritage site on the banks of the River Severn

IRONBRIDGE Shropshire

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE See the bridge from below by hiring a kayak from one of the village’s rental companies

Few places in Britain wear their achievements so proudly on their sleeve – or map labels – as Ironbridge and neighbouring Coalbrookdale. The eponymous span over the Severn is the centrepiece of the ‘birthplace of the Industrial Revolution’, but it’s just one of a cluster of museums and historic sites bearing witness to the technological breakthroughs that helped to transform Britain.

Strolling along the wooded banks of the river today, it’s hard to picture this verdant, peaceful area as an industrial heartland, skies smudged with smoke from belching chimneys. Yet this area has been a centre of industry for many centuries. Coal, limestone, ironstone and other minerals have been mined here since at least the 13th century, possibly as early as Roman times. By the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, iron was being produced in a bloomery – an early type of smelter – in ‘Caldebroke’, where a blast furnace was built in 1615.

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