Heritage & Story of The Gorge

‘The leaves soak-up the energy. The trees fall and turn to coal. Coal is solid sunlight, the stored memory of millions of uninhabited summers. Then one day, in Coalbrookdale, someone opens a hole in the ground and all that stored energy comes pouring out and is consumed in furnaces, engines, motors.’ Danny Boyle

A small riverside town in rural Shropshire seems an unlikely setting for the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. But the unique and natural environment formed during the Ice Age when the original flow of the River Severn was diverted and formed the now famous Ironbridge Gorge exposed vital ingredients of layers of limestone, coal, ironstone and clay. It took a man of great vision and imagination in the shape of Abraham Darby I , to put all of these vital ingredients together; he was the first, in 1709, to master major innovations in smelting iron with coke, which resulted in the production of better quality iron which in turn led to his grandson Abraham Darby III overseeing the building of the first ever cast-Iron Bridge. 

As part of the Festival of Imagination in partnership with the Severn Gorge Countryside Trust we are delighted to give you the opportunity to learn how some of these raw materials were used before and during the industrial revolution by offering hands on experiences in: 
Charcoal Making and Iron Smelting .

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