Friday, February 11, 2011

Ironbridge, Shropshire

100' Cast Iron Bridge over the River Severn

The red dot - showing you where Ironbridge, Shropshire is

Ironbridge - A little southwest of Telford and down river from Shrewsbury
I know it's confusing, looking at the other places I circled on the map. Sorry.

I was just going to tell you that Ironbridge was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution, then found this entry on Wikipedia:  'The area around Ironbridge is described by those promoting it as a tourist destination as the "Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution". This is a falsehood based on the idea that Abraham Darby smelting iron with coke, in Coalbrookdale, allowing much cheaper production of iron. However, the industrial revolution did not "begin" in one place, but in many. The growth of railways, spinning machines, weaving and other industrial inventions and activities were going on all over the country. Smelting iron by Darby was but one small part of this generalised revolution and was soon superseded by the great iron-smelting areas.'

It's not like I thought that Ironbridge could claim exclusive rights to the Industrial Revolution, but it was definitely part of it, and you can still feel the ghosts of the Industrial Revolution. In fact, it feels very recent.

'The Bridge Was Cast at Coalbrookdale and Erected in the Year MDCCLXXIX'
just 3 years after our Declaration of Independence

The Pay and Display parking lot

Along this street, we came to a little fish'n'chips shop where a tweedy looking old man with one fish eye sat at a lonely table, occasionally casting a furtive glance our way. He could have stepped right out of a Campion movie!  Maybe he did.

Some shots taken around town:

Two of the locals, perched above the river

I love the brick and ivy!!

Lime kilns, used in the making of fertilizer in days past

I could enjoy spending a summer (one measily summer) living in the upper story of one of those buildings and exploring more of the Iron Gorge area.

St. Luke's Church on top of the hill

I found this interesting little tidbit online at the Church of England website:  

'The position of Ironbridge church is the reverse of the majority of churches, the sanctuary being at the west end and the tower at the east end. This is due to the fact that it was discovered that the land at the west end would not bear the weight of a tower.'

The Tontine Hotel, which some think is haunted, stands below St. Luke's. I hadn't heard the word 'Tontine' since watching a Miss Marple movie, 4:50 From Paddington, the plot of which was based on the tontine, and explained. Here is the definition from

'While once very popular in France, Britain, and the United States, tontines have been banned in Britain and the United States due to the incentive for investors to kill one another, thereby increasing their shares.'  You can see that the tontine would make a great murder mystery! 4:50 From Paddington, or What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw is one of my favorites.

Tunnel with steps down to the river bank

Walking, not driving, is permitted on the bridge

It's a pretty untidy looking town in March, but I suspect that summer leaves and flowers forgive much.

And whenever I think of the Industrial Revolution, my mind takes me to the 'dark, satanic mills' of this fascinating song:

See you all in September at Royal Albert Hall, London, for the Last Night of the Proms (don't I wish!).  And in case you were wondering about the words to that song, here they are:

 From Wikipedia

That song really sticks in my head!
Maybe it will become an ear worm for you too. :-) 

P.S. Yesterday morning it was -25 degrees F. here. This morning it was -27 degrees F.   If Al Gore ever dares show his face in this neck of the woods, he will be tarred and feathered!  Just sayin.' 

P.P.S. In fact, today we are expecting to see a 50 degree difference between our low and high temperature for the day. 



Michelle said...

I love how you capture a place with your photographs! I'll have to remember to make sure to stop by on Fridays. Fridays are travel posts and I love them!

Caution/Lisa said...

You are a wonderful travel photographer, Judy! I usually take just a picture or two and then can't figure out latter what is was. I am not at all familiar with this area you've written about today, so I guess I need to do a little research now.

Cranberry Morning said...

Shropshire and Herefordshire are two counties that don't seem to be as popular or well-covered in the England guide books. They're beautiful, interesting, and so full of history (of course). For such a relatively small island, you'd expect the whole place to be one big crowd, but it's not like that. You've got the big cities where most of the population lives, and then lots of beautiful countryside with little villages dotting the landscape.

Mama Hen said...

I always like how when I read your posts I am always inspired and learn something! The pictures are absolutely beautiful! I like seeing things that are not as traveled by tourists when I am on my journeys. Your pictures capture so much beauty and charm. I hope you are well my friend. Have a great day!

Mama Hen

Sunny Sue said...

I must say that I have never had the desire to travel across "the big pond". I'm not sure why. Maybe just because it is out of my comfort zone. I must say, however, this does look like someplace I could visit. You may have just convinced my to take that big step. One of these days. :-)
p.s. Our sweet Abby has been able to keep down a Tbsp. of chicken down 3 different times. :-) I appreciate you sharing your understanding.

Rachel said...

You should come visit Texas- we are finally thawing out!!

I LOVE the pictures. They are great! I will go on vacation there someday!

Happy Friday!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Judy, I save your posts for my "elevenses." Today I sat down with my tea and a carrot cupcake and was transported to Shropshire. I love your photos and travel tales!

Denise said...

Always enjoy your tours, photos are awesome.

Robin said...

Judy, I always enjoy looking at your pictures.

Tiffanee said...

I love that bridge. It is so cool. The pictures are so beautiful. Thanks for a wonderful afternoon getaway.

Unknown said...

Your pictures and commentary are awesome as always, but I truly love seeing bits of spring in your pictures. They remind me that blooms are on the way! Even I am getting tired of cold weather and the white stuff! Great post!

Yenta Mary said...

What a gorgeous, charming town! City girl that I am, when I see places like that I can just imagine myself in a quaint cottage baking cookies and drinking tea, meandering the winding streets and running into my friends/neighbors for a chat, visiting the cute little shops ... sigh ... :)

George The Lad said...

Hi, Love your post on Ironbridge, as we only live 5 miles away from it!! just picked up your comment "Shropshire and Herefordshire are two counties that don't seem to be as popular or well-covered in the England guide books" yes you are right, and no we are not one big crowd, there is alot of country side between each town.
My dog has his own blog and we go around places in Shropshire, but its from his point of veiw!
We did Coalbrook Dale just the other week.
Pop by if you get time
Jan, George's mom!!!

J_on_tour said...

Very interesting and comprehensive post on this town. Your map has reminded me how, for the sake of time on a long one way day drive to a few places in the area, I have driven around it on all areas to the north and east of the map. I don't know when I will ever see the place. I saw a BBC programme about it recently Michael Portillo Great British railway journeys ( earlier episodes might be on Youtube ). 4:50 from Paddington is great.

Mama Hen said...

It was nice looking at these beautiful pictures again. I would love to take a trip! Happy Valentine's Day my friend! have a great day!

Mama Hen


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