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OCTOBER, 2014 - Though not a holiday in the usual sense of the word, it was nevertheless a very interesting break. I went on a nationally organised U3A Study Trip to Ironbridge. The participants came from diverse areas of England. This very interesting site was explained by specialist lecturers who had a deep understanding and commitment to the site.

We were shown round Coalbrookdale Old Furnace which is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and of great significance not only to England but the world.  We were enthralled by the history of the Coalbrookdale Company and the achievements of the Quaker Ironmasters. The production of an eighteenth century affordable iron cooking pot triggered mass production which in turn led to production of the Aga cooker.

The crowning achievement was the building of the famous Iron Bridge in 1779. We were let loose in the area of “Enginuity” where you could operate machines and see their workings and technology.

We toured Abraham Darby’s Old Furnace and had a viewing of one of the magnificent Darby Houses refurbished to reflect the era. The Coalport China Museum showed us all the processes of the ceramic industry carried out by the availability of cheap labour and largely unrecognised skill. We concluded with a tour of the Blists Hill Victorian Town conducted by a very knowledgeable gentleman. The site is constantly being improved and redesigned. This is the first Nationally organised course I have attended and I shall keep my eye open for others.

With best wishes, Celia Clinker


The iron bridge


Blists HIll


A reconstructed colliery

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