Blists Hill Victorian Town
Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
Shropshire TF7 5UD
Blists Hill Victorian Town at the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, England is one of ten award-winning museums at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the largest and most popular of the museums, and a great day out for the whole family.
In the 18th and 19th centuries Blists Hill was an industrial region consisting of a brick and tile works, blast furnaces and coal, iron and fire clay mines, operated by the Madingley Wood Company. A short section of the Shropshire Canal ran across the site to The Hay Incline Plane, which transported boats up and down the 207 foot (63 metre) tall incline from Coalport to Blists Hill.
All these features still remain and have been incorporated into the re-created Victorian town where visitors experience life as it was in the late 1800s as they join the Blists Hill populace going about their daily lives in their cottages, shops and places of work.
Each building has a fully trained costumed character working in it, ready to tell visitors about their 19th century life. They demonstrate long forgotten crafts that were commonplace in Victorian times. You will meet the bootmaker, the locksmith, the decorative plasterer, the commercial printer, the mould maker, the horseshoe smith, and the pub barman to mention just a few.
Qualified craftsmen operate the iron foundry and demonstrate the smelting of pig iron, or how timber was sawn in the sawmill.
The still expanding town hums with activity, noise from the iron works and mines, delicious smells from the bakery and not such lovely smells from the pigsties being mucked out.
The town has two distinct areas – Upper Town clustered around High Street, Quarry Bank and Canal Street, and the countryside area. The High Street has been developed around a railway interchange siding using an original on-site plateway.
The more remote parts of the site demonstrate natural rehabilitation of an industrial landscape. Amongst buildings re-erected in this area are a corrugated iron tin tabernacle (formerly St Chad's Mission Church from Lodge Bank), a genuine local squatter’s cottage, and a Thomas Telford designed toll house.
The town has been re-created from abandoned buildings and industrial artefacts already on the site, supplemented with historic buildings rescued from other local areas. The site covers an area of 52 acres and spreads down the hill to the River Severn and Coalport Canal. It is mostly outdoors and visitors need to be adequately dressed for the weather as well as for walking on uneven surfaces.
7 days a week: 10:00 – 17:00 hours.
Close 24 & 25 December and 01 January.
For details go to Web: Ironbridge Opening Times
There are two options – tickets for a single visit to a museum or the fantastic value Annual Passport Ticket which allows unlimited visits to all the sites. For more information and up to date prices go to Web: Ironbridge/ Tickets
- First stop is the Bank to convert some modern currency into Blists Hil’s own Victorian legal tender to spend in the town’s shops and pubs. Have fun buying a halfpenny’s worth of traditional sweets or a sherbet dab wrapped in a twist of paper. The current exchange rate is 40 new pence to 1 old penny. Older visitors will feel very nostalgic handling fathings, halfpennies and thre’penny bits again;
- Find out about curious remedies concocted by Victorian pharmacists in the Chemist shop;
- Discover what was sold in a Grocers or a General Drapers and Outfitter;
- Watch the 19th century steam-operated pithead in action;
- Find out what a day at school was like;
- Have fun at the Victorian Fairground during the Summer season;
- Take a look inside a squatter’s cottage and discover what life was like for a poor Victorian housewife;
- Dress up in Victorian costume to have an unforgettable portrait taken at the photographers;
- Meet the animals and enjoy a journey around the town on a horse and cart;
- Witness traditional skills in action at the printers, candle makers and decorative plasterers;
- Experience the heat and noise of the iron foundry as the workers broach the furnaces and molten iron pours into the moulds;
- Explore original industrial monuments such as the Hay Inclined Plane and Blast Furnaces.
Special hands-on activities are conducted during the school holidays along with other special events. Check the Events Calendar at Web: Ironbridge/ Events & Exhibitions
Yes. A modern mine railway and inclined lift have recently been installed to assist mobility impaired visitors to access the lower parts of the site.
For more detailed information go to .pdf document at Web: Ironbridge/ Access Guide
You should allow at least 2-4 hours for a visit to Blists Hill Open Air Museum.
The Entrance cafe is open to the general public and coach parties.
Refreshments are available at three locations within the museum:
- The Forest Glen Pavilion is a restaurant serving a range of hot and cold snacks, cakes and pastries;
- The New Inn & Club Room is open for traditional cask ales, morning coffee, lunches and afternoon teas;
- Fried Fish Shop for traditionally cooked fish and chips.
- Toilets & Baby Change facilities.
The Entrance Gift Shop accepts modern currency only.
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1952 433 424
The Ironbridge Gorge is in Shropshire, 5 miles (8km) south of Telford Town Centre and is well signposted from the M54 motorway, Junction 4. When you leave M54 follow the brown and white tourism signs for Ironbridge Gorge.
As you get closer to the Museums follow the specific signs:
- For Blists Hill Victorian Town, Coalport China Museum and Tar Tunnel follow ‘Blists Hill Museums’.
- Car Parking
There is car parking at the Museum. Sat Nav for the car park is TF7 5UD.
One ticket, costing around £2.00, is required to park
Google Map - Blists Hill Victorian Town