Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron
Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
Shropshire TF8 7DQ
This museum is currently being redeveloped and will open for Easter 2017.
One of the most important relics of the Industrial Revolution can be found at the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron in the Ironbridge Gorge, in Shropshire, England.
The Museum site includes the original revolutionary water-powered, Old Blast Furnace first used by Abraham Darby I to smelt iron ore using "coking coal". The easily mined coal was drawn from drift mines in the sides of the River Severn valley. It contained far fewer impurities than normal coal and produced iron of a superior quality than elsewhere.
The Old Furnace began life as a typical blast furnace, but went over to coke in 1709. Abraham Darby I used it to smelt iron for cooking pots, kettles and other wares. The quality of the cast iron was so good that he captured the market in cast-iron cookware.
His grandson Abraham Darby III enlarged the furnace and smelted the iron here for the world’s first Iron bridge. This bridge is now the central focus of the Ironbridge Gorge UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the 1720s and 1730s, the Coalbrookdale Company was making large quantities of iron for many customers. Besides producing domestic cookware, it also cast the cylinders for steam engines, and pig iron for use by other foundries. In the late 18th century, it sometimes produced structural ironwork. In the 19th century ornamental ironwork became a speciality.
The Old Furnace is protected from the weather by an A-framed glass building. The furnace can be inspected at ground level and from an upper gallery.
The Museum of Iron is based in the Coalbrookdale Company Great Warehouse constructed in 1838. It has three floors of galleries accessible by stairs and a lift available from the ground floor café area.
The clock housed in the clock tower on the roof of this building chimes on the hour and is audibly loud!
On the Ground Floor is the main entrance, reception, the Introductory Gallery, the café and shop.
The middle floor contains ‘The Story of Coalbrookdale’ exhibition.
The top floor houses ‘The Great Exhibition’ displays and a special Vision Impaired exhibit entitled ‘The Devil’s in the Detail’. On this floor you are very close to the clock tower, and the chimes are loudest directly under the clock tower.
Along one side of the site is a viaduct carrying the railway that delivers coal to the Buildwas Power Station. In the future the Telford Steam Railway is hoping to be able to use this viaduct for its southern extension from Horsehay.
In the centre of the grassy area between the Old Blast Furnace and the Great Warehouse is the splendid Boy and Swan Fountain. This water feature was cast by the Coalbrookdale Company in 1851 for the Great Exhibition.
7 days a week: 10:00 – 17:00 hours.
All Museums close 24 & 25 December and 01 January.
For details go to Web: Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron/ 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 current prices go to Web: Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron/ Tickets.
- Marvel at the great skill of the Coalbrookdale craftsmen in a fabulous display of domestic and decorative ironwork;
- View fantastic works of art that bring the Industrial Revolution to life;
- Take a look at the magnificent Deerhound Table designed by John Bell for the Paris International Exhibition of 1855;
- Discover the cast iron Coalbrookdale Cooking Pots that launched Abraham Darby I into the iron trade.
Yes. A lift serves all floors in the Great Warehouse exhibition space. There is wheelchair access to the Old Furnace but not to the upper gallery. For more detailed information in (.pdf format) go to Web: Coalbrookdale/ Disabled Access
You should allow 1-2 hours for a visit to Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron and The Old Furnace.
Café serving light meals and drinks.
Large gift shop selling a range of cast-iron goods and souvenirs.
Toilets & Baby Change facilities.
In one of the industrial buildings on site is the superb science and technology centre, Enginuity. This is also an Ironbridge Gorge Trust Museum.
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 Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron, Enginuity and The Darby Houses follow ‘Coalbrookdale Museums’.
There is car parking at the Museum. Sat Nav for the car park is TF8 7DQ. One ticket, costing around £2.00, is required to park at most of the Museum car parks.
Google Map - Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron