Places to visit
The town of Broseley, once part of the Shirlett Royal Forest as recorded in the Domesday Book, was to see enormous expansion during the Industrial Revolution – indeed, in 1600, the town consisted of only 27 houses! Situated on the banks of the Severn, forming one side of the World-famous Ironbridge, its history is littered with tales of an industrial past.
Before the time of industrial expansions, Broseley’s main claim to fame was its part in the construction of Buildwas Abbey, where stone quarried from Broseley Wood was floated up-river to form its construction. Though now the town has seen a lot of its vital historic links paved over by modern developments, the character of the town and its importance within one of the greatest moments in history cannot be ignored.
Broseley still retains its unique mix and blend of cottages through to mansions which is characteristic of its quirky development. Broseley’s boasts of dominance in the industrial era are plain to see: the first ever flanged railway was constructed here, and John Wilkinson built the world’s first iron boat in the vicinity. Broseley is also home to the world-famous Salopian pottery and was instructive in the development of blue and white china, as well as having been the centre of the British pipe-making industry, producing millions of clay pipes every year, before the industry declined as late as the 1950s.
Broseley is also famous for its stylised brown-red brick colour, produced locally, examples of which can be seen throughout Shropshire, and also its role in producing tiles, both roofing and decorative.
Any walk around Broseley will reveal to you the workings of an early industrial town, as well as open your eyes to a heritage which is often overlooked.
Ironbridge (World Heritage Site)
In 1986, the Ironbridge Gorge became one of the first group of 7 UK sites to be awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO. The designation of the Ironbridge Gorge as a World Heritage Site recognised the area’s unique contribution to the birth of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the impact of which was felt across the world.
Once described as "the most extraordinary district in the world", the Ironbridge Gorge is still a remarkable, and beautiful, place to visit today. A huge amount of early industry survives as furnaces, factories, workshops, canals and the settlements of Coalbrookdale, Ironbridge, Jackfield and Coalport.
Birthplace of Industry. There are ten award-winning Museums spread along the valley beside the wild River Severn - still spanned by the world's first Iron Bridge. See the products that set industry on its path and the machines that made them. Watch and talk to the Museums' craftsmen and costumed demonstrators as they work iron, fashion china and glass, and bring alive the people who lived and worked here.
Why not visit one of the ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums:
Blists Hil Victoria Town - Experience life as it was over 100 years ago through the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of a recreated Victorian Town.
Enginuity - Test your reactions against the speed of a robot, generate power from water or pull a locomotive by hand.
Coalport China Museum - Displays and demonstrations bring the history and techniques of china making to life at the once famous Coalport China Factory.
Jackfield Tile Museum - A chance to see magnificent British Tiles as you wander through the original trade showroom, fascinating galleries and period room settings.
Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron - Museum of Iron tells the story of iron and iron making throughout history and the importance of Coalbrookdale.
Museum of the Gorge - Discover more about the crucial linking role that transport played in supplying raw materials, as well as moving the finished goods.
Darby Houses - Step inside the former homes of the Darby family and experience the everyday life of Coalbrookdale’s Quaker ironmasters.
Tar Tunnel - Step inside and discover where miners digging in 1787 struck a spring of natural bitumen which has seeped out of the walls for over 200 years.
The Ironbridge & Toll House - Recognised as one of the great symbols of the Industrial Revolution, the Iron Bridge still dominates the small town that bears its name.
Broseley Pipeworks - Discover this abandoned factory which was once home to one of the most prolific clay tobacco pipe makers in Britain.
Benthall Hall (National Trust)
It retains much of its fine oak interior, and an elaborate 17th-century staircase. It is still occupied by the Benthall family, but has been owned by the National Trust since 1958, and is open to the public every Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holliday Monday (February -October).
In the garden there are fabulous crocus displays to be seen in the spring and autumn, there's also an intimate and carefully restored plantsman's garden, an old kitchen garden and interesting Restoration church.
June opening times (Tuesday, Wednesday, Sturday & Sunday)
House 13:00 - 17:00
Gardens 12:30 - 17:30
Tea-room 13:00 - 17:00
Bridgnorth Cliff Railway
Visit England's oldest and steepest inland funicular, descending from Upper to Lower town through 111 feet of sandstone cliff. It only takes a minute, but it's such fun and most people have never seen anything like it. Bridgnorth town is just a few minutes by car or you can take a bus from Broseley.
Severn Valley Railway
Nothing compares with the excitement of seeing steam trains at work, except to take a ride in an old-style carriage that's being pulled by one. Within easy reach of Broseley is this, one of Britain's leading living steam railways.
A Glorious 18th Century Mansion surrounded by beautiful woodland and deer park, with dog friendly walks, child friendly play and picnic areas and a wonderful walled vegetable and flower garden. On site National Trust cafes providing delicious soups, cakes and snacks incuding the famous Shrewsbury cake.
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