See Ironbridge through history
Inspire your family with a journey to England’s past
Wednesday 07 May 2014
Henry de Audley, Lord of the Welsh Marches, builds a castle on the crags a little north of Shrewsbury. A grand hall – Hawkstone – is built on the park in the early 18th century, followed by a fantasy landscape of follies.
DO IT: Explore the 'ruins', cliffs and caves of the dreamlike landscape of Hawkstone Park Follies on a family day out with treasure hunts, storytelling and activities.
Elizabeth Mytton marries baronet Sir Thomas Wilbraham, and drives the building of the magnificent country house at Weston Park. Set in 1,000 acres of parkland designed by Capability Brown in 1765, it now houses a superb collection of fine art.
DO IT: Climb the broad, stately staircases and investigate the painting-clad rooms of the grand house at Weston Park, learning about past lives – then get active in the rolling grounds, hopping aboard the miniature railway and clambering around the woodland adventure playground.
Abraham Darby I devises the coke-fired blast furnace at his premises in Coalbrookdale – transforming iron production and kick-starting the Industrial Revolution.
DO IT: Learn about the revolutionary techniques developed by Darby and his associates at the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron, and watch metal being worked in traditional fashion at the immersive Blists Hill Victorian Town (being sure to stop for sweets and chips in the reconstructed shops).
The first bone china is developed by Thomas Frye in East London. A few decades later, in 1795, the Coalport China Factory is founded in Coalbrookdale by John Rose.
DO IT: Discover traditional china-making techniques at the Coalport China Museum and join a ceramic-painting workshop during school holidays.
Abraham Darby III, grandson of the innovative metallurgist, constructs a spectacular Iron Bridge over the Severn – the first fabricated from cast iron.
DO IT: Gawp at the gorge-ous views from the span of the Iron Bridge, and learn how this amazing creation was built in the Tollhouse exhibition.
The forerunner of the modern Olympic Games is held in Much Wenlock, brainchild of Dr William Penny Brookes, founder of the Wenlock Olympian Society.
DO IT: Follow the Wenlock Olympian Trail around this historic village, stopping to explore the ancient ruined priory.
The Severn Valley Railway opens, linking Hartlebury with Shrewsbury and serving Coalport and Ironbridge. Closed in 1963 thanks to Beeching’s recommendations, it reopens as a heritage line in the early 1970s.
DO IT: Chug between Bridgnorth and Kidderminster, pulled by the beautiful steam locomotives of the Severn Valley Railway – look out for special themed family fun events.
The Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service are amalgamated to create the Royal Air Force.
DO IT: Follow the history of aviation through the decades at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, where you can admire more than 70 aircraft.
Dawley New Town is designated on 16 January. In 1968 it is renamed Telford.
DO IT: Romp to your heart’s content in Telford Town Park, a cast green swathe packed with play areas, adventure golf, cycling routes and treetop trails.
For more information on planning your visit to Ironbridge, explore http://www.visitironbridge.co.uk/
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