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|Ironbridge Gorge *|
The Iron Bridge
|Criteria||i, ii, iv, vi|
|Region **||Europe and North America|
|Inscription||1986 (10th Session)|
Ironbridge Gorge has mines, factories, workers' housing, and the transport infrastructure that was created in the gorge during the Industrial Revolution. Coke production in the area helped start the Industrial Revolution. The Iron Bridge was the world's first bridge built from iron.
The gorge takes its name from its famous "Iron Bridge", the first iron bridge of its kind in the world. It is a monument to the industry that began there. The bridge was built in 1779 to link the industrial town of Broseley with the smaller mining town of Madeley and the growing industrial centre of Coalbrookdale.
The Iron Bridge was the first arch bridge in the world to be made out of cast iron. a material which was previously far too expensive to use for large structures. However, a new blast furnace nearby lowered the cost. This encouraged local engineers and architects to solve a long-standing problem of a crossing over the river.
There are two reasons the site was so useful to the early industrialists. The raw materials, coal, iron ore, limestone and clay, for the manufacture of iron, tiles and porcelain are exposed or easily mined in the gorge. Second, the deep and wide river allowed easy transport of products to the sea.
- UNESCO, "Ironbridge Gorge"; retrieved 2012-4-24.
- Thomas E. 1999. Coalbrookdale and the Darby family: the story of the world's first industrial dynasty. York : Sessions/Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. ISBN 1-85072-217-X
- Trinder B. 2000. The industrial revolution in Shropshire. 3rd ed, Chichester: Phillimore. ISBN 1-86077-133-5