During the conference, delegates will have the opportunity to take a guided tour around Coalbrookdale on both Sunday the 8th of October and Tuesday the 10th of October. Most of the tours will be repeated across both days so you can do more than one.
Museum of Iron
Take a tour around the recently redeveloped Museum of Iron. The Museum is located over three floors of the 1838 Grade II listed Great Warehouse of the Coalbrookdale Company and tells the story of iron and iron making through history, and explains the world-changing importance of Coalbrookdale as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. The Museum reopened earlier this year with modernised exhibits and greater accessibility. It opens up the architectural features of the building that were previously hidden, and joins up the story of the individual monuments, which are so significant in terms of the area’s World Heritage status, and the story of ironmaking and industry in the region.
The Old Furnace
Just a stone’s throw from the conference venue is the Old Furnace (pictured above), the remains of the 17th century blast furnace which, in the early 18th century, was where Abraham Darby first began smelting iron using coke instead of charcoal, providing the world affordable, high quality iron, an innovation that enabled the Industrial Revolution. The Old Furnace is at the core of Ironbridge Gorge’s World Heritage status. Alongside the Iron Bridge, its survival is the justification for the site’s inscription under Criterion i and ii of the Criteria for Selection for the World Heritage List, thus being considered to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius and to exhibit an important interchange of human values on developments in architecture or technology respectively.
Ironbridge Gorge was inscribed on the World Heritage List before the Cultural Landscape designation was available, so the listing focuses primarily on the monumental features of the Iron Bridge and the Old Furnace. This walk will explore part of the wider environs of Coalbrookdale, including the workers and Iron Masters houses, the industrial landscape of furnace pools, and the Sabbath Walks, which were created by one of the Quaker ironmasters for his friends, family and workers.
Sabbath Walks (Tuesday only)
Severn Gorge Countryside Trust will lead a walk around part of the Sabbath Walks, exploring both the history of the woodland walks and the work of the Trust in managing them. The walks were laid out between 1782 and 1792 by Quaker and Ironmaster Richard Reynolds. These paths were inspired by visits to Enville Hall near Bridgnorth and the Goldney family garden follies in Bristol. He created one of the UK’s first publicly accessible parks, almost 200 years before National and Country Parks. The walks featured a Doric Temple, cast iron Rotunda and many arbor seats.