Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Iron Bridge

Erected in 1779 and opened in  1781 this is the first arch bridge in the world to be made of cast iron and spans the gorge of the River Severn whose nearby settlement takes its name, Ironbridge.  The area has a valid claim to be considered the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution for it is where Abraham Darby first smelted iron ore with coke in 1709 (rather than charcoal or coal) meaning  it could be produced in large economic quantities.  The bridge was closed to traffic in 1934 although tolls were still collected at the toll house until 1950 when the council took over its upkeep. 
The steepness and instability of the gorge was another challenge for the original constructors,  they also had to make the bridge high enough to allow sailing boats through and its 100 ft span is supported by 5 cast iron rib members. Both beautiful an functional it is thought that three forges provided the iron one, one of which is the nearby and aptly named Bedlam Forge.
The view from the bridge today is  very peaceful but I imagine in the past it would have looked very different with the rising smoke and fire of the furnaces.
   "Coalbrookdale by Night" by Philip de Loutherbourg 1801.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet this week sojourning at I here

11 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

an impressive span

ROG, ABCW

Rajesh said...

Beautiful scenery. That bridge has survived the test of time.

Linnea said...

Now that's a charming bridge! Thanks for sharing...now I want to go to it!

sal spring said...

We used to go there on school trips!

fredamans said...

Lovely bridge!

jeannettestgermain said...

Beautiful design of the bridge, but I also love the houses by the river!

charuhasacharya said...

Impressive bridge, the view is so serene.

mrsnesbitt said...

The house by the river reminded me of Durham - and the building by the river.

Cristina Pop said...

The view from the bridge is amazing!

Lmkazmierczak said...

Handsome bridge with interesting history♪ http://lauriekazmierczak.com/inspired-by-legos/

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Wow! That's a gorgeous bridge. It just makes me wonder how they constructed the bridge without all the huge machines that we have today. I enjoyed your post a lot. Thank you.