Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron

‘Africa’ lamp standard, from a series of four cast-iron standards representing continents, produced by the Coalbrookdale Company in the 1860s and thought to have been designed by John Bell


30 August 2012

Ironbridge Gorge Museums, Coalbrookdale, Telford

SJ 66734 04794; 52.63985°N, 2.49304°W


The Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron is housed in the former Great Warehouse, built in 1838, of the Coalbrookdale Company and is one of the ten museums run by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.

Close to the Great Warehouse are the remains of the blast furnace where Abraham Darby I perfected the technique of smelting iron with coke rather than with charcoal — this allowed iron to be produced much more cheaply than before and was one of the innovations that led to the Industrial Revolution.

Darby obtained a patent in 1707 for a method of mass producing cast-iron cooking pots. Under the ownership of the Darby family, the Coalbrookdale Company later diversified into other iron products and one of their most famous achievements was the construction, completed in 1781, of the Iron Bridge over the River Severn — the world’s first cast-iron arch bridge. During Victorian times, the company became famous for its decorative cast ironwork.

Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron

‘Europe’ lamp standard, from the ‘continents’ series

‘David Slinging’ (John Bell), representing the biblical shepherd boy who slew the giant Goliath

Deerhound Hall Table, designed by John Bell for the 1855 Paris Exposition Universelle. The cast-iron table weighs 812 kg.

‘The Eagle Slayer’ (John Bell)

Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron

‘Andromeda’. One of the Coalbrookdale Company’s pieces shown at the 1851 Great Exhibition was a bronze statue of Andromeda designed by sculptor John Bell. This cast-iron version was made afterwards.

In Greek mythology, Andromeda was an Ethiopian princess. Her mother, Cassiopeia, was punished for her arrogance by the god of the sea Poseidon, who sent the sea monster Cetus to wreak havoc on the country. Chained naked to a rock, Andromeda was offered as sacrifice in appeasement. She was rescued from her fate by Perseus, who turned the sea monster to stone using the head of the Gorgon Medusa.

‘Andromeda’ (John Bell)

‘Andromeda’ (John Bell)

Ornamental Lamp (Falkirk Iron Co.)

Coalbrookdale cooking pots

Aga cooker. The first Aga cooker was designed in 1924. It was initially imported into the UK and was also later manufactured in this country. Agas have been produced in Shropshire since 1947 and are still made by the Coalbrookdale Foundry.

11 thoughts on “Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron

  1. Pingback: The Iron Bridge « GeoTopoi

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  3. Pingback: Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron | GeoTopoi

  4. Pingback: Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron – Great Exhibition | GeoTopoi

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