The Iron Bridge

The Iron Bridge


30 August 2012

Ironbridge, Telford

SJ 67288 03455; 52.62785°N, 2.48471°W


The Ironbridge gorge, with its plentiful natural resources of clay, coal and iron ore, developed as an important industrial centre, and has the reputation of being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. This heritage is symbolised by the Iron Bridge, built in 1779 and the world’s first cast-iron arch bridge.

In the 18th century, industries in the Coalbrookdale area were in increasing need of a transport link across the River Severn more reliable than the available ferry crossings. As a solution to this problem the bridge was designed by Shrewsbury architect Thomas Farrolls Pritchard, who died in 1777 just after construction had started. The bridge, with an overall length of 60m and a 30m main span, was built by the Coalbrookdale Company, owned by Abraham Darby III. It was promoted as a tourist attraction as soon as it was built, and the owners also built a hotel nearby. The bridge itself was not opened to traffic until 1781, the delay probably being accounted for by the time taken to build its toll house. The town of Ironbridge grew up around the bridge.

The Iron Bridge and Tollhouse

The Iron Bridge

The Iron Bridge – completed in 1779 and opened to traffic in 1781

The Iron Bridge spanning the River Severn

First World War Memorial next to the Iron Bridge

6 thoughts on “The Iron Bridge

  1. 1779 – Wow. It amazes me to think how much blood, sweat and muscle must have gone into making this structure back then and they still went to the trouble of adding those little touches of beauty. Great shots!


  2. Pingback: Darby Houses, Coalbrookdale | GeoTopoi

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