Ironbridge Museum  

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum, near Telford in Shropshire, is a World Heritage Site and has been described as “the most extraordinary district in the world”. In a steep valley channeling the upper reaches of the River Severn, it is generally regarded as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. It was here that Abraham Darby (1678-1717) first developed a method of producing pig iron in a blast furnace fueled by coke rather than charcoal.

Today it is the home of ten fascinating but different museums devoted to various aspects of industrial archaeology including engineering, china and antique crafts of all kinds.

Among the most popular is Blists Hill Victorian Town which is an authentic reconstruction of a mining town as it was in the late 19th century.


The town contains a number of shops and businesses as they would have been over100 years ago and includes a carpenter’s shop, a candlemaker’s factory, a doctor’s surgery, a printer’s shop, a brick and tile maker and , most importantly, from our point of view, a Masons’ Yard. This was provided at the Company’s expense about 30 years ago and is an ideal place to demonstrate the craft of stonemasonry ( which has not changed much in the last 100 years) to schoolchildren and other visitors.

The museum has in the past been well supported by the City of London and every year, on a Saturday in June, the current Masters of all the City Livery Companies meet for a conducted tour of the complex. Blists Hill, is usually the highpoint of this tour and the Company arranges for the Masons’ Yard to be manned so that live demonstrations are in progress. This is usually organized for us by Freeman Brad Steele, a stonemason who lives in the Midlands, with support from the Craft Fund which arranges for two or three students from the Building Crafts College, all attired like Victorian workmen, to be there and show off their skills.



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