Sunday, 20 June 2010

Ironbridge Museums Weekend - a "must visit" place, 11-13th June 2010

Last weekend about 80 livery company Masters and guests, making a total party of about 150, did a whistlestop tour of museums in the Ironbridge Gorge. You must have heard of this place but perhaps don't realise its significance in our industrial history.

This is where, 300 years ago, mass production of iron started. If you have children doing GCSE Chemistry they will have learnt about blast furnaces (limestone, iron ore and coke) and at the Coalbrookdale Museum you can see the real Old Furnace built by Abraham Darby. Originally designed to produce large quantities of cheap cooking pots for the poor (it actually said that in the patent application), this technique crashed through materials science of the day and enabled iron to become the construction and ornamental material of choice.

And that's just the start. Spectacular tiles, pottery and the reconstructed Victorian town of Blists Hill, all faithfully reproduced and peopled by enthusiastic volunteers all itching to engage you in their stories. Don't miss it.

The weekend ended with an agreement to form a Masters' Association for the "class of 2010", as a way of keeping in touch with each other after our years as Masters are over.

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