Ironbridge Gorge Museum

Useful Information

Location: The site is spread over an area of 13 km² on the banks of the River Severn at Ironbridge. 8 km south of Telford. M54 junction 4 turn south onto th A464 and A442 trunk roads, follow the brown tourist signs.
Open: Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron: all year daily 10-17.
Closed 24-DEC, 25-DEC, 01-JAN.
Fee: Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron: Adults GBP 5.25, School Pupils GBP 3.75, Seniors (60+) GBP 4.80.
Passport Tickets: Adults GBP 14.95, School Pupils GBP 9.95, Seniors (60+) GBP 12.95, Family (2+3) GBP 48.
Classification: MineCoal Mine MineIron Mine furnaces
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: Ar=13 km².
Guided tours:  
Bibliography: Richard Hayman, Wendy Horton (2003): Ironbridge: History & guide, Tempus Publishing Ltd., Stroud, UK. IS.
Asa Briggs (1979): Iron Bridge to Crystal Palace: Impact and images of the Industrial Revolution, Thames and Hudson in collaboration with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, London, England.
Address: Ironbridge Gorge Mining Museum Trust Ltd, Coach Road, Coalbrookdale, Telford, TF8 7AW, Tel: +44-1952-432166 or +44-1952-433522, Fax: +44-1952-432204. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1968 museum established.
1986 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.



Ironbridge is a World Heritage Site and is widely regarded as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

There are nine Museums in the Ironbridge Gorge, and you will need transport to travel between them. The passport ticket is designed for you to see as many of the Museums as you wish - you can return at any time in the future to see sites that you have missed.

Text by Tony Oldham (2001). With kind permission.

The area around Ironbridge is one of the birth places of the industrial revolution. The first iron railway tracks, the first iron railway wheels, first iron bridge and the first steam railway locomotive, were all made here.

The first Iron Bridge of the world that gives the town its name, was cast in 1779 by Abraham Darby III and spans the River Severn. It was built using local iron and as a demonstration of the wealth of the local iron lords. As it is the first iron bridge, the technology was not already mastered and far too much iron was used. Still, the people were used to stone bridges and did not believe this bridge to be stable enough. Time proved the stability of the bridge, as it still exists.

The area has coal, iron ore, woods to make charcoal and water for drinking, industrial use and last but not least as a source of energy! Having many natural resources, this area attracted miners and iron workers.

First charcoal was used to make iron, the woods of the area were transformed into "energy plantations". Soon the need for iron grew, but it was impossible to make the trees grow faster. On the other hand transport of charcoal from far away was too expensive.

At this time a coppersmith named Abraham Darby came to Ironbridge. He was looking for a way to use coal for iron furnaces instead of charcoal. As a coppersmith he knew how to melt copper using coke, and now he tried to modify this process for the smelting of iron ore. After several failures, he succeeded in the end and the iron industry at Ironbridge boosted because of the locally available coal, the combination of both, iron ore and coal seams, made it the iron capital of the world.

The valley of Ironbridge was a diversified fortune: there were fine deposits of all important materials at one place. There was iron ore, charcoal, coal, tar, underground limestone mines, a river for the transport, later canals, and water power for mills. And there was work force drawn here from the cities around. It was the ideal location for the development of heavy industry.

Today there are numerous sites open to the public. The Iron Bridge and numerous furnaces are freely accessible. The Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron is the central exhibition on the industrial heritage. The Museum of the Gorge, located in the Old Severn Warehouse a short distance west of the iron bridge features a 12 m long model of the gorge in 1796, at the heyday of the industrial revolution. The Tar Tunnel is a sort of show mine where tar was mined. Those central exhibits are completed by various related museum, like the Enginuity interactive Design & Technology Centre, the Jackfield Tile Museum, the Coalport China Museum, and the Broseley Pipeworks.