Friday, September 14, 2012

It's a Bridge... Made of Iron

I will admit it, I was not really looking forward to our Friday trip to the Ironbridge Gorge... at all. Every other Heritage trip we have taken has been to an iconic British landmark that I've studied in school or wanted to visit, but not so for our Friday excursion. The Ironbridge Gorge was, quite frankly, a place I, and most of my classmates had never heard of (a fact that shocked our leader Dr Forsaith). Add to all this that the Ironbridge Gorge is over 2 hrs away and the coach left at 8am, and, as you can imagine, I wasn't jumping for joy at the idea of the whole thing.

I am, however, pleased that I was proven wrong on that front. Although definitely not my favorite excursion, Ironbridge was a lot more interesting than I expected it to be. It was a rather pleasant day, if a bit chilly, and we walked up to and across the Ironbridge, which was the first bridge to be successfully made of Iron, thanks to the efforts of the Darby family. It was a beautiful site and a great photo-op, as you can see in this picture of me and my flatmates.

Because the Ironbridge was the first bridge made of iron, it naturally became a spectacle, and as people flocked to the gorge to walk across this bridge (for a fee of course) other ventures sprang up in the area including china, tiles and tar. This area, and this bridge were instrumental in the moving forward of the Industrial Revolution. While in the Ironbridge Gorge/Coalbrookdale area, we saw the Ironbridge Tollhouse, the Museum of the Gorge, the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron, the Coalport China Museum and the Darby Houses.  As you can imagine, this made for a very long day.

But that's not all folks! Before we left the area, we also had afternoon tea with delicious scones (which Caitlin had been looking for forever, so it certainly made her day) all set up by Dr Forsaith which was extremely generous of him.

By the time we arrived back home in Oxford, we were all exhausted, but I had truly gained a new appreciation for all the Ironbridge Gorge had to offer (and no, I'm not just saying that). While I wouldn't necessarily go back, it was an enjoyable day--it certainly exceeded my expectations.  As always, you can see pictures in the slideshow below:

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