Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Iron Gorge

Our first full day in Shrewsbury was chock full of Industrial Revolution related site visits.  We began our tour at the Iron Bridge, which was expertly described by our encyclopedia of a guide, Ron.  He gave us an excellent sense of the area during the dramatic changes of the Industrial Revolution (not to mention a good workout - he was 82 and we could barely keep up!) and offered much personal insight into the era.

A wet beginning to our day...

The starting point for our Industrial Revolution adventure

The first cast iron bridge

Up close inspection...
A break in the rain for our group shot!

From the Iron Bridge, we made our way to the Museum of Iron where we explored some early blast furnaces, learned more about the process of making iron and the important impact of coal as a source of fuel.

Ron pointing out important aspects of the blast furnace

Ron and the crew

The Museum of Iron
Erik F excited to learn about the history of iron!

Ron then took us to the tar tunnels, which ooze bitumen from their walls (and required students to wear hard hats which we're finding makes for excellent photo-ops!).  Walking through the tunnel, we could still see the black, sticky substance running like sap from a tree.

Heading into the tunnel

An underground group shot

Our final stop of the day was the Coalport China Museum, which used to house some of the most expansive ceramic facilities in the UK.  Our time here was a bit rushed, but we were able to get a sense of how the use of coal impacted the important local industry.  From there it was back to Shrewsbury for an evening of class discussion relating the outings to our readings about the economics of technological innovation throughout the era. 

View of the countryside from the coach

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