I for Iron Bridge

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I - ironbridge tolls

Following on from my bridge last week is another iron bridge, this time from Shropshire and much closer to home. This Iron Bridge is in the Severn Gorge and has a town named after it. It was the first arch bridge in the world to be built from cast-iron and it opened on New Year’s Day 1781, the result of work by the architect Thomas Pritchard (whose work can be seen in many Shropshire towns including Ludlow) and Abraham Darby III.

I - ironbridge

It is one of the great symbols of the Industrial Revolution and visited by many.  Directly across from the bridge is the Tontine Hotel.

I - ironbridge from the ironbridge

The word Tontine is a noun “an annuity scheme by which several subscribers invest in a common fund out of which they receive an annuity that increases as subscribers die until the last survivor takes all!”.

The idea of building a hotel here started as soon as people realised the attraction of the Iron Bridge. Those involved in the venture included Abraham Darby III, Samuel Darby, William & Richard Reynolds, John Wilkinson, Joseph Rathbone and others who were involved in the construction of the bridge.

The hotel opened in 1784. Inside are Victorian fireplaces with the traditional tiles of the area, photographs showing the area in different stages, with coracle men and their coracles, people standing on the river under the bridge when it froze on the 5th February 1917, collections of old local bottles etc.

source: Ironbridge Tourist Information and Visitor Centre.

view from bridge
View from bridge

If you ever find yourself in Shropshire, then try to make some time to visit this once heavily industrialised, now pleasantly picturesque, town, not just for the Iron Bridge, but also its many other attractions.