The Ironbridge

I’m going to guess that this is a photo everybody takes – hopefully, just a bit better than me by getting the top of the ironwork actually in the picture.


This picture dates from 1972 and was taken on that little Canon Demi camera – the one that gave me 72 half frame sized slides on a roll of film.

‘The’ Ironbridge was the first ever bridge built of iron. The area of Coalbrookdale which grew up around this structure is called Ironbridge. The river down below is the River Severn and we are in Shropshire in England.

We can see that the bridge was erected in 1779. It doesn’t tell us that the engineer was Abraham Darby. Neither does it tell us that the construction method used the techniques of carpentry. Where one piece of iron slotted into another, a wedge was used to hold it all firmly together. So a pioneering material was used but the construction was still done in age old ways.

The result is an item of beauty. With remedial work it still stands today, 235 years on. But it only carries light traffic – pedestrians.

One could say the bridge is the centrepiece of a varied set of museums stretching along the Ironbridge Gorge.

It’s a perfect place for a nerd to visit.

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