Shropshire News

Coalbrookdale 300 Exhibition - Celebrates 300th Anniversary Of The Industrial Revolution

Coalbrookdale 300 Exhibition - Celebrates 300th Anniversary Of The Industrial Revolution

Easter 2009 - January 2010

The new 'Coalbrookdale 300' exhibition opening Easter 2009 at the Coalbrookdale Gallery, near Ironbridge, Shropshire will celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Industrial Revolution with artistic responses to the changing scale of the iron industry.  It will include works drawn from the Sir Arthur Elton Collection, which is held by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, as well as loan material from further afield including the National Museum of Wales.

The Ironbridge Gorge is known worldwide as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution as in 1709 Abraham Darby I successfully smelted iron with coke at Coalbrookdale, an innovation which led to iron-making on a massive scale, changing the lives of millions of people and helping to create the modern industrial world.  Three hundred years on, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust continues to protect and interpret the remains of the area's rich industrial past.

A highlight of the 'Coalbrookdale 300' exhibition will be the coming together of three key landscapes painted by artist William Williams in the 1770s. His two stunning works 'The Morning View of Coalbrookdale' and the 'Afternoon view of Coalbrookdale' graphically illustrate the huge impact made by iron making on the Coalbrookdale valley with its steeply wooden sides. Displayed alongside these paintings, on loan from the Shrewsbury Museums service, will be Williams' picture of the Iron Bridge itself. A commission by the Bridge's builder, Abraham Darby III in 1780, it's a very early example of the artist's impression as the Bridge was not completed until 1781.

The free entry exhibition will generally be open Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm; visitors are advised to check opening times before travelling.

'Coalbrookdale 300' is one of several events and celebrations throughout 2009 to mark the significance of Darby's discovery. Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron will be hosting an exhibition of new archaeological research that is uncovered around the Old Furnace and there will be a programme of cast and wrought ironworking demonstrations at Blists Hill Victorian Town, plus tours, lectures and opportunities for visitors to try working with hot metal.

2009 is also a milestone year for the West Midlands with significant anniversaries for many other prominent local innovators and entrepreneurs, which will be marked by a region wide initiative entitled, 'A Celebration of Imagination'.  Amongst them are Dr William Penny Brookes, who was the inspiration for the modern Olympic Games, and Charles Darwin who were both born in 1809; Josiah Wedgwood who opened his first china factory 250 years ago and the first Mini, which rolled off the production line in 1958 (

For further information call 01952 884 391

Date Posted: 15th December 2008

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