Monday, 21 February 2011


This was the first bridge in the world to be constructed entirely of cast iron. It was built across the River Severn near Coalbrookdale in Shropshire between 1777 and 1779.

It was built by the local ironmaster Abraham Darby III at a cost of slightly over £2,737. The actual method of construction is very similar to what would have been used for a wooden bridge.

The Darbys of Coalbrookdale were a dynasty of Quaker ironmasters. The founding father, Abraham Darby I, at the start of the 18th century, was the first man successfully to use coke rather than charcoal as fuel for smelting iron in a blast furnace. This is often seen as the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Britain.

The Darby works at Coalbrookdale and nearby at Blists Hill are now an open-air industrial museum.

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