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Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire, England

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The Iron Bridge of Ironbridge GorgeThe Iron Bridge of Ironbridge Gorge
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Ironbridge Gorge is a gorge of the Severn River in Shropshire, England. It is today recognised as a World Heritage Site for being the catalyst that sparked the Industrial Revolution.

The iron bridge across the Severn River is the first bridge made of iron to be built in the world. It was erected in 1779 to link the industrial town of Broseley with the mining town of Madeley and the industrial center of Coalbrookdale. The area was important for early industrialists due to plentiful supply of raw material such as coal, iron ore, limestone and clay. This allows for the manufacture of iron, tiles and porcelain.

Coalport China MuseumCoalport China Museum
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authorshipMike White
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The River Severn flows south into the Bristol Channel. It allows early traffic of products from the area by sea to other parts of the country and the world. The Iron Bridge was first suggested in 1773, when English architect Thomas Farnolls Pritchard wrote to local ironmaster John Wilkinson. Two years later, Pritchard finalized the design of the bridge and commissioned Abraham Darby III to build it. 379 tons of iron was used. Darby, who had agreed to fund any overspend, bore most of the cost over-run as the estimate was for only 300 tons of steel. That with other costs put Darby in debt for the rest of his life.

The Iron Bridge was repaired in 1972, with a renovation carried out in 1999, when the cast-iron road plates were replaced with steel plates. Vehicles were barred from cross the bridge since 1934, but pedestrians are allowed till this day.

Albert Edward Railway BridgeAlbert Edward Railway Bridge across River Severn
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authorshipkevin skidmore
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Ironbridge Gorge was inscribed as a World Heritage Site during the X session of the World Heritage Committee

World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: N 52 37 35 W 2 28 22 in Shropshire, England.
Inscription Year: 1986
Type: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: I, II, IV, VI

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