The Archaeology of Ironbridge Gorge in 20 Digs


Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire might be a peaceful spot today, but this steep valley on the River Severn was once a hub of industry and manufacturing, and the site of several key developments that drove the Industrial Revolution. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, the region is often regarded as the ‘spiritual home of British industrial archaeology’; the location of one of the first industrial museums in Britain (Abraham Darby’s Old Furnace, opened in 1959), Ironbridge continues to lead industrial archaeology research today. This new publication explores some of the highlights of this research, from the 1960s up to the present day. The sites featured range from iron forges and coal mines to pottery works, tile manufacturers, and a tobacco pipe factory, as well as the infrastructure required for all of this industry: canals, railways, warehouses, bridges, and the homes of the people who lived and worked here. For many of these sites, little documentary evidence survives – as Mike Nevell demonstrates, archaeology is crucial to uncovering and preserving the story of the industries and communities of this historic landscape.

Michael Nevell
Amberley Publishing, £15.99
ISBN 978-1398111561