What a fabulous day we’ve had. The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust manages a group of ten local museums, with the entire area designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unlimited entry to all museums costs just £20 for an annual ticket, and what great value it is.
First stop was Blist’s Hill Victorian town and we were soon transported back to another era with the sounds and smells of a long lost time.
This is no indoor reconstruction but a proper town-sized town in the open air, full of shops, businesses and workers’ cottages. The drapers, the apothecary, the grocers and the printer all offer goods or services for sale amongst the memorabilia. The bakery bakes and sells real bread, the fried fish shop cooks real fish and the sweet shop offers a selection of old fashioned candies.
Everything is dual-priced in current and pre-decimal currency, and if you want to pay in pounds, shillings and pence, you can do so by buying the coins.
With the emphasis on reality, we were relieved to hear that the dentist doesn’t extract real teeth!
It wasn’t unusual to find that a wheelwright doubled up as the undertaker for who better to transport a coffin.
According to the 1891 census, as many as nine people lived in some of the tiny two roomed cottages. The pictures below present quite a homely image, though I’m sure that many of the iron workers lived in very much poorer surroundings.
There was so much more to see and it kept us busy for nearly three hours apart from a short break for a very modern cup of coffee. My feet were aching but it was time to move on to museum number two and oh my goodness … it was amazing. I took 120 photographs there and now I’m off to sort through them and decide which I am going to share with you. But you’ll have to wait until tomorrow.