Newest Review: ... informative. We could pay £3.60 as an adult to see the museum or £21.95 to get a passport to all museums. There are discounts available ... more
A Day Trip With Dr.Who!
Ironbridge Gorge Museum (Ironbridge)
Member Name: karenuk
Ironbridge Gorge Museum (Ironbridge)
Date: 18/03/01, updated on 18/03/01 (120 review reads)
Advantages: lots to see and do, historical interest, very pretty scenery, atmospheric
Disadvantages: can be muddy, quite a lot of walking to do, maybe a bit overpriced
In November 1997, as part of a wonderful Dr. Who weekend, a group of around thirty people were privileged to spend three days with two stars of the popular TV programme. So it was that we ended up visiting the Ironbridge Gorge Museum in Shropshire – me, my partner, my father, my eldest daughter – oh, and Colin Baker and Deborah Watling!
One of the stories from Dr. Who was filmed at Ironbridge, which was the main reason for our day trip there. The 1985 story Mark of the Rani, starring Colin Baker as the Doctor, used the scenery to great affect. The story was set around the time of the Industrial Revolution, which is the period reconstructed by the working community of Blists Hill, part of the museum’s attraction.
We watched the video of Mark of the Rani in the coach, while Colin himself added interesting comments, before we reached the place it was filmed. Rather surreal, but an unforgettable experience.
The Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire was the heart of the huge changes brought in by the Industrial Revolution, with the iron bridge itself being built in 1779. The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust was established in 1967, with the first part being open to the public in 1973. There are now eight museums, covering eighty acres of land. So wear sensible shoes!
Set in beautiful surroundings, there are a host of attractions here and you can easily spend six hours or so looking round. Some of the original features of Blists Hill still remain, with other newer attractions built in the old style, so there are no ugly, ultra-modern buildings here.
Blists Hill Victorian Town is where we spent the most time. This is a whole village set in that era – a bank where you can change your money into old currency, then various shops where you can spend them. The old industries are well represented too, so you can walk along the paths and really get a taste of how things used to be. There is a plumbers, confectioner’
s shop, chemist, pub, cobbler’s shop, printing shop and a draper, for example.
There are some nice souvenirs to be bought at not too extortionate prices. There are also places to buy refreshments and toilet facilities. The facilities for the disabled are detailed in the website, but it seems fairly accessible, as we saw several wheelchairs while we were there. It can get muddy though, so this should be taken into consideration.
The kids will love the old fashioned fairground – in fact, my Dad loved it too! There are several stalls such as roll-a-ball to win a prize, also swing boats which are great fun and carousels. There was also a huge pig walking round this part and my daughter had a ride on it, although it got fed-up of her at one point and pushed her off. Colin Baker was walking alongside her and caught her. Not many people can say they have been thrown off a pig and caught by Dr. Who!
If you enjoy walking, there are many places you can visit while burning off a few calories. The blacksmiths, wrought ironworks and the Mission Church are at the far end of the village, but Blists Hill Mine is a nice short walk for the less adventurous.
Other museum sites include the Teddy Bear Shop is a must-see for us fans of everything cuddly, selling a range by Merrythought Ltd. The Coalport China Museum might be worth a visit for those who appreciate such objects, or maybe the Jackfield Tile Museum. There is certainly something for everyone.
The Museum of the Gorge may be a good place to start a visit, providing a useful background to the site and detailing the historical relevance of the place. The forty foot model of the Gorge is a popular feature of this museum.
Check the website for further details, but basically the museums are open from April to November, 10am-5pm. Telephone 01952-432166 for further information. Purchasing a Passport ticket costs £30 for a family (two adults and up to five children un
der eighteen), £10 for an adult, £9 for OAPs and £6 for children or students. These admit you to all the attractions or you can pay for individual ones as you wish.
According to the Shropshire website, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum is currently still open, despite the Foot and Mouth Crisis, but it would still be advisable to ring first just to check, if you are making a long journey.
So where to find it - Ironbridge is situated on the River Severn, five miles south of Telford in Shropshire. Take junction 4 from the M54. Brown and white signs direct you to Blists Hill Victorian Town, which is one of the museums.
Facts taken from www.ironbridge.org.uk and pretty pictures available at www.virtual-shropshire.co.uk/ironbridge-tour
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