The Ironbridge Gorge Museums are inviting history enthusiasts to join in a fascinating free public archaeology session on Saturday 1 December.
The event which is being held to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the development of the Newcomen Engine will help to uncover more about local links to one of the most significant technological developments of the Industrial Revolution.
In 1712 Thomas Newcomen developed the world’s first truly practical steam engine which created a step-change in the course of the Industrial Revolution. As Newcomen improved the design of his engine he looked to the Coalbrookdale Company to provide larger and highly accurate cast iron cylinders which made the engines far more powerful, efficient and cheaper to build. These engines were to transform industry and, from them, further uses of steam power were developed such as the railway locomotive.
However, there are questions that still surround the relationship between the Newcomen engine and Coalbrookdale. The Museum’s academic and curatorial team are running a public session to explore it in more detail. The session, informed by recent research carried out at the Museum, will examine what is already known about the Coalbrookdale Company’s involvement with the construction of Newcomen engines and attempt to show where the 1742 Coalbrookdale Newcomen engine was located. People attending the session will also find out more about what pictorial evidence can tell us and how using new technology can help us to understand more about the industrial landscapes of the Gorge.
This session is free of charge and is open to all – there’s no need to book, simply turn up on the day. It will be led by Ironbridge Gorge Museum staff Shane Kelleher, Archaeology and Monuments Officer and Matt Thompson, Senior Curator along with support from the Museum’s archaeology volunteers.
The session will be opened with a performance of ‘Newcomen Comes to Coalbrookdale’ a one man play about the inventor Thomas Newcomen and the Darbys of Coalbrookdale which will take place at the Old Furnace.
The day will start at 10.30am on Saturday 1 December and will finish at around 1pm and the session will based at Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron. For more information contact Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre on 01952 433 424 or email@example.com.