Ironbridge the town began to grow around the Bridge immediately after it opened to traffic, stimulated by tourism and the permanent river crossing. After the Bridge survived the great floods of 1795, cast iron was used widely and imaginatively in construction of bridges, buildings and aqueducts.

Joseph Farington drew this sketch in 1789, eight years after the Bridge opened to traffic. By this time Madeley market had probably already moved to Ironbridge.
The Iron Bridge near Coalbrook Dale
The Iron Bridge near Coalbrook Dale and country surrounding
Acc No: CBD59.129
Farington, Joseph (artist)

A late nineteenth century view showing how much the town of Ironbridge had grown. The church was built in 1835-6 and assigned the parish of Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale in 1845.
Acc No: SSMT36
Baylis, John Cox (lithographer)

The great floods of 1795 washed away the medieval bridge at Buildwas. An iron bridge, designed by Thomas Telford and cast by the Coalbrookdale Company, was its replacement, a sign of growing confidence in the use of cast iron.

Buildwas Bridge, Colebrook Dale
Acc No: 1978.225.4
Holdsworth, Arthur Howe (artist)

The Crystal Palace built in 1851 shows how far iron construction progressed in the seventy years after the Iron Bridge was built. All the parts were prefabricated offsite, transported to Hyde Park and assembled from a kit of parts in seven months.

General view of the works in progress
Acc No: AE185.3165.69
Berlyn, Peter (author
Fowler, Charles (author)

Longdon-on-Tern, the first cast iron aqueduct, opened to traffic in 1796, carrying the Shrewsbury canal over the River Tern. Cast iron avoided the need for great thicknesses of puddled clay to seal the canal trough, resulting in smaller, lighter structures.
Perspective view of a part of the Iron Aqueduct which conveys the Shrewsbury Canal over the River Tern
Acc No: 1990.3475

Sunderland Bridge, opened in 1796 was a great leap forward in bridge building. The iron arch was estimated to be 15 times lighter than an equivalent arch in stone, and its span of 236 feet was far in excess of any single-arched stone bridge then in existence.
Sunderland Bridge
Sunderland Bridge, Durham
Acc No: AE185.404
Walton, W. (lithographer)
Beverley, W. (artist)