Heritage Open Days

Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron
The Old Furnace
Darby Houses

For the 2023 Heritage Open Days and the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Festival, on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September we will be giving free access to our Coalbrookdale sites, which will also host a range of special events and activities for all ages. 

For this weekend only, visitors will get free access to Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron, Enginuity, the Darby Houses and the Old Furnace. At the four sites, all within walking distance of each other, there will be an array of walks, talks and crafts demonstrations, inspired by the themes of creativity and being green. 

At Enginuity 

  • A rare chance to see behind the scenes at Costume Project, where Alison Phillips, Senior Costume Interpreter, and volunteers reproduce historic costumes for use by museums and heritage organisations. A must for fashion fans. 
  • Budding designers will be able to use fabric scraps to create fashionable looks on rag dolls. 
  • Climate Action Hub Telford is hosting a clothes giveaway and swap, where visitors will be invited to swap their own unwanted clothes or make a pay as you can donation to give a second life to adult, children and baby clothes and school uniforms. 

In the Covered Bays (outside Enginuity)  

  • The opportunity for visitors to make and paint china flowers and make bricks, as well as see slip casting demonstrations. 
  • Oliver Meeson, a local tobacco clay pipe maker specialising in original 19th century designs, will demonstrate his rare skills. 

Talks, tours and special access across the sites 

  • Take the opportunity to learn more about items specially chosen from the Library and Archive reserve collections, representing the theme of ‘Creativity Unwrapped
  • A programme of short talks about the Gorge’s history and the decorative arts, by Collections Curator Kate Cadman and Head of Interpretation Lauren Collier. 
  • A walking tour of Coalbrookdale to the Arboretum, led by Head of Interpretation Lauren Collier, taking in the four sites.  
  • On Saturday only, a special BSL tour of Coalbrookdale led by artist Olivier Jamin. 

The Old Furnace 

  • Nathan Tromans, an academic from Birmingham City University has produced a sound installation which will bring to life the Old Furnace with a soundscape to fire the imagination.
  • On Saturday, weather permitting, a rare chance to see a demonstration of the “bloomery” method of iron production, showing how iron was made before its manufacture was revolutionised by the innovations that took place in the Old Furnace.  

The Darby Houses 

  • The opportunity to take a tour of Rosehill House, built in 1738, and Dale House, built in 1717, to learn about the Darby family. 

Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron 

  • In the Coalbrookdale Gallery, an opportunity to see The Daily Grind: The Industrial Workers of the Ironbridge Gorge, a special exhibition that shines a spotlight on the lives and voices of the people who have worked in the industries of the Ironbridge Gorge, before it closes on 5 November.  

Click here to view the full itinerary.

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