The Iron Bridge: Symbol of the Industrial Revolution
The Iron Bridge, built in 1779 and spanning the River Severn at Coalbrookdale, is today perhaps the most important industrial monument in Britain. In the early 18th century the Shropshire coalfield with its associated industries, especially iron-founding, was a cradle of the Industrial Revolution, and the river its economic lifeline. The Iron Bridge not only changed the pattern of communications in its area, it attracted thousands of sightseers, many from overseas, for no structure of its time so caught the public imagination.
The present authors produced the first book with this title to mark the bicentenary in 1979, explaining the conception, design and construction of the bridge, its effect and social impact, the technological background and the people involved. However, in the two decades since then, so much new evidence has come to light that this is not a 'revised edition' but a completely re-written new account. The story of the iron bridges built in the half-century from 1781, inspired by the pioneer 'Iron Bridge', has changed dramatically; this book identifies almost twice as many bridges of that period as the first edition.
Eric DeLony, chief of the Historic American Engineering Record, author of the principal work on bridges in the United States, provides a Foreword and Appendix. The book will be welcomed worldwide for the part it plays in the history of modern industrial civilisation.
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