One of the purposes for starting this blog was to give myself interesting and slightly productive distractions, and thought that visiting places and writing about them would be a good way of doing so. Given that I am a full 9-5 worker bee, it has not been possible to enjoy the delightful weather we have been having this last week. Typically when Saturday came, the weather changed, however luckily, today the sunny weather returned and an impromptu trip to Ironbridge was arranged.
Ironbridge, 6 miles from my front door, is a small village and world heritage site on the River Severn, it is famous for (and named after) the iron bridge, opened in 1781.
The Iron Bridge was the first arch bridge made from cast iron, this was achieved due to a method of producing pig iron using a furnace fuelled by coke rather than charcoal. This idea was originally invented by Dud Dudley but perfected by Abraham Darby, resulting in the development of the coke-fuelled blast furnace in 1709. During the 18th Century, the Darby business grew and was handed down from father to son and eventually grandson. Abraham Darby III was tasked with the construction of the bridge, originally designed by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard of Broseley, to link the two areas Broseley and Coalbrookdale. After completion of the Iron Bridge, the village Ironbridge began to grow.
Nowadays, Ironbridge is a popular visitor hotspot and has a number of pubs, restaurants and independent shops.
After walking around Ironbridge, over the Bridge, halfway up a hill on the other side taking photos along the way, I set off in search of refreshment in the form of tea or ice-cream.
My nan has raved about a little tea shop in Ironbridge for quite some time, I have long felt a strong inclination to go try it for myself, I was not (for the most part) disappointed.
Half-hidden in a corner next to the row of shops containing the Bookstore and old Post Office, The Tea Emporium offered a selection of tea’s to drink or purchase, along with various other goods such as Teapots, Jam and specialist drinks.
After waiting around for a table outside, we were begrudgingly forced to sit inside, but opted for a window seat where I was able to admire the sunshine and delightful Ironbridge views, but also the less delightful and copious number of tourists. On the table a list of favourite tea’s were displayed, giving the option to choose from one of the many tins of tea leaves on the shelves around the store section of the Tea Shop.
Rather than my usual “normal tea” or Assam, I was somewhat badgered into trying something new, which came in the flavour of Orange and Passionfruit, I’m not normally one for fruit tea’s, they lack the caffeine my body requires. Given my indifference to fruit teas which more often than not taste like water, I wasn’t expecting much from the tea, certainly not a bright red colour since Orange and Passionfruit J20 is orange. The tea itself wasn’t bad at all especially the second cup, having time to brew, and not being prematurely poured by an overzealous tea-pourer. Rather appropriately whilst drinking the Orange and Passionfruit tea, Judy Garland’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow was playing in the background, followed by Beyond the Sea and another song from an American musical the name of which escapes me.
After berating my friend for suggesting leaving without paying and even worse suggesting stealing a pot, we left the Tea Shop, deciding against paying between £15 and £25 for a teapot for nan.
A few doors down from The Tea Emporium, is the bookshop I always visit when in Ironbridge, but am yet to purchase anything from. Walking in, I head straight up the stairs and begin eyeing the Antique Books and Classics sections. After writing my first Austen blog the other day, and lovingly admiring my box set, I became painfully aware I was missing one… Northanger Abbey, Austen’s parody of gothic fiction. Now, glancing through the Classics’s section, I found many a book on Shakespeare and even two copies of Emma but no Northanger Abbey, you must sense the level of disappointment I felt. As one should in situations such as this, I promptly left the store, silently scorning the owner for having two copies of the same Jane Austen novel and no more.
After recovering from my disappointment, I headed up the hill in search of the house I have admired on the Saville’s estate agent’s website. Walking some distance up the road, I realised the house wasn’t this far round a bend, it could not be viewed from the bridge otherwise. Looking at a photo I had taken earlier, the house was lower down the hill and also further along and after giving up, I headed back down the hill. Walking a little down the lane, I noticed a side road with a familiar sounding name and a familiar row of cottages. I set off down the lane and soon came upon the house I had so many times wished I could own, if only I had £250,000 in the bank.
Noticing the time, I decided it best to head off and drive up to Coalbrookdale to take a few photos of the two houses once owned by the Darby family.
Dale House and Rose Hill house were built by Abraham Darby I, side by side in Coalbrookdale. Dale House, completed in 1717 was built for the Darby family and was occupied at various times, by five generations of the Darby’s. Between 1768 and 1776, Dale House was enlarged and later lived in by Abraham Darby III. The attic was converted into a third storey and major interior alterations were undertaken.
Rosehill House was completed in around 1738, for the Clerk to the Coalbrookdale Company Richard Ford and Mary, the eldest daughter of Abraham Darby I. The house was later occupied by the youngest son of Abraham Darby III and his wife Maria. The restoration of Rosehill House, shows the house as it was in the mid 19th century.
Righteo, I have been slaving away at this for two hours now, on and off, so I shall leave it at that, enjoy my wine and attempt to concentrate on Titanic. Farewell!
Note to readers; compliments much appreciated, criticisms of my writing ability less so… that means you Morgan =D