The world’s first cast iron bridge was built over the River Severn in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire in 1779.  It attracted visitors from all over the world, not just engineers and bridge builders but artists and tourists in general. The technique of smelting iron with coke was perfected nearby by Abrahm Darby who used the product to build the bridge.

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This is a picture of the bridge in about 1800.  You can see the large stone pillars either side supporting the bridge.  As early as 1784 there were reports of the iron cracking as a result of the movement of the banks and the pillars or abutments sqeezing the bridge.  These were removed in the early part of the 19th Century.

As soon as the bridge was built, a community started to form around it and the town of Ironbridge was born.  Another one of my seven wonders and it’s just as pleasing to the eye, which is the main criteria!

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