Friday, 10 June 2011

Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site Celebrates 25th Anniversary

This year is very special for the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire’s stunning Severn Valley as it marks the 25th anniversary since it was designated as one of the UK’s first World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in November 1986, alongside such sites as Stonehenge and the Giant’s Causeway. A series of exciting events, festivals and activities is planned to celebrate this significant milestone, which look back over its history and forward to the next 25 years.

Describing the area UNESCO said, "Ironbridge is known throughout the world as the symbol of the Industrial Revolution. It contains all the elements of progress that contributed to the rapid development of this industrial region in the 18th century". Sites and buildings from early industry survive but the Gorge is now a peaceful and beautiful place to visit; and home to the ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums which reflect its history over the past 300 years.

Amongst the first celebratory events will be a free entry exhibition showcasing fascinating, historic images alongside contemporary photography at the Footprint Gallery at Jackfield Tile Museum from 1st July – 30th September (open daily 10am – 5pm). Anyone with interesting photographs or special memories of the World Heritage Site over the years is invited to contact the Museum with a view to their memorabilia being included in the display; further details can be found on

The highpoint of the celebrations will be on Saturday 24th September with the World Heritage Site Festival. A huge street market will fill the Gorge and throughout the day there will be live entertainment including brass bands, choirs, street entertainers and historic characters in costume as well as lots of fun interactive activities for youngsters. In the evening the Iron Bridge will be illuminated in spectacular style and a firework display will light the night sky.

As well as celebrating its 25th anniversary as a World Heritage Site, this year also sees the museums taking part in the London 2012 Open Weekend on 23rd and 24th July in the run-up to the London Games. The Science, Sport, Life Festival on Saturday 23rd is a fun family event on the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron Green with plenty of opportunity to try different sports and activities, while on Sunday 24th the Blists Hill townsfolk will compete in a series of quirky, historic challenges as part of the Community Games initiative.

A Passport to all ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums valid for twelve months and multiple return visits costs £22.50 for adults, £18.25 for the sixty plus, £14.75 for children (up to 18 years in full time education) and £61.50 for families; under 5s free. Individual admission is available into any of the sites. For further information, contact the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre on Tel: 01952 433 424 or visit The Gorge is easily reached via the M6 and M54 motorways exiting at Telford (M54 junction 4 or 6).

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