The Old Furnace in Coalbrookdale has been presented with a prestigious Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Engineering Heritage Award in recognition of being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
The Old Furnace, which is part of the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron complex, is cared for by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.
It was using the Old Furnace in 1709 that Abraham Darby pioneered the use of coke, rather than charcoal, as a fuel for smelting iron – an innovation that marked the beginning of the industrial age.
Engineering Heritage Awards recognise artefacts of particular engineering significance and previous winners include Concorde, the Mallard locomotive and the code-breaking Bombe at Bletchley Park. The awards were set up in 1984 and this will be the 100th to be presented to a significant engineering artefact.
It was presented at a special ceremony by Group Captain Mark Hunt, President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and John Wood, Chairman of the Institution’s Heritage Committee to Barrie Williams, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.