New films
The Iron Bridge Story

New films
The Iron Bridge story: an expert guide

In 1779 the world’s first iron bridge was erected across the wooded gorge of the River Severn in Shropshire.

This beautiful, single span structure has now become the global symbol of the start of the new industrial age which built the modern world. Today the bridge is the focus of the UNESCO Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage site.

In these two new audiovisual podcasts, David de Haan tells the fascinating story of the Iron Bridge. He explores the visionary men including Abraham Darby III who saw the potential of building in cast iron; who pioneered the new technologies; and, who raised the funds to pay for the bridge. David also reveals how this important icon of industrial history fell into disrepair and was almost demolished before being designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument in 1934.

In the second programme, David explains how the bridge was built by men whose experience had previously been confined to building in wood and stone. Having studied the bridge in great detail for more than a decade, he provides new insights on this important part of the early industrial revolution.

View the programmes

Birth of the Bridge Building the Bridge
English Heritage This year a major conservation programme is beginning to restore the bridge and ensure that it will remain a part of our heritage. It will cost £1.25 million and is the largest conservation programme yet undertaken by English Heritage.
David de Haan About your guide

David de Haan recently retired as Senior Curator and Director of Learning at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and until 2012 he was Programme Director of the Ironbridge Institute, University of Birmingham.
The Lunar Legacy

Exploring the Lunar Society

Erasmus Darwin House celebrates the continuing story of the Lunar Society with another packed programme of events and lectures.

Keeping in the spirit of the original Lunar Society who met under the guise of a full moon, in order to illuminate their way along rutted roads and tracks, Erasmus Darwin House is hosting monthly talks and events on the dates of the full moon.

Following the celebrations commemorating the 250th anniversary of the Lunar Society, Erasmus Darwin House returns with another programme of full moon lectures and events exploring the society’s lasting legacies.

Along with lectures on the Lunar Society, their highlights this year include a full moon cheese and wine evening at the invitation of the Mayor and Sheriff of Lichfield in May. The Museum will also welcome back internationally-published author Wendy Moore to discuss her new book The Mesmerist. Her newly anticipated book traces the unusual story of John Elliotson, the society doctor who held Victorian London spellbound with hypnotism.

The Museum’s Herb garden will be showcased in June during our 18th Century gardens weekend with a talk from University of Birmingham researcher Elaine Mitchell, followed by guided tours, exploratory trails and children’s activities. An seminar day in October will see short talks by academics and museum professionals on Collections, Collectors and Collaborations in the 18th Century followed by an optional evening meal and talk on Lunar Man and medical doctor William Withering at his former home at Edgbaston Hall.

For a list of events and ticket prices: or download a brochure here.

Booking essential. Refreshments available.

Lunar Men: Friends who made the future Order Jenny Uglow's wonderful book

Lunar Men: Friends who made the future

Meet the famous men - Watt, Boulton, Darwin, Priestly, Wedgwood and others - who met to discuss new ideas and who experimented with the revolutionary technology and science which shaped the Industrial Revolution and modern Britain.

Buy the Book »  Only £6.00*

Birmingham Wills and Inventories 1512-1603
Edited by Jacqueline Geater

We are starved of sources for Birmingham’s early history. The lack of information has encouraged strange myths, such as Conrad Gill’s assertion that Birmingham was a village until the sixteenth century. Part of the problem is that not enough records are available in print. Wills are documents that everywhere become plentiful after about 1540, and provide valuable information about religious beliefs, support for charities, and family members receiving bequests.

Published by the Dugdale Society £30.

Read more by Professor Christopher Dyer »

To order a copy

Warriors, Warlords and Saints

Warriors, Warlords and Saints
The Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia by John Hunt

Anglo Saxon Mercia was a great power in its day, although many aspects of it have been shrouded in myth and mystery. However, recent discoveries, such as the Staffordshire Hoard and the Lichfield Angel, have shone a fascinating light into the world of Mercia and the Mercians.

In this book author John Hunt uses this evidence to paint a vivid picture of this political and cultural powerhouse which, at the height of its influence, ruled over much of England, and reached out across Europe into the Middle East.

Buy the book » Only £19.99*

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