The Industrial Revolution in Shropshire

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The first edition of this book, published in 1973, was greeted with universal acclaim by reviewers around the world. Its scholarship was one of the foundations of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum and firmly established the importance of the Shropshire Coalfield as a cradle of the Industrial Revolution. It made the monuments of the Gorge a source of pride to Salopians and objects of attention for historians and archeologists from all parts of the world. The book has become a classic of industrial, social, and local history. Dr Trinder provides a full account of the social and economic history of the area between 1660 and 1860. Changes in ironmaking, upon which new light has been thrown since the last edition appeared, are examined in detail, in parallel with the development of transport systems and steam engines. The origins of William Reynold’s "new town" of Coalport and the career of John Fletcher, vicar of Madelely, are fully explained and described, while the ways in which the people of the area found identity in their work, in their homes, and in their religious and recreational activities are perceptively analysed. This is the book which helped to make Ironbridge a place of international pilgrimage, and provides an unmatched account, in 21st-century terms, of why the Shropshire Coalfield is regarded as one of the birthplaces of modern industrial civilization.


Barrie Trinder is an international authority on the history of industry, the editor of the first encyclopedia of industrial Archaeology, of the standard work on the industrial landscapes of England and Wales, and of the first comprehensive survey of 20th-century industrial archeology in Britain. He spent 30 years teaching in Shropshire and was closely associated with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, serving as the Museum’s honorary historian until 1990.