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The Iron Bridge: Symbol of the Industrial Revolution [Hardcover]

Neil Cossons , Barrie Trinder
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

7 Oct 2002
The first bridge ever to be built of iron, in 1779, is perhaps the most important industrial monument in Britain. The bridge changed the pattern of communications in its area, and attracted thousands of sightseers. The first book with this title marked the bicentenary in 1979, explaining the conception, design and construction of the bridge and its social impact. However, since then, so much new evidence has required a completely new account. Of the iron bridges built in the half century after 1781, this book identifies nearly twice as many as the first edition. The definitive history by the two authors best qualified to write it.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Phillimore & Co Ltd (7 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860772307
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860772306
  • Product Dimensions: 28.7 x 20.9 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,172,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Neil Cossons and Barrie Trinder worked together at Ironbridge between 1971 and 1983, the former as Director of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum and the latter as the Museum Trust's Honorary Historian. During that time they jointly directed the First International Congress of the Conservation of the Industrial Monuments and were co-authors of the first edition of this book

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bridge to the Past 24 Jun 2011
By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is a review of the 2002 second edition. The authors in their preface note that, "Such has been the pace of research during the last two decades that this is in effect a new book." There are seven chapters, and I give a flavour of what they are about in what follows. The book is a somewhat detailed history of the Iron Bridge but also a wider general history of (what Eric DeLony refers to in his foreword) "cast-iron arches, of which England enjoys the world's largest and most distinctive collection." Around 130 survive that were built between 1780 and 1830.

The first chapter sets the scene for the construction of the Severn Gorge's iron bridge, providing geographic, economic, and industrial contexts. The second sets out how the project was started and the influence of Thomas Farnolls Pritchard, whilst the third chapter discusses the bridge's realisation. Here, the authors argue that, "The construction of the Iron Bridge can best be understood not through a chronological narrative, for which the sources provide insufficient evidence, but by attempting to answer a series of questions in which what is known can be balanced with current gaps in our knowledge."

Chapter four surveys the completed bridge and its effect on local transport networks; on artists and the nascent tourist trade; and on the founding and growth of the town of Ironbridge at its northern end. The authors also look at the gradual decline of the bridge in the public's esteem over the ensuing two centuries. The bridge's decay and reconstruction is covered in the fifth chapter, for from its beginning hardly a decade seems to have passed by without some remedial work being required on the bridge.
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