Monday, 13 October 2008

Ironbridge and Machins

My last posting was received favourably by several readers so I thought I might continue it with another bit of historical fact mixed with a Machin theme.

Designed by the great Scottish engineer Thomas Telford the Iron Bridge at Coalbrookdale Shropshire England(shown left) was built in 1779, it is the world’s first cast iron bridge. It was erected at Coalbrookdale, spanning the River Severn - beautifully constructed, totally innovative - and still today it stands as a permanent reminder of our industrial past.

Ironbridge is regarded as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sitting alongside The Taj Mahal, The Pyramids and The Grand Canyon. The Iron Bridge, a magnificent and innovative design when it was first constructed, now stands as a testament to the marvels of the British Industrial Revolution.

It was at Ironbridge, Shropshire, that the large-scale production of cast iron was first developed using a process pioneered by Abraham Darby. Items made in Ironbridge were shipped all over the world.
Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron brings to life the revolutionary techniques that resulted in the Coalbrookdale Company becoming the largest company in the world. It includes the area where Abraham Darby I perfected the secret of smelting iron with coke.

Machins & Ironbridge

Shown left containing 6 x 2p Machins. This pane is from the second Prestige Booklet which cost £3.00 at the time of issue, The Prestige booklet told A story of Wedgewood.

Of interest to me is the fact that this relates to my subject above. The stub of the pane of informs the public of counter stamp books featuring different cover designs that are available from vending Machines and Post office counters. The one displayed is a stamp booklet showing number one in the series Industrial Archaeology.

The booklet it describes is shown left, it is a £1.00 post Office booklet first issued 3rd October 1979. It was Printed by Harrison & Sons Ltd and contained 10 x 10p Machins in Gravure PPP(H)/DEX paper.

As with the Wedgewood pane the cover shows The Ironbridge in Shropshire spanning the majestic River Severn . A spot where I have been fishing for Barbel on many occasions, that's another story for another time if I can relate it to Machins that is :-)

The stamps panes it contained were collectable either in a pane with right margin or left margin, both cylinder (B5) and plain booklets exist.

Cylinder numbers were from the left marginal panes only. Plain panes were available from both left and right marginal panes. If one wanted to delve further and specialise the cylinder B5 can be found with a dot or no dot. Panes can be found with several different perforation types extending into the margins.

If you are interested in specialised booklets More information can be obtained from the Modern British Philatelic Circle (MBPC)

Back to Ironbridge

There are nine Ironbridge Gorge Museums which tell momentous story and offer people a chance to step back to a time when the pounding of steam hammers and clatter of horses’ hooves on cobbles were commonplace. If you wish to read more here are the links.

More links

The Iron Bridge & Toll House, Ironbridge Blists Hill Victorian Town Telford Enginuity, Telford Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron, Telford Museum of the Gorge, Telford Tar Tunnel, Telford Broseley Pipeworks, Ironbridge Gorge Museums.

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