Blists Hill Victorian Town
Featured Location Guide
"A part of the World
Heritage Site Ironbridge Gorge"
|Blists Hill is an open air museum in
Shropshire and one of ten museums operated by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum
Trust in the area, and has working factories, shops and cottages, in fact 47
exhibits set in 50 acres of woodland. It attempts to recreate the sights,
sounds and smells of a Victorian Shropshire town at the end of the 19th
century using gas-lit streets, past railway sidings, yards and pigsties,
shops and offices, you can hear the hiss of steam and clank machinery, taste
the butcher's pies, drink beer in the pub and smell candles in the candle
During the 18th and 19th centuries Blists
Hill was an industrial area with brick and tile works, blast furnaces and
coal, iron and fire clay mines. A short section of the Shropshire Canal also
ran across the site and the Hay Incline Plane was used to transport boats up
and down the 207ft incline from the canal to Coalport and then onto the
It's buildings fall into one of three
buildings that were already part of the
buildings that simply represent a
generic type, some represented by reusing existing premises on site or are
replicas of others that stood elsewhere
original buildings that have been
relocated to the museum.
Each of the buildings is brought to life
and life in Victorian times is re-enacted by townsfolk who wear the attire
of the day and who go about their daily lives in the shops and workplaces.
For example, in the print shop, you can watch posters and newssheets being
printed. You will also find them operating equipment such as stationary
steam engines, iron founding and even mucking out pigs and horses.
The Iron Foundry
Once through the visitor and information
centre the overall site is split into three areas:-
The Main Street
The Town. This has been modelled
around the London and North Western Railway interchange siding and goods
shed and the first building you come to is the bank which has been modelled
on the still-standing Lloyds Bank branch in Broseley). In the bank you can
change modern money into money that represents the pre-decimal values of the
time which you can then use throughout the site when buying goods (the main
gift shop at the museum entrance operates only in modern currency).
Other shops within this area include:
Inside the Chemist
There is a craft section which explains and
shows the workings of an
The Sweet Factory
Premises within Quarry Bank include
tallow candle manufacturer
a Dr's surgery and
a Board School
and also discover what life was like for
a Victorian housewife in the three cottages
a typical Victorian photographers
studio, a typical sitting would consist of four poses and cost between
half a crown (12.5p) and five shillings (25p).
The Candle Maker
The Ironworks Area has the original
blast furnaces used to produce pig iron from 1832 to 1911, with a blowing
engine installed in one of the houses. There are also a pair of beam engines
'David & Sampson' and a working wrought ironworks and a blacksmiths. Also
within this area are the buildings associated with the day to day running
for the ironworks including the ironworks office.
The Countryside Area demonstrates
the re-colonisation of an industrial landscape using buildings such as a
corrugated iron mission church, a squatters cottage (where once a family of
2 adults, 6 children and a visitor all lived) and a toll house.
The Toll House
The furthest exhibit from the entrance is
the Hay Incline Plane, built to connect the Shropshire Canal with the River
Severn. It was the final feature to be finished on the canal and was in
operation until 1907. The inclines on this canal were the first of their
type to be build in Britain, they transported tub boats in special cradles
up and down the hillside. At the top of the incline was a steam engine
and acted as either a brake or as a hoist for the full tub boats ensuring a
continuous flow of traffic.
Top of Hay Incline Plane
|During the summer months you may get to
experience a horse and cart ride, using one of their heavy horses, and other
activities as well as many events and some hands-on activities. There is so much
to see and do it is worth allowing at least 2-4 hours for your visit although
from my own experience this is an all day experience, minimum of 4 hours to be
able to take it all in. A great day out, and with their Annual Passport you can
go back as many times as you like within a 12 month period.
The Winding Gear
the smaller images to get see a larger version
The Annual Passport
The Ironbridge Museums
operate an Annual Ticket and Passport where for one price you can get access to
all 10 of their sites with unlimited day time access during normal opening
hours, so you can return as often as you like for a whole year. If after
12 months you have still not visited particular sites, you can return at any
time in the future to make one free visit to the sites that you've missed. These
tickets are sold at all the museums and the visitor information centre in
Ironbridge itself or you can buy them in advance by phone.
2009 prices for the Passport tickets are:
£19.95; 60+ £15.95; Child £12.95 or a family ticket for 2 adults and up to
3 children £54.95.
Easter 2009 saw the opening of the
extended Canal Street, with more shops and row of terrace houses. By
the end of 2009 there will be an incline plane that you can ride on, a
narrow gauge railway and other developments.
Blists Hill, Ironbridge, Shropshire
5 miles south of Telford take junction 4 or
junction 6 off the M54. Follow signs for Ironbridge Gorge. Then follow signs
for Blists Hill Museum.
3 eating places, toilets, picnic areas.
Things To Do,
See and Photograph:
Lots see the above write up
What to take:
Open 7 days a week Apr-Oct 10am-5pm and Nov-
Use the Annual Passport as detailed above or
for entry to Blists Hill only prices are: Adult £13.25; 60+ £10.50; Child
Special Needs Access:
There is disabled parking in the car park.
Ramp to entrance building, level within shop, cafe and toilet. On site all
attractions are accessible via hardcore paths, so should be okay for
wheelchair users although they can become muddy when wet. Some of the
buildings have steps to get into them and a steep hill splits the site into
Upper Town and Lower Town - but the majority of the site can be accessed.
Special Needs Facilities:
Disabled toilets in the entrance building and
Forest Glen Pavilion. The horse drawn cart or Model T Ford Bus when
operating is free for visitors with disabilities. Wheelchair loan.
Lots of space and activities to entertain
children, including a Victorian fairground in the summer. Mother and Baby
room in the entrance block. Also changing facilities in the New Inn pub and
Forest Glen Refreshment Pavilion.
Must be kept on a lead
Please let us know any other information that we
can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always
wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be
correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of
course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have
any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page
then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you
quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the
planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.
Please submit information on locations you discover so
that this system continues to grow.