Sunday, 17 February 2013

Ironbridge (Rd 2)

Greetings, Blog Fans.  This week we decided to make a return visit to Ironbridge.  We went last year about this time as well.  During the first visit, we saw the actual bridge, visited the Blists Hill Town living museum and the Museum of the Gorge.  For details on those attractions and some good history on the Industrial Revolution in general, see my previous post.

Ironbridge is just over an hour away near the town of Telford.

The primary purpose of this trip was to visit the other museums associated with this World Heritage Site before our annual pass expired.  Those included the Enginuity science museum, Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron, Jackfield Tile Museum, and the Coalport China Museum.  This interesting fountain was in the area of the Enginuity and Iron museums (our first stop).
Compare this hazy morning photo to the bright early afternoon photo up top.  It turned into a really nice day, especially for February. An old furnace is housed in the triangular building alongside the old viaduct.

Nearly empty car park at 10 minutes before opening.  It would fill up during the day.  The Iron Museum is straight ahead and Enginuity, our first stop, is between the two buildings.

Can't say enough good things about Enginuity.  It was smallish, but well laid out and had many interactive activities as well as ample learning videos as well.   Here Alex is moving a large locomotive via gearing and pulleys.

  squirting water -- always a hit

 A replica of the 1938 Robot Gargantua.  I found the history of this fascinating:

In March 1938, the Meccano Magazine published a brief article describing an automatic crane of stunning complexity.  A single motor drove all the motions of this monster machine, capable of building complex structures from wooden blocks automatically.  From the original photograph, it was difficult to tell if Gargantua was even made from Meccano, or whether it could really do all that was claimed.  Nobody had ever built anything so ambitious in Meccano.

A full description and more detailed photographs lay hidden for nearly half a century until the Liverpool Meccano factory was demolished.  [they were eventually published]

. . . I [Chris Shutte] built the Robot programmer in June 1997 and met the originator's widow and son.  They encouraged me to build the whole crane, which I did during the following 12 months, about 400 hours work.

And here it is in this little museum (though we didn't get to see it in action).  My erector sets never quite turned out like this.

Alex feeding a "boiler" fuel (red balls) and water (spinning wheel) to generate energy (blue balls at the top).

Throughout the museum they had the question marks near a "Scan It" station.  A little video would pop up to describe the topic that you scanned.  Really neat (especially for Kuk and me). 
The good old jet (gas turbine) engine.  It was good to take the kids through it.  They had two internal combustion engines (one diesel) as well.

Alex's building before the earthquake.

 and after

 Alex and Kuk trying to assemble various cubes out of different shapes.

Great time at the museum.  Highly recommended.  Next stop was the Museum of Iron next door.

Not too many photos for the museum.  I liked the bits in the beginning that talked about the strides that Abraham Darby made in developing a method of producing pig iron in a blast furnace fuelled by coke rather than charcoal. This was a major step forward in the production of iron as a raw material for the Industrial Revolution.

The photo above shows the previous method of making charcoal.  This required a lot of wood that was smoldered to finally generate the charcoal.  Once Darby figured out how to use coke (from coal) such that the sulfur bi-product didn't mix the iron, the Industrial Revolution was on its way. 

I still don't understand all my irons.  Here's a ball of wrought iron above.  I guess I need to study some more.
Massive Aga Cooker made out of Cast Iron.  I hear these are considered posh now.
 Back to they sunny outside and a closer shot of the old furnace.
Next stop of the Jackfield Tile Museum.  It didn't do much for us but we did like the London Tube memory.

 an interesting glass (artisan) store nearby

 neat paperweight

cool piece here -- knock a zero off and I would have bought it

final stop was the China Museum for an admittedly quick walk through -- not much of interest on the inside, especially since we just went to the Royal Crown Derby.

One of the kilns shown here.  The complex was nice to walk around especially on such a nice day.

All and all, it was another nice day out.  Really liked the Enginuity Museum from this trip and walking in Ironbridge and visiting the Victorian Museum from the last trip.  Glad we split it into two trips as it is too much to see at once.

Being the old romantic that I am (ha), I did take Kuk out for Valentine's Day -- 20 years since our first one together.  We went to Masa's which we've been to a few times before.  The food was good but the service was pretty slow even for British standards.  It took about 40 minutes to flag someone down for the bill and to pay.  Not the note you want to leave on.  I think we'll use Darley's for special occasions from now on.
That's not to say we didn't have a nice night out.  Kuk continued her fish theme from the salmon starter above to the sea bass main.

and a strawberry creme brulee for dessert

for completeness, I had a cheese and roasted pepper cannelloni starter

and the horse beef main (we've had some horse meat stories in the news here, primarily in the cheaper prepared food; everyone says the beef tastes different here . . . .)  [this beef was good]

Finally, I'm still rockin' the Jamie Oliver 15-minute meals.  I'll spare you the repeats, but we did try a new one this week:  lamb kofta, pita, mint & hot pepper couscous and a Mediterranean salad.  Another winner.

Have a good week everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe we need to go to see the Iron Bridge! Funny about the horse meat, we've been joking about that as well. I was a little nervous in Belgium because they actually eat it there (not on accident).