Ironbridge 1781

Ironbridge 1981

© Paul Daniels

The Bridge

The Iron Bridge is a world renowned symbol of the 18th century Industrial Revolution. The River Severn created a deep gorge and exposed natural resources such as coal and iron ore. It was also a key trading route but a barrier to travel across the gorge.

In March 1776 Abraham Darby III, an ironmaster working at Coalbrookdale, was commissioned to cast and build an arch bridge with a single span. It became the first to be built of metal and pioneered the use of cast iron as the preferred material for bridges constructed in the late 18th and early 19th century.

The Iron Bridge

The world's first cast-iron bridge

Key Facts

Grade I listed structure

Also known as the Coalbrookdale Bridge


Coalbrookdale, Shropshire, England

Across the River Severn

Linking Broseley, Madeley and Coalbrookdale

Designers / Engineers

Abraham Darby III

Thomas Farnolls Pritchard


Cast-iron arch bridge

30.63m main span

60m total length

Main contractors

Abraham Darby III


Began in November 1777

Opened July 1779

Visit Ironbridge website

Other long-span bridges