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History of Britain - Changing Lives

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10.Iron and Industry
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1700 - 1781

The story of a breakthrough in iron production: the start of an Industrial Revolution that transformed the world. (6.5 mins)

11.Factories and Machines
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1785 next video 11/17next

iconChapter Breakdown

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1. The 18th century was a time of cosy control. But that complacent world was about to be changed forever.
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2. Coalbrookdale in Shropshire - where the Industrial Revolution began.
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3. Three generations in the family of Abraham Darby, famed ironmasters of Coalbrookdale.
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4. How the Darby family transformed iron production - and how, at Ironbridge, a new age dawned

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The opening sequence was filmed at Weston Park, Shropshire, home of the Earls of Bradford. It remains a private residence, and hosts corporate events and conferences.

The garden and grounds, laid out by Capability Brown, are attractive and worth a visit.


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The rest of the module was shot in the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, where Darby's famous Iron Bridge overhangs the river. There are several museums nearby. The Old Furnace is more historically than visually interesting - it's rather spoiled by the ugly metal roof built to protect it from the weather.

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