1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Coalbrookdale

COALBROOKDALE, a town and district in the Wellington parliamentary division of Shropshire, England. The town has a station on the Great Western railway, 160 m. N.W. from London. The district or dale is the narrow and picturesque valley of a stream rising near the Wrekin and following a course of some 8 m. in a south-easterly direction to the Severn. Great ironworks occupy it. They were founded in 1709 by Abraham Darby with the assistance of Dutch workmen, and continued by his son and descendants. Father and son had a great share in the discovery and elaboration of the use of pit-coal for making iron, which revolutionized and saved the English iron trade. The father hardly witnessed the benefits of the enterprise, but the son was fully rewarded. It is recorded that he watched the experimental filling of the furnace ceaselessly for six days and nights, and that, just as fatigue was overcoming him, he saw the molten metal issuing, and knew that the experiment had succeeded.

The third Abraham Darby built the famous Coalbrookdale iron bridge over the Severn, which gives name to the neighbouring town of Ironbridge, which with a portion of Coalbrookdale is in the parish of Madeley (q.v.). Fine wrought iron work is produced, and the school of art is well known. There are also brick and tile works.