The Cooking Pot That Changed the World
- Gallery:Simonds Pyatt Gallery of European Cultures
The mass production of the cast iron cooking pot was pioneered by Abraham Darby, a Quaker Ironmaster from Bristol, England, whose technological breakthroughs in a small corner of quiet Shropshire countryside arguably ushered in the Industrial Revolution. The use of mineral fuel was the development that would help iron-making break away from dependence on woodlands and water power. It allowed the iron industry to develop around urban centres which fundamentally changed how people lived and worked across the world. In 1779 the world’s first iron structure, the Iron Bridge, was built over the River Severn by the Coalbrookdale Company. The Iron Bridge remains Coalbrookdale’s most recognized and inspirational product and was the catalyst for the architectural use of iron and steel. The casting technologies pioneered by Darby’s Coalbrookdale Company revolutionised the iron industry and led to the mass production of cast iron products.
In 1986, the Ironbridge Gorge became one of the first group of 7 UK sites to be awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO. The surviving built and natural environment with its museums, monuments and artefacts, including the world-famous bridge, serve to remind us of this area’s unique contribution to the history and development of industrialised society.
Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH) is a focal point for cross-disciplinary research, postgraduate teaching and policy engagement based at the University of Birmingham with offices at the Ironbridge Gorge; a World Heritage Site in Shropshire, UK.
The Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH) at the University of Birmingham UK and the Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy (CHAMP) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have signed a collaboration agreement in recognition of their joint interests and endeavours in the heritage field.