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by Paul Belford
The Ironbridge Gorge is an iconic industrial landscape, presented as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and so part of a national narrative of heroic Protestant individualism. However this is not the full story. In fact this industrial landscape was created by an entrepreneurial Catholic dynasty over 200 years before the Iron Bridge was built. This book tells that story for the first time. Acquiring land at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Brooke family invested in coal mining and iron production - and introduced a radical new method of steelmaking which transformed that industry. Drawing together years of painstaking archaeological and historical research, this book looks in detail at the landscape, buildings and industrial installations created by the Brooke dynasty between the Dissolution and the English Civil War. It also explores the broader contexts - religious, economic and political - which shaped their mind-set and their actions. It considers medieval influences on these later developments, and looks at how the Brookes' Catholicism was reflected in the way they created a new industrial landscape. In so doing it questions traditional narratives of English industrialisation, and calls for a more sophisticated understanding of this period by historical archaeologists.
|Publication date:||13th November 2018|
|Format:||Paperback / softback|
PAUL BELFORD is an archaeologist. Currently the Director of the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, he was for ten years Head of Archaeology at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. His main interests include early industrialisation, urban archaeology, the archaeology of earthwork monuments, and public engagement with archaeology and cultural heritage. A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, Dr Belford is also a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.More About Paul Belford