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Full steam ahead at Blists Hill Victorian Town (18th March 2014)

Full steam ahead at Blists Hill Victorian Town

Discover how the Victorians harnessed steam to power their engines and other machines over the spring Bank Holiday weekend when Blists Hill Victorian Town will be ‘In Steam’. On Sunday 4th and Monday 5th May 2014, the outdoor museum in Shropshire’s Ironbridge Gorge, will be displaying a fascinating variety of miniature traction engines alongside its own steam powered collection, which will be in their full working splendour.

Two mighty machines will be in action in the town’s iron rolling mill including the 1926 Pollitt Wigzell single cylinder engine, fitted with Corliss valve gear, and the impressive forge mill engine, which has a 27 ton flywheel from the Thomas Walmsley Atlas Forge in Bolton. There will be guided tours of the ironworks, but iron rolling will not be taking place over the weekend.

Elsewhere in the town the newly refurbished working replica of Trevithick’s 1802 Coalbrookdale locomotive will be running; the original is believed to be the world’s first steam locomotive. The museum’s winding engine will also be in steam.

‘Little Billy’, the town’s own 1903 Wallis & Stevens steam roller, will represent the infancy of steam transport at the other end of the time line. At four tons it’s tiny by the standards of its contemporaries but, for this weekend, it will be a giant compared to the ten beautifully made miniature traction engines with which it will share the streets, each a wonderful example of the model engineers’ art.

Although Blists Hill is open 10am to 5pm, the larger engines will be shutting down from 4.30pm. A great value Annual Passport Ticket allowing entry into the town and the other nine Ironbridge Gorge Museums, valid for twelve months and unlimited return visits, costs £27.50 per adult, £21 for the 60 plus, £16.50 for students and children and £68 for a family of two adults and all their children aged up to 18 years in full time education (terms and conditions apply); under 5s free. Activities and workshops vary day-to-day and some carry an extra charge in addition to the museum admission fee. Individual museum entry tickets are also available.

For further information, contact the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on Tel: 01952 433 424 or visit The Gorge is easily reached via the M6 and M54 motorways exiting at Telford (M54 junction 4 or 6).