Ironbridge Gorge, England: Blists Hill Victorian Town – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide


Of the many museums
here in the Valley, the Blists Hill Victorian Town, creatively humanizing the age,
is my favorite. You’ll wander through
a 50-acre industrial site with a recreated town
from the 1890s, staffed with characters
in Victorian dress. Pop into whatever shop appeals. We’re meeting
the candlestick maker. Repeatedly dipping her candles
into the wax, she reminds us, “There’s no rest
for the Victorian worker.” Then, she shows off her clever
double-wick candle. -This is a Victorian
double-wicked candle. The flame can jump
from wick to wick, and it won’t blow out so easily. -Around the corner,
the printer is hard at work. Even with ingenious
mechanization, mass-production still required
skilled labor. ♪♪ As the engineer
fires up a replica of the first steam-powered
locomotive from 1802, we’re reminded that Britain
was the workshop of the world and that the combination
of steam power, iron wheels, and iron tracks helped propel the British Empire
to world dominance. Today, as industry evolves
and this early technology is eclipsed by our digital
and global age, museums like this help us
appreciate the impact of the relentless march
of progress.

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