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Jackfield Tile Museum offers a great day out, giving you the chance to experience the history of the Industrial Revolution in a giant Victorian factory, brimming with stunning decorative tiles on display and different room settings. At the Ironbridge Gorge Museums, you can learn, play and even make your own decorative tiles at the school holiday workshops. Other great Ironbridge Gorge Museums include the Tar Tunnel, Blists Hill Victorian Town, the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron and the Darby Houses. This Ironbridge Tile Museum presents and showcases the history of the British decorative tiles industry between the years of 1840 and 1960, so you can get a rounded, specific, historical retelling of these significant years. Don't miss out on the regular workshops you can enjoy and visit the museum shop to buy some pretty decorations to take home.
The Jackfield factory was born out of the Victorian mission to make, make, make throughout the Industrial Revolution, and so tiles became the speciality of this Victorian factory, making use of them for everyone. Jackfield was once at the very epicentre of tile production for Britain, and this museum will tell you why. Walk along for this immersive experience to encounter the very best examples as they have a recreated pub, plus a tube station, church and more, so you can get a feel for what life was like making these Jackfield tiles. See some gorgeous friezes, magnificent story-telling panels and a first-class gallery at the museum that is dedicated solely to British tiles.
Jackfield is known as being one of the oldest ceramic production centres in Shropshire, as the tradition dates far back to the 16th century. It all began with the Thursfield family who settled in Jackfield during the early 18th century! Once the biggest tile factory in the entire world, now museum, Jackfield is reputable for its encaustic tiles that have ornate, impressive, designs which were designed by making use of different coloured clay layers that amalgamated to produce a stunning product. Fun fact: if you need a tile for period restorations, tiles are still produced here even today for this reason. There are gas-lit galleries that re-design and recreate the ornately tiled rooms from past centuries, which include Victorian public conveniences. Victorian toilets were some of the most extravagant, colourful places, unlike the clean white tiles that toilets make use of today.
If you want to learn more about local industry, The Jackfield Tile Museum is perfect for you. Wander through an accurate, atmospheric Edwardian style Tube Station and old-fashioned pub, to give you a taste of the past. Visitors can engage with the extensive catalogue of 1,600 objects and artefacts that live in Jackfield Tile Museum which uses a bespoke kiosk design to display the interpretation information. This enables families to access really cool virtual re-imaginings of the items that are on display, plus you gain access to further archive material, so it becomes a really interactive activity that is great fun while being informative. If you're looking for more great historical experiences, check out the Pollocks Toy Museum in London to explore what toys were like like in the past and experience their wonderful collection.
Visit during the school holidays where there are a great number of family-friendly drop-in workshops to keep the little ones occupied and learning. Plus, you don't want to miss out on the trail that you can follow around the Museum on any day! It's great fun. The Jackfield Tile trail, along with the delightful picnic area create the perfect landscape to enjoy the atmosphere of the site to the fullest, bringing the former stabilisation work back to life. The fascinating tile trail map has been carefully devised by Craven Dunhill Jackfield Ltd and Telford & Wrekin Council for the Jackfield Stabilisation scheme a part of the Ironbridge Gorge group. Through this trail, you can visually uncover the area and its rich heritage, and there are many hidden gems along the way, all set in a beautiful idyllic location. After be sure to make use of the cute picnic area and re-landscaped slopes which are open to the public, this makes a great resting spot.
Be sure to check out the Tile Filled Galleries where you can take a delightful walk through the realistic Edwardian Tube Station, plus interact as you touch, wander, and sit on some splendid tiles, and take in the impressive Trade Show Room. Make sure to get involved and peep into the great working ceramic factory and learn about all the tile decorating techniques. On Wednesday mornings at 11am, you can join a factory tour which is always great fun and captivating. For any budding artists, too, visit Fusion which is home to several creative artists, and you can have a look at their studios, and maybe even purchase some work.
If you're after some more great Shropshire experiences, after a day of fascinating tile history, then make sure to check out Attingham Park, a National Trust estate, home to the complete surviving collections of Regency style.
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