Coalbrookdale is a work of fiction based on the life Joseph Bangham, who lived in the Severn Gorge three hundred years ago. He was employed at the Coalbrookdale ironworks when Abraham Darby was perfecting the use of coal in the production of iron. These developments facilitated the mass production of iron and as the technology spread, industry thrived. This was a pivotal moment in the history of the modern world. This is a story of an ordinary family living at an extraordinary time and in the district known as the ‘cradle of the Industrial Revolution’. Their lives changed fundamentally as an agricultural evolved into an industrial way of life. The book traces the story of the Bangham family as they move from Banghams Wood where they have been coppicing and producing charcoal for decades, across the Gorge to Coalbrookdale when their lives changed fundamentally, regulated not by the seasons but by the demands of the furnace.
As with any family story there is joy as well as tragedy. The many and varied characters interact in ways which sometimes result in unintended consequences, played out against the backdrop of the often brutal 18th Century in England, when a child could be transported to America or even hanged for poaching a rabbit. As for Joseph, did he realise as he laboured at the furnace, he was involved in events that were to change the world? Would those changes be for the better? It seems that even today, we are unsure of the destination. Much has been written about this extraordinary district, but this book offers a different perspective through the lives of some of the ordinary working people who were there at the very beginning.
Paperback : 356 pages