Darby Houses

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Rosehill House Rosehill House, Coalbrookdale - geograph.org.uk - 571091.jpg
Rosehill House

The Darby Houses museum is one of ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums administered by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. It is based in the village of Coalbrookdale in the Ironbridge Gorge, in Shropshire, England within a World Heritage Site, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust is an industrial heritage organisation which runs ten museums and manages 35 historic sites within the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, England, widely considered as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

Coalbrookdale village in Shropshire, England, United Kingdom

Coalbrookdale is a village in the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, England, containing a settlement of great significance in the history of iron ore smelting. It lies within the civil parish called the Gorge.

Shropshire County of England

Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands of England, bordering Wales to the west, Cheshire to the north, Staffordshire to the east, and Worcestershire and Herefordshire to the south. Shropshire Council was created in 2009, a unitary authority taking over from the previous county council and five district councils. The borough of Telford and Wrekin has been a separate unitary authority since 1998 but continues to be included in the ceremonial county.


The Darby Houses comprise the adjacent properties of Dale House and Rosehill, both of which were built for members of the Darby family in Darby Road, Coalbrookdale.

Dale House

Dale House was originally built in 1717 for Abraham Darby I and looks out over the Upper Furnace Pool whose outflow powered the blast furnace. This Abraham Darby married Abiah Darby and they had several children. [1] Abraham and Abiah moved to their new house, Sunniside, in 1750. [2] Dale House was enlarged by subsequent generations: in 1776 Abraham Darby II converted the attic into a third floor. During the 20th century it was converted into flats, which undermined the true character of the house, but has since been restored as much as possible to its 18th-century appearance. [3] It is a Grade II listed building. [4]

Abraham Darby, in his later life called Abraham Darby the Elder, now sometimes known for convenience as Abraham Darby I, was the first and best known of several men of that name. Born into an English Quaker family that played an important role in the Industrial Revolution, Darby developed a method of producing pig iron in a blast furnace fuelled by coke rather than charcoal. This was a major step forward in the production of iron as a raw material for the Industrial Revolution.

Abiah Darby was an English minister in the Quaker church based in Coalbrookdale. She was also the wife of the iron industrialist Abraham Darby. Abiah kept a journal and she sent letters which recorded the Darby family's achievements. One of her letters has been used to identify the start of the Industrial Revolution.


Rosehill was built in about 1738 for Richard Ford, who married Abraham Darby I's eldest daughter, Mary. Richard was Clerk to the Coalbrookdale Company under Abraham I and later Manager of the Coalbrookdale Ironworks. In the mid 19th century the house was occupied by Abraham Darby III's youngest son Richard and his wife Maria and after his death by his daughter Rebecca until 1908. The house has been restored from an uninhabitable condition by architect Graham Winteringham and refurnished to recreate its 1850 appearance. [3] Rosehill is also a Grade II listed building. [5]

Abraham Darby III British ironmaster

Abraham Darby III was an English ironmaster and Quaker. He was the third man of that name in several generations of an English Quaker family that played a pivotal role in the Industrial Revolution.

Graham Winteringham is an English architect who was born in Louth, Lincolnshire. Winteringham's work has consisted either of public buildings or the restoration of historic buildings.

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  1. Nancy Cox, ‘Darby , Abiah (1716–1794)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 25 September 2015
  2. Kenneth E. Hendrickson III (25 November 2014). The Encyclopedia of the Industrial Revolution in World History. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 238–239. ISBN   978-0-8108-8888-3.
  3. 1 2 "Darby Houses" . Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  4. Historic England. "DALE HOUSE (1280279)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  5. Historic England. "ROSEHILL (1367412)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 12 October 2014.

Coordinates: 52°38′29″N2°29′39″W / 52.64139°N 2.49410°W / 52.64139; -2.49410

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