Blists Hill played a significant role as an industrial site from the late 18th century until the 1950s. Its primary function was to supply raw materials such as coal, ironstone, and clay, and to produce pig iron. In response to industrialization, the site expanded over time to incorporate a brick and tile works. At one point, Blists Hill had 20 cottages, but most of them have been demolished. The peak of its industrial activity occurred in the early 1870s, but the site gradually declined thereafter. Post World War I, the site changed hands multiple times until the mine was ultimately abandoned in June 1941, and the works ceased operations in 1956.
In order to preserve the industrial history of the local area, Kate Bishop proposed the creation of Blists Hill. Between 1969 and its opening in 1973, volunteers excavated the site and added features such as beam engines, kiosks, and footpaths. Over time, the shops and businesses were relocated, with some preserved in their original state and others recreated.
Need to know:
- It costs £5 to park for the day and this includes blue badge holders
- Bring plenty of cash to pay for extras and to change into old money
- Check out the daily activities that are occurring at the entrance
- Fairground rides are extra
You can pre-book tickets on their website or buy them when you get there. If you have the pass plus then you can skip the queue to enter the attraction.
- Adult: £23.50
- Child/Student: £14.00
Pass – access to all the Ironbridge museums for a whole year costs:
- Adult: £33
- Child/Student: £20
- Family (2 adults and 4 children): £86
- Family (1 adult and 4 children): £53
If you are hungry or want a drink after your journey there is a cafe just past the video exhibition at the entrance. The signs indicating the days events are conveniently located just after the entrance so make sure to check them out.
Then head straight to the bank and if you’re travelling with children encourage them to convert their pocket monry into old currency so they can grab souvenirs and goodies in the shops.
Take a step back in time and venture into the shops which include the printers shop, grocers and photographers. In the photographers you can snap a family photo in Victorian attire with props for extra. For a glimpse into the traditional Victorian remedies, make sure to head to the chemists.
Also watch the people at work in the Iron Foundry, Decorative Plasters, Saw Mill and in the Candle Factory to learn the fascinating processes of making the various items which they sell at reasonable prices.
Further down the hill, there are additional shops, including a bakery. If you visit early, you can purchase fresh bread or biscuits to enjoy during a picnic on the green. Additionally, there are houses to explore that showcase Victorian life and the Ironworks. At the bottom of the hill, if you are feeling adventurous you’ll find the Victorian Fairground, where traditional rides such as a carousel and swing boats can be enjoyed.
Beyond this point, you will come across the Inclined Lift, providing access to the canal, and the Squatter Cottage showcasing the living conditions of the workers.
For those with kids, there is the Madeley Wood Co. Outdoor Adventure to explore the outdoors. And for adults, the Shephard Hut is a perfect spot to take a break and grab a hot or cold refreshing drink.
If you’re interested in a scenic walk, continue heading down past the old Mission Church and take the path that leads to the Hay Inclined Plane. From there, you can climb up to reach the canal and enjoy a leisurely walk back to the main town area.
And last but not least, don’t forget to stop by the sweet shop in the afternoon to grab a selection of traditional sweets in either a 2oz or 4oz bag.
At the stables located at the top of the hill, you may witness horses being fed or washed. You can even opt to pay a little extra for a carriage ride around the town.
Fried Fish Dealers serve traditional Fish and Chips cooked in beef dripping (vegan options are available)
New Inn where you can have pies and a pint
Forest Glen Refreshment Pavilion serves a range of hot and cold food and drinks
Visitor Centre contains a cafe serving a range of snacks and drinks
Shepherd Hit inside the Madeley Wood Co. Outdoor Adventure providing beverages, cakes and snacks