A Trip to Ironbridge and a Ghostly Past

Posted by in Travel on June 4, 2013 0 comments

After a massive home cooked breakfast at the Falcon Inn in Painswick, we travelled through the back roads of the Cotswolds and the Midlands to the quaint Industrial Revolution town of Ironbridge. It was lovely driving through the green fields, along the high walled fences, the tight roads and being interrupted by charming villages every few miles. The only thing that  broke the beauty of it all was being stuck behind slow moving vehicles, including a AA van towing a car, a couple of dairy trucks and a van towing a rather scary looking load of timber that looked like it was going to fall out onto the road. The hard thing was, that the roads were too narrow, too windy and too congested to pass them safely, so we were stuck behind them. If they weren’t there, the roads being too narrow and too windy were part of the joy of our journey.

Our GPS worked beautifully today, even though I was sceptical about it after yesterday’s one hour, 85km whoopsie! We actually checked the Hertz complimentary road map just to make sure we were going in the right direction.

Anyway, we made it to Ironbridge… the place that is considered to be the birth place of the Industrial Revolution, something I actually studied in university 20 years ago (OMG, is it that long ago!). We checked out the first made cast iron bridge, built 1779-1781, its surrounding township and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum. We learnt that Abraham Darby, a man who designed pots and pans, wanted something more durable than brass for cooking in, so he came to the area (as it was rich in iron ore) to perfect the making of iron by mixing it with coke instead of coal.

The area is also well known for its pottery and ceramic tile making (after they were able to make iron moulds to create the decorative tiles).
After Ironbridge, we drove to Liverpool. It took us a while to find our hotel, and it was in a little bit of a shady neighbourhood, as at three in the afternoon, all the shops had their metal shutters over their doors not to let anyone in! We also saw a car accident in the middle of a side street, our first for the UK (however, we were told the other day that someone was lying on the tracks at one of the tube stations effectively dead and delaying the Piccadilly line!)
We eventually found our hotel, behind a derelict hotel next to a Shell station and down a lane way (no wonder we couldn’t find it!). It’s the Devonshire House Hotel, built in 1856 as a seminary for nuns. 
However, after a trip to the toilet for my little one, who said that someone knocked on his door when he was in the public amenities to open the door and no one was there, we had to ask one of the staff members if the hotel was haunted. She said that she didn’t believe in ghosts, however they had a wedding last week, where she was talking to the bride at the reception, and the bride started swaying around and moved to the side mid conversation with her. She asked what she was doing, and the bride said ‘didn’t you see that man? He just touched my shoulder and asked me rudely to pass through, so I moved for him.” There was no man at all. She then continued to say that the house had actually gone from being a nunnery, to a school for exceptional girls allowing them to get degrees, to a whore house and now, a hotel. Amazing how it went from the most holiest, devout women, to giving women independence to eventual debauchery! For me, my first impression was the place was a mental institution… check out the hallway doors!
So even though we didn’t really venture through Liverpool, we still managed to have a little excitement from the hotel we are staying in. They have a great beef pie and beef lasagne if ever you want a cheap meal, and the hotel accommodation is basic but spacious and comfortable.