By Ann Evans


If you are planning ahead, Ann Evans recommends that beautiful Shropshire is on your agenda.



Ironbridge Gorge


Happy New Year to all B-C-ing-U readers. I’m hoping to bring you news of more interesting places to visit around the UK over the coming months, as well as news from animal welfare charities and lots of other good stories too.


If you’re looking for new places to visit in 2019, then a trip to Shropshire is a must. Wonderful countryside, delightful towns and villages and of course the famous Ironbridge Gorge Museums.


There are 10 fascinating award-winning museums, ranging from the iconic Iron Bridge and Toll House built in 1779 which spans the River Severn, to the atmospheric Tar Tunnel where tar still oozes through the brickwork of this bitumen spring, discovered by 18th century miners. There’s Enginuity with it’s amazing things to do and see – always lots of hands-on activities for all the family. Kids can even pull a full-sized locomotive along a stretch of indoor track. While Blists Hill Victorian Town will take you back to everyday life in the days of steam.


Here’s a quick rundown of upcoming events but visit the website for details of everything the Ironbridge Gorge Trust have to offer. Be sure to check out their Annual Passport ticket which allows multiple visits to all 10 of the museums. Details are on their website.



Painting ceramic items at Coalport China Museum



If you’re planning ahead, Coalport China Museum have some half term activities planned. From 16 – 24 February go along and join Planets and Space painting and clay modelling workshops. Taking inspiration from the sun, moon and planets in our solar system, and beyond, young artists can use quick drying paint to decorate a ceramic item or paper plate. In addition, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of half term week youngsters can use their imagination to design and sculpt a rocket, space ship or flying saucer with air-drying clay.



Jackfield Tile Museum February half-term tile decorating workshops


The Planets and Space workshops are also taking place at the Jackfield Time Museum from 18 – 22 February. Decorate a ceramic time with your own colourful design taken from the realms of outer space. The Victorian tube lining technique will be used to decorate the tiles, which I’m told is just like icing a cake! Once you’ve piped on the design you can add colourful glazes, then leave your tile at the museum where it will be fired in a kiln and posted to your home; or you can collect it from Jackfield if you live nearby. Visit the website for times and additional costs for the workshops.



Sir Simon Jenkins will be giving a talk at Enginuity in Coalbrookdale on 1 February


Before half term, here’s something for the grown-ups. The second in 2019’s series of lectures at the Ironbridge Gorge Museums will take place on Friday, 1 February in the Engine Shop at Enginuity in Coalbrookdale when journalist, author and current affairs speaker Sir Simon Jenkins will give a chronology of the British station.


Entitled, The Rise, Fall and Rise of the British Station, the lecture will discuss the time line of British stations from their earliest days, through the glories of the late Victorian era to their decline in the 20th century. He then explores their remarkable conservation and recent return to favour.


Born in 1943, Sir Simon Jenkins was previously editor of the London Evening Standard and The Times, He writes columns for The Guardian and Evening Standard, works as a BBC broadcaster and has authored books on politics and the history and architecture of London. Knighted in 2004, he has been voted Journalist of the Year, Columnist of the Year and has won the Edgar Wallace and David Watt awards. He has also been deputy chairman of English Heritage and chairs the Buildings Books Trust, sponsors of the Pevsner guides.


Doors open at 6pm for tea and coffee ahead of the talk which starts at 7pm. This will be followed by a question and answer session at 7.45pm; the event will finish around 8pm. Tickets priced at £9 adults and £8 concessions must be pre-booked online.


For more information on the museums and events, and to book tickets and more, visit: of call the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on 01952 433 424.