Estelle Reviews..

Jackfield Tile Museum, Ironbridge

Last year I visited the Jackfield Tile Museum with my mum and dad.

The Jackfield Tile Museum is one of the 10 Ironbridge Gorge Museums (read about my visit to the Ironbridge Gorge in this post). At Jackfield you can spend a relaxed couple of hours wandering around the original tile factory now home to some beautiful displays.

The Jackfield Tile Museum is one of the ten Ironbridge Gorge museums administered by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. The museum lies in the village of  Jackfield, near Broseley, on the south bank of the River Severn in the Ironbridge Gorge,in Shropshire, England. It is located within a World Heritage Site, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

The museum is housed in a decorative tile factory building, the former works of Craven Dunnill and Company, that is still used to produce tiles, particularly encaustic tiles. It presents the history of the British decorative tile industry between 1840 and 1960, the period in which this factory and that of Maw & Co nearby played an important part in this industry.

Jackfield is one of the oldest known ceramic production centres in Shropshire, a tradition dating back to the 16th century. The Thursfield family settled in Jackfield during the early 18th century; Jackfield wares are attributed to the family.

Craven Dunnill gave up its Jackfield works in the early 1950s, moving to Bridgnorth and the buildings were used by a firm making iron and bronze castings. In 1983, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust purchased the works with the aid of an Architectural Heritage Fund grant. In 1989, tile manufacture restarted on the site and in 2001 Craven Dunnill took over this business again.

(thanks Wiki)

There is alot to see here including the original offices.

The tiles are displayed throughout the original gas lit show rooms and other parts of the factory. Each display includes some history as to how the tile was made, where the tile would have been used and even what class of society would have had tiles like these!

I especially loved the nursery tiles, they often told little stories or had interesting morals. A particular favourite of mine featured a bear eating a mans head!

There are some really lovely features showcasing where the tiles would have been used, for example The London Underground, Hospitals, Bars, Butchers and in the home. I loved seeing these life sized replicas which really gave you a feel for how beautiful the tiles would have looked.

Me and Dad had a go at putting together our own tile display.

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There were some really little gems in the museum including this amazing tile, which was made for Queen Elizabeth’s Wendy House, the tile design is actually of her Wendy House, which I thought was very cool. My Wendy House was made of coloured plastic sheeting that fitted over some plastic bars!

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All in all, Jackfield is a lovely place to visit. A non gift aid adult price ticket will cost you £8.85 but you can buy annual passes and other types of tickets that will see you into lots of the Ironbridge Museums at a reduced price. We went on a very quiet day and I imagine if it was a busy day it may have felt quite claustrophobic and warm throughout the museum. It’s worth checking before you visit as well as some days the factory operates and you can see tiles being made. A guided tour is available on certain days as well.

Some areas of the museum have limited or difficult access to those with mobility issues, particularly affecting those in wheelchairs. There isn’t a huge amount of seating throughout the museum either, although the cafe is fully accessible and there are disabled toilets available. A full accessibility guide can be viewed here.

We finished up our tour by walking through the factory floor and we purchased some “seconds”. You can also buy tiles here and I think arrange for tiles to be made to order. I found a letter “E” tile and a cute little magpie magnet for the fridge. Dad picked up some tiles to use as plant pot stands!

Have you been to Jackfield Tile Museum? Is it somewhere you’d like to visit? Get in touch below.

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