'Coalbrookdale by Night', 1801.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Oil painting by Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg (1740-1812) showing one of the Coalbrookdale ironworks, the Bedlam Furnaces along the river Severn, at night silhouetted against the fiery glow of a furnace being tapped. The development of coke smelting in this area of Shropshire by Abraham Darby and his family in the 18th century revolutionised the production of iron and helped fuel the Industrial Revolution. Its unique combination of natural resources also led it to produce Britain's first iron rails, iron bridge, iron boat and steam locomotive.