Broseley Pipeworks, Clay Tabacco Pipe Museum
The History of a 300-Year-Old Tradition. Little has changed at the Broseley Pipeworks, near Ironbridge, Shropshire since it ceased operating as one of the UK’s last producers of clay tobacco pipes in the late 1950s. Untouched for years, and re-opened as a museum in 1996, the Pipeworks is a time capsule depicting perfectly an ancient local industry which spanned 300 years.
Listed as Grade II buildings by English Heritage, the Pipeworks was renovated in the 1990s to make it structurally sound and then refitted with almost all of its original fixtures and fittings. It is now believed to be the only Pipeworks in the country complete with its original equipment.
During its heyday, Broseley was the name associated with the finest quality clay tobacco pipes that money could buy and its products were exported all over the world. Skilled workers in and around Broseley produced distinctive pipes that became trend-setters and were often copied across the country.
The first clay tobacco pipes manufactured in the area were made using local clays. However, from the early 1700s, white Devon clays – brought along the River Severn to be used in the pottery industry – proved to be of superior quality and soon replaced local clay.
When the Severn Valley line of the Great Western Railway opened in 1862, it became quicker and easier to transport clay from Devon and Cornwall by steam train and to distribute finished pipes across the UK. New markets became accessible and the reputation of the area’s manufacturers was revitalised.
Today, visitors to the museum can explore the original factory and see the equipment which was used to make some of the finest clay tobacco pipes in the world and which helped to put the Broseley name on the international map.
Opening Times: Opens Mid May, 1-5pm Please check their website for details as opening times can vary.
Photo Credits: © Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
For further information please visit: http://www.ironbridge.org.uk