Explore our Industrial Heritage
The Industrial Revolution was a time of intense innovation, groundbreaking discoveries and seismic social change.
During the 18th and 19th centuries new technologies and methods of production, improved transport by canal, sea and road and the coming of the railways in the 1840s all culminated in Britain becoming the 'workshop of the world'.
Inventions such as the steam engine, powered textile machinery, precision machine tools and gas lighting totally transformed people's lives.
Instead of toiling from dawn to dusk in fields and farmyards, now they sweated long and hard in factories and foundries, mills and mines, workshops and warehouses, and in docks, railway yards, engineering works and shipyards. Food and drink were mass-produced in bakeries, breweries and factories to be distributed and sold through huge markets.
The legacy of our industrial past is all around us and you can visit some of these sites now in the care of English Heritage.
Great places to visit
Berney Arms Windmill, Norfolk
Visit one of Norfolk's best and largest existing marsh mills, built to grind a constituent of cement and in use until 1951, for subsequently pumping water to drain surrounding marshland.
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Cantlop Bridge, Shropshire
The cast-iron Cantlop bridge, built in 1813, was part of an expanding network of bridges built to improve communication and trade in Shropshire. The single span bridge was built to an innovative design approved by the Scottish civil engineer Thomas Telford and is the only Telford-approved cast-iron bridge remaining in situ in Shropshire.
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Derwentcote Steel Furnace, Durham
Built in the 1720s, Derwentcote is the earliest and most complete steel-making furnace in Britain. It produced high-grade steel for springs and cutting tools.
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Grime's Graves, Norfolk
Although Grime's Graves predates the Industrial Revolution by several thousand years, this is the only Neolithic flint mine open to visitors in Britain. This grassy lunar landscape of 400 pits was first named Grim's Graves by the Anglo-Saxons, but it was not until one of them was excavated in 1870 that they were identified as flint mines dug over 5,000 years ago.
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Iron Bridge, Shropshire
The world's first iron bridge was erected over the River Severn in 1779. Britain's best-known industrial monument, the bridge gave its name to the spectacular wooded gorge which, though now tranquil, was once an industrial powerhouse and the cradle of the Industrial Revolution.
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J W Evans Silver Factory, Birmingham
Established in 1881, J. W. Evans is one of the most complete surviving historic factories in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. To walk into the factory today is to enter a lost industrial world.
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Mortimer's Cross Watermill, Herefordshire
A rare one-man-operated 18th century water mill in part working order. Nearby there are attractive gardens and woodland walks, a stone weir and the significant Aymestrey Limestone Quarry.
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Over Bridge, Gloucester
A single-arch stone bridge spanning the River Severn, built in 1825-30 by the great engineer Thomas Telford.
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Saxtead Green Windmill, Suffolk
Saxtead Green Post Mill is a corn mill, whose whole body revolves on its base and is one of many built in Suffolk from the late 13th century. Though milling ceased in 1947, it is still in working order.
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Sibsey Trader Windmill, Lincolnshire
Built in 1877, this restored six storey mill with complete gear, sails and fantail still works today. The award-winning tearoom sells produce made from the mill's organic, stone-ground flour.
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Stott Park Bobbin Mill, Cumbria
On the edge of the Lake District in Cumbria, this extensive working mill was begun in 1835 to produce the wooden bobbins vital to the Lancashire spinning and weaving industries.
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The following industrial heritage attractions offer discounts to English Heritage members: