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Jigger’s Bank Climb Summary
#38 on the list begins in the very popular tourist destination of Ironbridge which is home to several museums and other interesting points of interest. Without a doubt, the Iron Bridge (build during WW I) is the centerpiece of this historic destination. Unfortunately, on the day in August, 2018 that we climbed Jiggers Bank Ironbridge was undergoing restoration and was sealed up tight.
Ironbridge c. August 2018
The formal Jiggers Bank climb begins just over a kilometer from the bridge and the ride to the start is fun as we pass by the bridge, Museum of the Gorge and many quaint shops (antique, teddy bear, rock, etc.)
The actual 2.7 kilometer climb is not too scenic, although there is a WW I memorial just outside the gate to what must be the most ornate hostel in the world in Coalbrookdale 700 meters up the climb from the start.
War Memorial and Hostel at 700 meters
The average grade of the climb is a modest 4.5% but it does pitch up to 9% for 200 meters about 400 meters from the finish. The climb finishes just before a busy roundabout with a bridal path to the left.
The name of this climb comes from the road “Jiggers Bank” that we finish the last 1.3 kilometers on.
Steepest ½ kilometer begins at kilometer 2 (8%)
This #38 of Simon Warren’s Top 100 Greatest Climbs (Great Britain) begins in Ironbridge, Shropshire (pop. 2,582, 2011). Ironbridge Gorge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site:
“Ironbridge Gorge - Ironbridge is known throughout the world as the symbol of the Industrial Revolution. It contains all the elements of progress that contributed to the rapid development of this industrial region in the 18th century, from the mines themselves to the railway lines. Nearby, the blast furnace of Coalbrookdale, built in 1708, is a reminder of the discovery of coke. The bridge at Ironbridge, the world's first bridge constructed of iron, had a considerable influence on developments in the fields of technology and architecture.” More
“Jiggers Bank rises from the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, Ironbridge Gorge, a deep scar in the landscape with towering banks either side. Heading north from the bridge you begin climbing into Coalbrookdale, gently at first away from the valley and the Severn river. Although this is the major route out of the gorge, it's not a busy one; however, there is a set of traffic lights to negotiate at a narrowing in the road, so be prepared for a slight delay. Shortly after the lights you have the option to turn left to take a narrow, twisting route up the same ridge, but stick to the larger road for a better climbing experience. Passing under a railway bridge on to Jiggers Bank, the long straight 10% slog out of the gorge leads to a beautifully smooth set of sweeping bends, where the gradient never slackens. Continue round to the right to the finish, which is even steeper, at the junction with the roundabout.” More
“Ironbridge is a town on the River Severn, at the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge, in Shropshire, England. It lies in the civil parish of The Gorge, in the borough of Telford and Wrekin. Ironbridge developed beside, and takes its name from, the famous Iron Bridge, a 30-metre (100 ft) cast iron bridge that was built across the river in 1779.
The area around Ironbridge is described by those promoting it as a tourist destination as the "Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution". This description is based on the idea that Abraham Darby perfected the technique of smelting iron with coke, in Coalbrookdale, allowing much cheaper production of iron. However, the industrial revolution did not "begin" in one place, but in many.
Darby's iron smelting was but one small part of this generalised revolution and was soon superseded by the great iron-smelting areas. However, the bridge – being the first of its kind fabricated from cast iron, and one of the few which have survived to the present day – remains an important symbol representative of the dawn of the industrial age.
The grandson of the first Abraham Darby, Abraham Darby III, built the famous bridge – originally designed by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard – to link the two areas. Construction began in 1779 and the bridge opened on New Year's Day 1781. Soon afterwards the ancient Madeley market was relocated to the new purpose-built square and Georgian Butter Cross and the former dispersed settlement of Madeley Wood gained a planned urban focus as Ironbridge, the commercial and administrative centre of the Coalbrookdale coalfield.
The Iron Bridge proprietors also built the Tontine Hotel to accommodate visitors to the new bridge and the industrial sites of the Severn Gorge. Across a square facing the hotel was erected in 1924 the town's war memorial in form of a bronze statue of a First World War soldier in marching order, sculpted by Arthur George Walker, whose signature appears as does that of A.B. Burton, the foundry worker who erected it. On the hillside above the river are situated the stone-built 16th-century hunting lodge at Lincoln Hill, many 17th- and 18th-century workers' cottages, some imposing Georgian houses built by ironmasters and mine and river barge owners, and many early Victorian villas built from the various coloured bricks and tiles of the locality.
St Luke's Church (1837) in simple Commissioners' Gothic by Samuel Smith of Madeley, has stained glass by David Evans of Shrewsbury. Its design is unusual in that the sanctuary is at the west end and the tower at the east, in reverse to the majority of churches, because the land at the west end was unstable and unable to take the weight of a tower. The bells in the church tower were installed in 1920 as a memorial to parishioners who died in World War I, and the external church clock was illuminated in memory of those who died in World War II. The living was endowed as a rectory when the parish was created from Madeley in 1847 and is now a united benefice with Coalbrookdale and Little Wenlock, in the Diocese of Hereford.” Wikipedia - Ironbridge