From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present
Bedlam Furnace
Statistics
Category
County
Coordinates
Grid
Condition
Age
Cost
Industry
Shropshire
52°37'37.2"N 2°28'35.8"W
SJ6782903368
Ruin
1756
Free
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  • History
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Bedlam Furnace is located at Iron Bridge in Shropshire.

The Madeley Wood Company was founded in 1756 when the Madeley Wood Furnaces, also known as Bedlam Furnaces, were built beside the River Severn. They held mineral rights in Madeley Parish, enabling them to extract coal and iron ore.

In 1776, they were taken over by Abraham Darby III of the Coalbrookdale Company, but were separated in 1797 to work with Ketley Ironworks under the guidance of the Reynolds family. Later it was passed into the ownership of the Anstice family.

In 1803, John Sell Cotman, painted the furnaces and titled it Bedlam Furnace Near Irongate, Shropshire, as the place resembled a lunatic asylum

Dense vegetation cover was allowed to establish itself amongst the ruins until the late 1950s when the site was then subject to spoil dumping, which completely buried the furnace bases. In the 1970s what was to become the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust began clearing and restoring the works.