Shropshire Star

Coalbrookdale: Is it time to clean up the birthplace of global warming?

Coalbrookdale, birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.


Just wait until the past shamers, and the modern-day secular priesthood which bestows its wisdom on what is heresy and what is holy, get their teeth into that.

Coal is a fossil fuel which when burned gives off planet-destroying gases. The very name Coalbrookdale normalises its use.

As for the Industrial Revolution, well, where do you begin? It was a revolution in which the working classes were put in chains, made slaves to capitalist bosses while using technologies and techniques which have caused irreparable harm to the planet, while also inflicting dreadful industrial diseases on the miners, foundry workers and so on.

Before the infamous Abraham Darby (I, II, and III) dynasty unleashed their horrors, ordinary folk had pleasant agrarian roles in which they performed sustainable tasks while enjoying the fresh air.

If the Brecon Beacons can be renamed on the grounds that beacons are environmentally offensive artefacts, what with the burning of wood and that, then it can surely only be a matter of time before there are calls for the World Heritage Site of the Ironbridge Gorge to re-evaluated and rebranded, perhaps with interpretation boards at certain points to tell tourists what a bad effect the Industrial Revolution had on the planet and humanity.

And I fear that the Black Country Living Museum at Dudley may be living on borrowed time so far as its name goes. There are various theories as to where the Black Country name comes from, one being that the term was coined by Queen Victoria as she looked out from her royal train, but it conjures up imagery of smoke, dirt, toil and dust from a heavily industrialised area.

That is not exactly green. There again, a name change to the Green Country Living Museum might run into difficulties under the Trades Descriptions Act.

In a roundabout way it all reminds me of the newspaper tale about a sign on a fish shop saying "Fresh Fish Sold Here".

A sub editor (generally a more senior journalist who is a stickler for crisp, succinct, writing) calls in and helpfully suggests the owner removes "Fresh". "You wouldn't be selling off fish, would you?"

With "Fresh" removed, our sub editor advises: "Take away 'Sold.' You're not going to be giving it away, are you?" "Here" is similarly removed because it is obvious that it is "here."

And the final piece of advice? "You don't need 'Fish' – you can smell it for miles."


My horse didn't come in at the Grand National and never will. And I didn't see the protest because it has been years since I have watched the race.

I did bet on the National a long time ago. I think it all stopped after Land Lark and Beau Bob, and if not them, Grey Sombrero. I always felt uncomfortable that the routine deaths of horses was all rather glossed over because the race is so popular and such "fun".

Not that I want to see it banned. Some of most famous fences used to be, so far as I could tell, deliberately dangerous or, to use a euphemism, challenging, with unexpectedly large drops on the far side, but since then the course has been made a lot safer.

My dad was not religious but was a bit of an explorer in such matters who fretted that there were no religions or belief sets which incorporated animals. Then somebody suggested to him Albert Schweitzer. I can't pretend to know anything about him myself, but presumably his philosophy did fit the bill.

Animals are so often forgotten. Even in the Second World War horses were slaughtered in huge numbers. A surprising fact is that while the British Army was highly mechanised, the German Army heavily relied on horses.

In Ukraine, the human tragedy is rightly to the fore, but there is also an animal tragedy of much-loved pets simply being abandoned, being left bewildered, to die or to fend for themselves as humans flee.

If future generations are as willing to reassess the past as the current generation, it is possible that in 100 years from now, when perhaps being a vegetarian has long become the norm (I'm not one myself, I hold up my hypocritical hand), they will look back and judge us harshly based on the way we treated our animals.