Shropshire is often said to be the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. The availability of coal, limestone and iron ore in combination with the transport links provided by the River Severn, made the area around Coalbrookdale attractive to iron manufacturers such as Darby, who pioneered new techniques in smelting. The production of iron and the innovation of its uses are typified by the Iron Bridge. The use of iron inspired architects and civil engineers such as Thomas Telford. Iron was used to build other Shropshire bridges, aqueducts and as a fireproof frame for a new flax mill at Ditherington, Shrewsbury.
The expansion of manufacturing highlighted the necessity for good transport links so that goods and materials could be distributed and sold. A network of canals was developed and innovations such as inclined planes enabled goods to be transferred from one level to another. Roads too were improved, with the establishment of turnpikes where tolls were charged to maintain their upkeep. Better roads made travelling by stagecoach easier and faster. This facilitated not only travel but the transfer of news by mail. The publication of newspapers further enhanced the communication of news and events.