Fun and games

It was poverty that put a lot of humour into the men.

The coracle men were an ingenious and witty group. They enjoyed making animated characters to fly across, or float in, the river.

In 1959 Harry and his friend Jack Gears from Dawley decided to erected a high wire across the river in front of the Iron Bridge. Jack made two working models, one a witch on a broomstick and the other a man on a unicycle both of which flew across in front of the Iron Bridge, much to the amazement of the visitors.

He also made a working model of two foundrymen powered by the flow of the river as their own ‘event’ to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Coalbrookdale Company.

Some of the mechanical characters they and Jack Gears made hung in the old shed for years. The content of the shed was sold at auction after Eusty died in 2003. The Coracle Trust managed to find it and brought it back to Ironbridge in 2015.
When the Trust recovered most of the contents of the Old Shed local people started beginning to come forward with some of the storiesthe stories. The man with a wheel barrow was thought to have been used to help get shopping to a family on the opposite bank of the river when floods prevented them from getting out.
Walking sticks based on natural forms or pub games like billiards and dominoes.
The Foundry men, apparently made to float in the river to mark the workers role in the 250th anniversary of the Coalbrookdale company which built the Iron Bridge.
The Foundry men in action.
The unicyclist has not been found again. We are not sure why they chose to make it, probably just for fun!
The coracle men had a witty sense of their direct link with ancient history. Here, Harry dresses as an ancient Briton at a local fete.