During a three day coach trip, we were able to appreciate the historic significance of all 3 locations, while having a sociable and enjoyable time.

All 39 members appreciated the ninety minute walking tour of the colleges of Oxford University, led by a knowledgeable American PhD student; his speciality was World War One history, but he was also able to inform and amuse on the history of many of the colleges.

On to Telford, where we were to spend 2 nights in a modern hotel just outside the town, which met all the basic needs even if the cuisine left a bit to be desired!

Day 2 saw us paying a visit to Ironbridge itself, and to see at first hand the handiwork of the pre-Victorian ironmaster Abraham Darby III. The impressive Iron Bridge was opened in 1787 and even today is a marvel of cast iron engineering.

On to Blists Hill, a re-created Victorian village on the site of the ironworks which contributed a great deal to the Industrial Revolution of this country. Many authentic shops and artefacts of the time took us all back in history – among these was a fish and chip shop still cooking in beef dripping and supplying meals in paper cones!

After visiting the Museum of Iron (the clue is in the name) our last visit of the day was to the Coalport China Museum where we were fortunate in having the services of a volunteer guide who explained in detail – and with some humour – the life of the workers and the manufacturing processes. We all now know what a “Saggar Maker’s Bottom Knocker” is – do you?

Our last port of call on the way home was a pleasant sojourn in Stratford on Avon where we were free to choose how we spent our time. Some made a visit to Shakespeare’s house, some to the Butterfly Farm and others took a boat trip on the river.

The whole trip was enhanced by having a coach driver who cheerfully accommodated our needs, even going beyond the call of duty in transporting us to and from the town for restaurant visits, the hotel being some 2 miles distant. We also learned that as an alternative to counting by numbers to check that all are on board the coach, it is simpler to count the empty seats!