A Sunday afternoon in post-industrial Ironbridge is pretty busy. People – mainly tourists – walk around to look at the iron bridge that gave its name to this idyllic Midlands town. Others enjoy a Sunday lunch with their family, or an afternoon tea and scones. Welcome to a very typical English town. And of course, I cannot walk through such a town without reflecting on noise, and silence.
The sound issue of this little town is that all the cars that get into Ironbridge mainly use one main road, along which all the shops and pubs are located in small old houses that seem to lean against each other. On the other side of that main road is the Severn river, and behind that are the steep hills of the other river bank. The narrow gorge and the river water are not beneficial for noise reduction.
So in those pubs, hotels, and B&B’s, one cannot ignore the noise of the cars that pass by. And it was a cold Autumn Sunday yesterday. Wonder what that would be in Summer …
There is a silent part in Ironbridge too, though. Because the small houses lean against each other, there are small meandering backstreet alleys that are so small, that most of the noise of the main road does not get there. It is wonderful to discover how relaxing and silent those alleys are, compared to the main road.