Harry fixing a fishing net talking to his grand-children Margaret and Kathleen. Is he telling a tall story?! Photo: IGMT
The famous witch and the paddle-wheel device. Photo: Graham Peet, 1978
The witch in action flying across the gorge.
Harry with the paddling contraption made by Jack Gears.
Eustace became a tourist attraction in his own right! Here he is with local artist Jane Keay at the launch of her limited edition print of 'The Coracle Maker's Shed' 1993 Photo: IGMT
Fun and games!
The Rogers family were natural showmen and greatly enjoyed practical jokes, often at the expense of curious visitors.
Harry had a friend by the name of Jack Gears. It was an apt name for this man as he was extremely
clever with anything of a mechanical nature. In 1959 it was the 250th Anniversary of the Coalbrookdale Ironworks. Harry and Jack knew that a lot of people would be coming to the area for this celebration, so they decided to do something 'special'.
They erected a high wire across and high above the Severn. Jack made a device which was worked
by the current of the river. He also made two figures, one of a man on a one-wheeled bicycle and the other of a witch on a broomstick. Harry and Jack attached the witch and the cyclist to the high wire, which was then connected to Jack's device in the water. As soon as the visitors began to pour in, they set the device working and the witch flew across the river on her broomstick, and a few minutes later a little man went across on his one-wheeled cycle. The visitors standing on the bridge were just as fascinated by these two models as they were by the Ironbridge itself.
From Gentlemen of the River by Phyllis Blakemore.