Bedlam Furnaces, Ironbridge Gorge

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Bedlam Furnaces Shropshire, Ironbridge Gorge Architecture, IGMT Project News

Bedlam Furnaces, Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site

IGMT Historic Shropshire Building, western England – Historic England Heritage At Risk Register

31 Oct 2017

Bedlam Furnaces at Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site Building

Bedlam Furnaces removed from Historic England’s Heritage At Risk Register

Bedlam Furnaces, one of the most important industrial monuments in the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, has been taken off Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register, thanks to the construction of a protective canopy by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, with the support of Historic England and the Ironbridge (Telford) Heritage Foundation.

Bedlam Furnaces, Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site
photo courtesy of Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

Bedlam Furnaces are of international significance as they were amongst the first in the country to be built specifically to smelt iron with coke and research suggests that much of the ironwork for the Iron Bridge was cast there. Now they are believed to be the last furnaces of their type that remain largely intact.

Anna Brennand, Chief Executive Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust commented: “The structures are a unique reminder of the scale of the iron industry in Shropshire and that by 1788 a third of all iron smelted in Great Britain was being made in the county. The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust started conducting conservation work and archaeological studies on the Furnaces in the 1970s. This greatly increased our understanding of industrial ironworking during this period, however more recent reports revealed that the structure was deteriorating rapidly and it was subsequently put on Historic England’s Heritage At Risk Register.”

Bedlam Furnaces Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site
photo courtesy of IGMT

Following an extensive fundraising campaign, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust secured £1.2million, including a generous grant from Historic England of £700,000 to build a protective canopy over the remains of the furnaces. Work started during the summer and all of the structural work is now complete. Further funds will be required to address the ongoing conservation needs of the Bedlam Furnaces.

Anna Brennand, continues: “We have worked closely with Historic England to ensure that the canopy protects Bedlam Furnaces from the elements and we are delighted that Historic England have now removed the monument from their Heritage At Risk Register. We also worked with Shropshire based specialist architects McPhillips as the main contractor. The new structure allows Bedlam Furnaces to be seen within their natural and historic context and at the same time provide the level of protection required.”

The Bedlam Furnaces’ site is one of the 36 historic assets under the care of Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, which is an education and heritage conservation charity.

Bedlam Furnaces Ironbridge Gorge
photo courtesy of IGMT

Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site

About Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT)

• Ironbridge Gorge is a six-square mile UNESCO World Heritage Site (designated in 1986), which is home to one of the world’s largest independent museums, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT).

• IGMT was created in 1967 and is celebrating its 50th anniversary during 2017.

• IGMT cares for ten award-winning museums, 36 scheduled monuments and listed buildings, which welcome around 500,000 visitors per year, and collectively tell the story of Ironbridge’s role as the catalyst for the Industrial Revolution.

• The Museum of Iron re-opened at Easter after a six-month full refurbishment. This museum tells the fascinating story of iron, as well as the innovations that were discovered at Coalbrookdale, that changed the world and triggered the Industrial Revolution.

• This year IGMT will launch their £15m Masterplan and £15m Fund for the Future appeal, for the development and improvement of various buildings and monuments across the Gorge. The first phase will be the creation of a new destination café (Autumn 2017) and conservation work to protect the Bedlam Furnace. Future phases will see the refurbishment of Enginuity, the National Design and Technology Centre, along with the creation of a new Collections Store, Library and Archive as well as further conservation to the Old Furnace and associated buildings.

• IGMT’s museums are all open to the public, though some sites close during the winter months, so please visit or call 01952 433 424 for more information about each specific site.

• Follow IGMT on Twitter: @blistshill; and like on Facebook: /theironbridgegorgemuseums

Bedlam Furnaces at Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site Building image / information received 311017

Location: Ironbridge, Telford, Shropshire, TF8 7DQ, UK

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