The next stage of conservation work on The Museum of The Gorge began in May 2023, as part of a £9.9M grant by the National Heritage Memorial Fund to help secure the future of the buildings that form the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. The building was built in 1840 as a river warehouse for the Coalbrookdale Company for the onward transport of its goods down river to Bristol and beyond.
Work on the Grade II* Listed building has already seen internal beams replaced prior to this second stage of work which will deal with the leaking roof, re-pointing brickwork, restoring the parapets, re-building the original roof for the Lady Chapel and removing the vegetation.
The £9.9m will be used for restoration on buildings across the Trust, but also includes £4.5m in endowment funding, which will be invested to ensure income generation for ongoing conservation maintenance. One of the sites which will be restored throughout the project is the The Old Furnace at Coalbrookdale, where Abraham Darby I developed the production technique for smelting iron with coke – a catalyst for the Industrial Revolution that transformed much of the wider world in the 18th centuries.
Others sites include the Bedlam Furnaces, the impressive clock tower which was added to the Great Warehouse of the Coalbrookdale Company in 1843, and Coalport China Works. The Museum Trust’s ‘Conserving the Historic Estate Project’ is managed by Lucy Oldnall and focuses on heritage buildings and structures within the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site that are in the care of the Trust including, five Scheduled Monuments, one Grade I Listed structure, 10 Grade II* Listed structures and 19 Grade II Listed structures – all within an area of 5.5 square km.