General Booking Open for Spring Industrial Heritage Network Meetings

For the first time since 2019 the Industrial Heritage Support project (IHSO) will be holding in-person industrial heritage network meetings this summer and autumn. The first of these will be the IHN West Midlands which is scheduled to take place at Blists Hill, Ironbridge, on Wednesday 31st May, 11am to 3pm. The second will be the IHN South East which is scheduled to take part at Amberley Museum, West Sussex on 1st June, 11am to 3pm.

The meetings are open to Industrial Heritage Networks members and to all those interested in supporting and helping the industrial heritage and industrial archaeology sector in England. Each network meeting will be split into two parts. There will be a business meeting from 11am to 1pm looking at volunteer engagement since COVID, followed by a tour of the Blists Hill and Amberley sites, respectively. Each network meeting is free and tea, coffee, and water will be provided. Please bring your own lunch. To book please follow the links below:

Industrial Heritage Network West Midlands Tickets, Wed 31 May 2023 at 11:00 | Eventbrite

Industrial Heritage Network South East Tickets, Thu 1 Jun 2023 at 11:00 | Eventbrite

Join the Blists Hill 50th Anniversary Celebration Day

Join the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust as they celebrate Blists Hill Victorian Town’s 50th Birthday with a day of entertainment, activities and lots of fun! The theme for the day is a traditional Mop (or Hiring) Fair.

Beginning back in the 14th century, Mop Fairs were an annual opportunity to match workers to employers, especially in rural areas. Farm workers, labourers, servants and craftsmen would congregate in their Sunday best displaying a symbol of their trade, so a farmer might display a piece of straw, housemaids held brooms or mops, hence the name mop fair. In Shropshire, young women employed to collect ironstone from the waste tips of local clay mines, known as Shroppies, often travelled to London to work from May until September during the fruit and vegetable season in order to earn extra money.

On Saturday 1 April, try your hand at different trades and decide which occupation you may have been employed in if you had lived in 1900 such as:

  • Tile making
  • Laundry
  • China Flower Making
  • Printing
  • Brick Making
  • Blacksmithing
  • Candle Dipping

Throughout the day you will also be able to join in in the parade to mark the departure of the Shroppies and enjoy the music of the Wellington Brass Band. The Town will be dressed for celebration with flags and bunting and the air will be filled with fun and laughter. Visitors will be able to see casting in the Iron Foundry and will have plenty of opportunity to hear about the town’s humble beginnings back in 1973. Activities are included in the admission fee. See:

Applications Open for Fully-Funded PhD Research Project Based at Ironbridge

Applications to take part in a unique fully-funded PhD research project to examine the links between art and industry in the West Midlands have opened this week with applications being welcomed from students across the world for the research project which will be based at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT) and Birmingham City University.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded Midland4Cities Collaborative Doctoral Award, is a partnership between Birmingham City University and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. The project, entitled ‘Common printed things: intersections of art and industry, the Coalbrookdale Collection, 1850–1930’ will use the extensive Coalbrookdale Collection at IGMT to illustrate the development of industrial life in the Midlands and the role of print in the manufacture and sale of the ironware items that made the company a household name the world over.

Highlighting the integral role that the Ironbridge Gorge played in the development of the Industrial Revolution, the successful applicant will have unique access to hundreds of historic documents, artefacts and business ledgers still housed in the Trusts archive at the Coalbrookdale Company’s original headquarters in Coalbrookdale.

The project will merge methods used by both printing and social historians to study not only the materials themselves but processes required to produce them as well as the craftspeople who made them to better understand the relationship between the manufacturer, the artefacts, the catalogues and the consumer.

Working with experts at sites across the Ironbridge Gorge over the course of 4 years the successful applicant will study and audit 40 original printed catalogues, the physical ironware products advertised within them, as well as over 1,000 wood engravings used to print the promotional materials in order to build a clearer picture of how they were produced.

Project supervisor Nick Booth, Collections and Learning Director at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust said: “Coalbrookdale and the extensive collection that is housed there offers a truly unique chance to delve into what is such an important part of our history, not only on a regional scale but a global one. The developments that happened within the Ironbridge Gorge and Coalbrookdale specifically were truly world changing and this research project offers the opportunity to unpick another integral piece of the puzzle to help us better understand the important role that print had in the wider industrial story.

“With ten sites across the Ironbridge Gorge, including Blists Hill Victorian Town which houses working facilities including our Victorian print shop, it means that as well as the academic side of the project, the researcher will be able to gain hands-on experience of the processes used during the period under realistic, historically accurate circumstances.”

The Award will be jointly supervised by Professor Caroline Archer-Parré, Co-Director of the Centre for Printing History and Culture (CPHC) at Birmingham City University who added: “This is a rare opportunity to research the materials and processes used to create the printed catalogues in the location in which they were originally manufactured, and to provide new insights into how the various industries involved in their creation interacted and collaborated.”

Prospective applicants can find out more information by visiting

Heritage Open Days 2022 Features Industrial Sites

Strutts North Mill, Belper, Derbyshire, which will be open for tours during Heritage Open Days 2022.

It has been confirmed that the 2022 version of Heritage Open Days will run as planned, from the 9th to the 18th of September, despite the Queen’s death on the 8th September. Hundreds of industrial heritage and archaeology sites run by local groups and communities feature on the list of venues open for free to the public.

The theme of ‘Astounding Inventions’ has helped to more than double the number of industrial heritage sites accessible this year, up from 113 in 2021 to 239 in 2022. There were no in-person events in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. The largest group of industrial sites opening relate to transport, with 70 historic aircraft, canal, railway, and road sites available to explore. This includes small scale sites such as the Union Bridge and Warmley Signal Box, as well as many Heritage Railways and transport museums such as Locomotion, in Durham and the Greater Manchester Transport Museum.

The largest category of industrial sites to open their doors remains wind and watermills, as it was in 2021, with 51 sites. Larger industrial museums with entry charges are also offering free events, from the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust to the National Trust properties such as Quarry Bank Textile Mill. There are also private working or small heritage sites accessible, that are seldom open to the public, such as G H Hurt & Son’s Shawl Factory in Nottingham, The Harveys Brewery in Lewes, Sussex, and the RDF radar tower at Harwich in Essex.

For details of where to find venues and their opening times during Britain’s biggest annual heritage festival follow this link:

Chance Conversations: The Future of Industrial Heritage – a series of free events

Taking place online from 26 July – 04 August 2022, Chance Conversations will explore some of the biggest current topics in industrial heritage, from the different ways it can revive communities, to how old industrial buildings can reveal the global foundations a town is built on. The talks are being hosted by Chance Heritage Trust and DigVentures as part of #MadeinSmethwick – a programme of public events inspired by stories from Chance Brothers glassworks in Smethwick, and the continuing mission to give this disused industrial building a new lease of life within its surrounding community.

Panellists include Simon Briercliffe (University of Birmingham), Lizey Thompson (Canal and River Trust), Graham Worton (Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark coordinator), Mary Lewis (Heritage Crafts Association), Malcolm Dick (University of Birmingham), Marianne Monro (Chance Heritage Trust), and many more. Each panel discussion will include a live Q&A.

You can see the whole series and join in the discussion by registering for FREE at:

Chance Conversations: The Future of Industrial Heritage
Hosted by Chance Heritage Trust and DigVentures as part of #MadeinSmethwick

26 July – 04 August 2022

Full programme:

Global Smethwick: The history of a town in 10 buildings

Tue 26 July 2022, 6pm BST (via Zoom, recording available)

Smethwick isn’t just any old town: from the Red Cow pub to Marshall Street’s Malcolm X plaque and Guru Nanak Gurudwara, it has been built by people from all over the world. Our panel will discuss how the buildings you walk past every day can reveal the foundations of a town, and the global history it is built on.


Art of the Industrial Revolution and the Future of Heritage Crafts

Wed 27 July 2022, 6pm BST (via Zoom, recording available)

During the industrial revolution, artists created murals and paintings showing the skill and craft of its workers, like the dancer-like glassblowers painted by Mervyn Peake inside Chance Glassworks. What can we learn from images like this? And what’s being done to save the skills they depict today? Our panel will discuss the art of the industrial revolution, and introduce some of the people trying to save heritage crafts today.


Revival to Reuse: Can industrial heritage save us?

Tue 02 August 2022, 6pm BST (via Zoom, recording available)

Why is industrial heritage so popular right now? And can its ruins be used to heal some of the wounds created by the human and environmental impact of industrialisation? From museums to canals and even geoparks, our panel will discuss how industrial heritage can encourage revival, reuse, and renewal within our communities, particularly in the Black Country.


Working Class Life: From Industrial Revolution to the Future

Wed 03 August 2022, 6pm BST (via Zoom, recording available)

Working life has changed in so many ways over the last few hundred years, for men, women, children, and families – not just in the UK, but around the world. Our panel will discuss the history of work and working-class life, how it has changed (and how it hasn’t) from the industrial revolution to the present day, and even where we might possibly go from here…


A future for Smethwick’s industrial past

Thu 04 Aug 2022, 4pm BST (Brasshouse Community Centre, Smethwick)

How do you bring an old industrial building back into use? And how do you make sure it contributes to community life? Our panel will discuss the journey, from the different options available and how to get started, to what can be learned along the way – all while hearing about Chance Heritage Trust’s ongoing plans to bring the former Chance Brothers Glassworks back into use in Smethwick.


Barnsley Museum Launches 3D Fly-through of Elsecar Industrial Village

Barnsley Museum have launched a fly-through reconstruction of the 19th century Elsecar industrial village. The stunning fly-through is a digital rendering showing Elsecar and the surrounding area at its industrial peak around 1880 with ironworks, collieries, canals, railways and settlements all visible.

Prepared by Barnsley Museum and produced by digital creator Martin Moss of Dextra Digital, it is based on research carried out by Historic England as part of the Elsecar Heritage Action Zone, together with local volunteer historians and experts across the UK, which has transformed our understanding of the importance of Elsecar. It is also a legacy project of the Great Place Wentworth & Elsecar Programme, supported by Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

To view the fly-through follow this link:

A reconstruction of the Elsecar Ironworks around 1880. Image courtesy of Barnsley Museum

North Pennines AONB Partnership Looking For Historic Environment Project Manager

The North Pennines AONB Partnership is looking for an organised and experienced project manager with a background in management of the historic environment and in community engagement, to lead the development stage of its new lead mining heritage project – Land of Lead and Silver.

Land of Lead and Silver is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England. The project focuses on lead mining heritage of the North Pennines, and on the skills required to record, conserve, maintain and interpret this heritage for future generations. It starts with the stories associated with this heritage and aims to tell these stories in ways which connect with new audiences, building support for this heritage and recruiting volunteers for the future.

Subject to successfully securing funding from NLHF for the delivery stage of the project, the contract would be extended for a further four years.  Please follow this link for more information and to apply:

Made in Smethwick Community Project Looking for Volunteers

DigVentures is working with Chance Heritage Trust to host ‘Made in Smethwick’ – a lively series of events and interactive projects taking place this summer that explore the industrial heritage of Smethwick and the surrounding area. The programme is free and open to anyone to join, and includes in person walks, talks, guided visits, workshops, as well as online events – and even an interactive online mapping project that everyone can contribute to!

See all upcoming events and register for free:

Note – all events have multiple dates throughout May, June, and July.

Join the Interactive The Chance Lighthouse Map Project

Nearly 2,500 lighthouses around the world were fitted with a lens made at the Chance Brothers & Co glassworks in Smethwick. Where did they end up? And how did they shaped the modern world? Dig Ventures are working with the Chance Trust want your help to map their locations, and record the historical and technical detail that bring their stories to life.

Everyone who signs up will be given training, and have the option to join us for a weekly ‘Lighthouse Lesson’. Whether you’re already a lighthouse aficionado, or simply curious about a new aspect of industrial heritage, this is an opportunity to learn new skills and put them to good use.

Find out more about this interactive project, and how you can join in:

EFAITH Free Industrial Heritage in Europe Seminars

Traditionally, EFAITH has organised an annual weekend in one of the European countries to bring together volunteers and volunteer associations. These were/are short weekend meetings, where volunteers and voluntary associations from different countries get together, meet, and forge relationships across borders, exchange experiences, and learn from each other.

However, as organising a physical meeting is still difficult for many organisations, EFAITH has decided to organise two online webinars before the summer holidays in May and June. In this way, information, knowledge and ideas can be exchanged. The first webinar took place on Saturday 14 May. A second webinar will take place on Saturday, 11 June. Participation is free, but prior registration is required. To receive the link and to log on complete the form and register for June’s webinar here.

Click here for further information 

AIA Young Members Board Looking for Next Round of Recruits

In July 2020, the Association for Industrial Archaeology (AIA) established a Young Members Board (YMB) as a sub-committee of the Association, composed of early or mid-career people with an interest in industrial archaeology and heritage. The AIA recognize that the current demographic of both the membership and Council needs refreshing, and believe that by engaging with younger and more diverse people the Association can together better deliver the aim of the AIA to ‘give our past a future’.

The YMB provides an exciting new opportunity for you to work with like-minded people to influence the direction of the Association and industrial archaeology generally, raise your own profile, develop your personal skills and knowledge, build your CV, network with interesting and knowledgeable people, and take on real responsibility. They are now seeking the next round of new members to join the Board and fill vacancies in the YMB. This is a great way to take the Association and Industrial Archaeology forward.

To apply, please submit your CV and a short description of why you would like to join to: