Impact of Industrial Heritage & Archaeology: Discussion on BBC Radio 5 Live

Did you hear the fascinating discussion about Industrial Heritage and its impact on Britain during Colin Murray’s BBC Radio 5 Live ‘Late Night Conversations’ programme broadcast from 12 midnight to 1am Monday 18th October 2022? If not, don’t worry as you have 30 days to catch up on BBC Sounds. The hour-long discussion, inspired by a listener’s suggested topic, brought together enthusiasts and experts to review, briefly, the industrial heritage and archaeology of Britain and Ireland. Colin was accompanied in this discussion and tour of British and Irish industrilisation by the Industrial Heritage Support Officer for England, Mike Nevell.

Pete Waterman, popular music entrepeneur and steam train enthusiast and owner, began the discussion with the continuing impact of the railways. Zoe Arthur of the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust and Vice Chair of the Association for Industrial Archaeology, talked about some of the key industrial sites in Wales from copper and canals to reservoirs and slate and the, sometimes, negative impact of these industries. Colin Rynne, of University College Cork, highlighted the island of Ireland’s important role in¬†industrialisation and some of the key sites to visit including gin distilleries and the linen mills of Belfast. Miles Oglethorpe, of Historic Environment Scotland and Chair of the International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage, talked about coal, rail, and textiles in Scotland, and highlighted industrial heritage’s international links in terms of regenerating old buildings and improving local neighbourhoods, as well as helping to combat climate change by recycling old structures.¬†Nigel Linge, professor of telecommunications at Salford University, looked at the importance of the railways in promoting the telegraph system during the mid-19th century, and the rise of the telephone box network during the early 20th century. He also pointed out how rapid technological change makes it very difficult to record the infrastructure of the mobile phone network.

Mike finished the discussion with a brief review of why the Ironbridge Gorge, and the museum trust of that name, are internationally important, being one of nine industrial world heritage sites in Britain (along with Blaenavon, Cornish tin mining, Derwent Valley Mills, the Forth Railway Bridge, New Lanark Mills, the Pontcycsillte aqueduct and canal, Saltaire mills, and Welsh Slate). Throughout the discussions there was an emphasis on people, the impact of new technology on people’s working and domestic lives, and the lasting landscape legacy of these industries.

To hear the full discussion follow this programme link and start 2 hours in: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001d414

The Ironbridge at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site and the first single arched cast-iron bridge in the world.