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Coalbrookdale 300 Project Receives Funding Boost (25th January 2012)

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust has received a £150,000 funding boost from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Fund towards the second phase of its exciting Coalbrookdale 300 Project. This will include the redevelopment of the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron with new gallery and education spaces and help provide improved access to its nationally designated collections.

The Coalbrookdale 300 development programme began in 2009 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of when Abraham Darby first smelted iron with coke in 1709. This is widely recognised as the birth of the Industrial Revolution, which changed every aspect of how people lived, worked and communicated across the globe.

The redeveloped Museum will be the catalyst for the reinterpretation of the iconic industrial landscape that exists at Coalbrookdale and will seek to explain the global significance of the World Heritage Site from its origins to the present day and beyond.

Anna Brennand, Deputy CEO, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust commented; “The news of this funding is a great way to start 2012 and a great boost to our fund raising efforts for the Coalbrookdale 300 Project. Current funding has allowed us to start the restoration of the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron Clock Tower and work will start on re-roofing Carpenters Row later in the year. This new grant is a big step forward towards raising the total funds needed to achieve the Trust’s ambitions for the Coalbrookdale 300 Project, which will see huge improvements within the Museum of Iron and the Coalbrookdale landscape.

“Our overall aim is to significantly improve the education facilities for school visitors and groups and to help visitors of all ages better understand the world-changing importance of Coalbrookdale and the story of iron,” continued Anna.

Housed in the Grade II listed Great Warehouse built in 1838, the Museum of Iron was originally used by the Coalbrookdale Company to assemble cast iron products, remaining in use until the 1970s. The iconic cast-iron clock tower was added in 1843 and provides a striking landmark to the beautiful steep sided valley.

The DCMS/Wolfson Fund supports projects which improve the quality of displays, public spaces, collection interpretation and disabled access in museums and galleries across England.

Founded in 1967, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust is one of the largest independent museums in the world and is a registered charity whose twin aims are education and heritage conservation. The Trust cares for 36 scheduled monuments and listed buildings within the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site and operates 10 Museums which collectively tell the story of the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. 

For more information about the Ironbridge Gorge Museums visit www.ironbridge.org.uk.