Iron Bridge set for repairs as cracks appear

13 November 2017 | By Will Mann

Nilfanion - Wikimedia UK

An 18th century Iron Bridge in Shropshire, the world’s first bridge built from cast iron, is to undergo a major renovation after cracks were discovered in the structure.

The work will cost £3.6m and conservation group English Heritage has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise funds for the scheme.

Opening in 1781, the bridge crosses the River Severn in Ironbridge Gorge near Coalbrookdale, but has experienced considerable wear-and-tear since its original construction.

“The world’s first iron bridge is one of the greatest symbols of the Industrial Revolution, but is now suffering from cracking due to stresses in its ironwork,” said English Heritage, in a statement.

“There has also been disruptive ground movement over the centuries and an earthquake at the end of the 19th century.

English Heritage is crowdfunding to pay for repairs (English Heritage)

“We’ll be repairing the cast iron frame, conducting masonry repairs and repainting the ironwork. The deck will also be resurfaced with a new waterproof membrane.

“The project is vital to preserving the Iron Bridge for the future.”

Taziker Industrial has been appointed as lead contractor for the conservation project, and has previously worked on the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle and the Menai & Britannia Bridges in North Wales.

The work is expected to start before the end of 2017 and run through 2018.

English Heritage said it had already raised “a significant sum” towards the restoration, including a donation of almost £1m from the German-based Hermann Reemtsma Foundation. It aims to raise a further £25,000 through the Crowdfunder campaign.

The Grade I-listed Iron Bridge is owned by Telford and Wrekin Borough Council. The bridge, along with the adjacent settlement of Ironbridge and the Ironbridge Gorge, form the UNESCO Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.

Main image: Nilfanion - Wikimedia UK

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