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Launch of Project Iron Bridge - first ever crowd funding campaign from English Heritage - video report

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A crowd funding campaign to secure the future of the Iron Bridge in Shropshire, the first single span bridge in the world to be made of cast iron.

English Heritage has revealed a €1m donation from the German Hermann Reemtsma Foundation towards the £3.6m conservation project as it today (13 November 2017) launched its crowd funder. Project Iron Bridge now needs a further £25,000 to reach its funding total, which will enable vital repairs to be carried out.

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With an enormous scaffold in place around the bridge, English Heritage will now start to clean and conserve, repair and – where necessary – reinforce the different elements of the bridge: the iron radials and braces holding the bridge together, the deck plates and wedges, as well as the main iron arch itself. The bridge will also be repainted to protect it for the future.

History of the Iron Bridge

Erected in 1779 over the River Severn in Shropshire, the Iron Bridge was the first single span arch bridge in the world to be made of cast iron and was a turning point in British engineering – it is the great-great grandfather of today’s railways and skyscrapers.
 
However English Heritage’s extensive surveys and investigations have shown that the Iron Bridge is under threat from cracking due to stresses in the ironwork dating from the original construction, ground movement over the centuries, and an earthquake in the 19th century which pushed the sides of the gorge closer together, putting even more pressure on Abraham Darby’s 378 ton masterpiece.
 
Pioneering skills
 
Jochen Muennich of the Hermann Reemtsma Foundation said: “We immediately recognised the value of English Heritage´s project to conserve the Iron Bridge, an outstanding example of the late eighteenth century engineering skills pioneered in Great Britain and subsequently adopted and developed throughout Europe. Not only do we admire the Iron Bridge as an important technical landmark, but we also see it as a potent reminder of our continent´s common cultural roots and values.
 
“This is the foundation´s first funding venture in the UK, a signal of our strong attachment to Great Britain in general, and to the mission of English Heritage in particular. In the current climate it seems more important than ever to raise awareness of the links in our industrial heritage and our broader cultural bonds.”
 
Watch the video

To make a donation or to find out more, visit the Iron Bridge Project website.

(image copyright Peter Scrimshaw)

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