The first of the world-famous Ironbridge Gorge Museums will throw open their doors for the first time in more than three months on Saturday after getting the green light to safely reopen from the Government.
Blists Hill Victorian Town, Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron and The Iron Bridge Tollhouse will lead the reopening while the Museum of The Gorge, which suffered damage during the floods of February, will also open as a free entry visitor centre.
Tickets have been selling fast with thousands of lockdown-weary families seizing the chance to visit the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
Nick Ralls, chief executive of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust – a registered heritage conservation and education charity which cares for 36 listed buildings in the Gorge – says every possible measure has been taken to ensure the museums meet all the Government’s guidelines.
That means that all of the Victorian shops, workshops and cottages in the open-air museum have had a deep clean and spruce up to make sure they’re ready to welcome visitors on opening day.
He said: “We have done a tremendous amount of work to make sure every visitor who joins us for both the opening day and into the future can enjoy the unforgettable day out we have always offered whilst being safely looked after within the current guidelines.
“All our attractions – including the famous fish and chip shop – have had a thorough clean and we’ve introduced measures to ensure we can serve as many people as possible in complete safety. I can’t wait to try the chips again after so long without them.”
Visitors are being asked to pre-book tickets, in hourly time slots – though they will be allowed to stay on site as long as they wish.
Mr Ralls said new hand-washing facilities would be in place across Blists Hill Victorian Town and cleaning arrangements had been increased across the sites to offer extra peace of mind for visitors. Some one-way routes would also be in place along with social distancing measures.
“We have been thrilled with the response since tickets went on sale and cannot thank people enough for the support they have shown us.
There are still tickets available for Saturday and the following days and weeks, so we look forward to welcoming the whole region back to the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.”
For more information on the reopening and ticket sales visit https://www.ironbridge.org.uk/