Video: Repair work begins on iconic Iron Bridge as fundraising campaign is launched to secure its future
An online crowd-funding campaign has launched today to help save Shropshire's iconic Iron Bridge.
English Heritage has started work on its biggest conservation project since it became a charity in 2015.
Costing a total of £3.6m, the charity has been helped by a €1m donation from the German Hermann Reemtsma Foundation.
Now, all is needed is £25,000 to ensure that the industrial icon will continue to inspire generations to come.
An online crowd-funding campaign hopes to raise that sum and rewards will be offered to donors.
These will include special ‘"conservation-in- action" tours of the Iron Bridge and donors can also get their hands on a limited edition print of the Iron Bridge by renowned designer Paul Catherall.
Scaffolding has gone up around the bridge as experts begin the work.
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.
However English Heritage’s extensive surveys and investigations have shown that the Iron Bridge is under threat from cracking.
It is down 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.
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.
Kate Mavor, English Heritage’s chief executive, said: “The Iron Bridge is one of the most important – if not the most important – bridges ever built.
"It sits in the cradle of the Industrial Revolution and is open to everyone to visit, for free, every day of the year.
"But after two centuries, its cast iron is cracking and if it is to survive, the bridge needs our support.
"Today we are asking the public to help save the Iron Bridge so that it can continue to inspire generations to come.”
To donate to Project Iron Bridge, visit crowdfunder.co.uk/project-iron-bridge