Ironbridge sign gets a lick of paint in heritage project

A sign of the times – the old times – has been given a skilful new coat of paint.

Sign-writer Phil Barber travelled to Ironbridge to spruce up the lettering on the Iron Bridge itself.

He was welcomed by English Heritage as part of its ongoing care of the ancient structure.

Phil is part of a family of specialist sign-writers who have been working on historic structures since 1910, and used his professional hand to pick out the “Erected in 1779” lettering which appears on the ironwork at the highest point of the bridge. The lettering references the date the bridge was completed by Abraham Darby III, to designs by Shropshire architect Thomas Farnolls Pritchard.

Sign-writer Phil Barber picks out the lettering on the bridge

This work is part of English Heritage’s regular care of the bridge and will help English Heritage’s team of local volunteers on the bridge who support the charity in engaging visitors tell its fascinating story. English Heritage’s partners Taziker, who helped deliver the £3.6m conservation of the Iron Bridge between 2017 and 2019, commissioned the specialist sign-writer.

English Heritage Senior Properties Curator Dr Heather Sebire said: “It was great to have Phil’s expert hand here at the Iron Bridge. Our volunteers on the bridge suggested that picking out this lettering would help give visitors a clearer understanding of the bridge’s long history, and they were absolutely right.

"Almost the second it was completed we noticed more visitors remarking on its age and taking pictures. We are grateful to our volunteers, to Phil, and our partners Taziker Industrial who commissioned the work.”

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