Sculpture plan to mark historic foundry

A sculpture will honour 300 years of industry at a foundry and incorporate real used equipment, if plans are approved.

Workers hung their boots from the gates when the foundry closed
Workers hung their boots from the gates when the foundry closed

The Coalbrookdale Foundry in Ironbridge closed in 2017 after centuries of metal casting, and the Coke Hearth Improvements Group is proposing to place an anvil, recovered from the site, on the nearby green.

Casts of a jacket, visor and pair of boots will be added to give the impression “a foundry worker has sat on the anvil, taken off his PPE and walked away”, the group says.

The Gorge Parish Council will be consulted about the proposal, and Telford and Wrekin Council’s planning department will make its decision at a later date.

A design statement, submitted by applicant and group member Robert Petty, says: “The proposed location for the Foundry Sculpture is at the far end of the Coke Hearth Green on School Road, Coalbrookdale.

“The green forms part of the Coke Hearth area of Coalbrookdale, an area that was at the heart of the former Coalbrookdale Works and is now an important community space with the green play area, Upper Furnace Pool and community centre all in this location.

“When the Coalbrookdale Foundry (Aga Rayburn) closed, the Coke Hearth Improvements Group were gifted a number of articles from the foundry including benches, which have now been installed, and an anvil, boots, jacket and visor that had been hung on the foundry gates when they were closed for the last time.

“As a way of remembering the 300 years of industry and the many local people who worked in the foundry, the group wishes to create a sculpture using the anvil and casting the boots, jacket and visor onto the anvil so it looks as if a foundry worker has say on the anvil, taken off his PPE and walked away.”

If approved, the sculpture will be mounted on a concrete base covered with decorative gravel and designed to match the limestone wall surrounding the green, the statement adds.

Earlier this year, Shropshire Homes Ltd applied to build a 30-flat block and 48 new houses on the nine-acre Wellington Road former foundry site.

Its plans also included converting a former warehouse into 20 maisonettes and refitting the Grade-II listed Power House and Pattern Shop into three more homes.

Telford and Wrekin Council has yet to decide on that proposal.

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