The Iron Bridge glowing at night

Project iron bridge: saving an industrial icon

Stretching across the River Severn, the world's first iron bridge is one of the greatest symbols of the Industrial Revolution. But the Iron Bridge is now suffering from cracking and in need of repair.

To save the bridge for generations to come, English Heritage is embarking on its largest conservation project to date. #ProjectIronBridge

How we're saving an industrial icon

Each generation has done their bit to look after the Iron Bridge and now it's our turn.

We are now undertaking a major conservation project on the Iron Bridge. The bridge is suffering due to stresses in its ironwork, and the project is vital to preserving it for the future. It's going to take £3.6 million to carry out this work and will be the largest conservation project in our history.

Watch our video to learn more about the campaign and find out what we're doing to save this important monument.

Conservation on the Iron Bridge

Conservation in action

As part of our project to save this historic structure, we've installed a temporary walkway beside the Iron Bridge. This gives visitors a special chance to learn more about the works and witness the conservation in action.

Walk alongside the bridge and read displays about the expert techniques being used. Windows and portholes give a unique perspective of the works taking place, with staff and volunteers on hand to give more information. 

The walkway is open daily from 29 March until the end of August, 10am - 4pm. Entry is free, though donations are greatly appreciated.

Discover more ways you can be part of the project.

Get involved
Two workers inspecting the Iron Bridge

Public help raise more than £47,000

English Heritage embarked on its first crowd-funder campaign and raised £47,545 from more than 900 donors. This well exceeded our initial target of £25,000. Thank you to all our generous donors who have helped save the Iron Bridge. 

But we still need support to safeguard this symbol of a turning point in human history - and similar projects of the future. You can play a role in passing on the heritage that's shaped our lives today to share with people in the future.

Donate today
The Iron Bridge with scaffolding wrapped around it

Get Involved

We're working to safeguard the future of the Iron Bridge. Be a part of our biggest conservation project to date.

  • Visit our temporary walkway beside the bridge - open from 29 March until the end of August.
  • Make a donation to English Heritage. As a charity, we rely on your generous support to look after the historic sites in our care.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find out more about the work we are doing. #ProjectIronBridge
  • Join the team! Sign up as an Iron Bridge volunteer, supporting visitors to understand the vital conservation project.

 Iron Bridge Timeline

1709Coal Territory

Abraham Darby, a former brass founder, discovered that coal from Coalbrookdale could be used to smelt iron. This enabled the economically viable mass production of cast iron. Kickstarting the Industrial Revolution, the foundry was producing large quantities of cast iron goods within a couple of years.

Coal smelting at Iron Bridge

1773Pritchard’s Wild Idea

Shrewsbury architect Thomas Pritchard had a bold idea. Capitalising on engineering expertise and new iron-casting techniques, he proposed the world's first iron bridge, to be cast and built by Abraham Darby's grandson, Abraham Darby III.  A strong and durable bridge, it would support the transportation of goods across the River Severn and cut down barge traffic.

Designs for an iron bridge at Coalbrookdale
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