Northumberland ironworks grant will help prevent collapse

An aerial view of Ridsdale Irownworks.
An aerial view of Ridsdale Irownworks.

An £8,600 grant has been given to a Northumberland ironworks to undertake urgent works to parts of the site that are in danger of collapse.

Ridsdale Ironworks is a nationally important archaeological site which lies alongside the A68, close to the River Rede.

The well-preserved remains illustrate the short-lived expansion of heavy industry into the north-west uplands of Northumberland in the early 19th century. Iron from this furnace was used by Robert Stephenson to construct the High Level Bridge in Newcastle due to its quality.

The ironworks is currently on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register because of structural instability of the engine house.

The site also forms part of a substantial repair programme planned to start in 2018 as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) supported Revitalising Redesdale Landscape Partnership Project.

A recent condition survey, undertaken during the development of the Landscape Partnership Project, revealed that parts of the engine house are in imminent danger of collapse and need immediate action to secure them in advance of the repair work. Historic England’s grant will support the owners of the site in carrying out urgent propping to prevent any collapse of the masonry structures.

Subject to a successful second-round bid to the HLF later this year, the Revitalising Rededale project aims to carry out the substantial repairs to the masonry structures which will remove the ironworks from the at-risk register.

Kate Wilson, Historic England’s principal Heritage at Risk adviser for the North East, said: “Ridsdale Ironworks has been a significant feature in the Redesdale landscape since the 1840s and is a visible reminder of its industrial past. Historic England is delighted to be working closely with the owners and the Revitalising Redesdale Partners to help preserve this remarkable site.”

Lydia Speakman, HLF project delivery manager for the Revitalising Redesdale project, added: “The Ridsdale engine house is an important iconic landmark in the valley, with an important history. The opportunity to secure Heritage Lottery funding for this site, will help secure its long-term future, and enable us to tell the story of iron-making in this remote corner of Northumberland.

“Our condition survey revealed how urgent the repairs are to protect this building, and we are grateful to Historic England for stepping in to grant-aid the scaffolding, so that the building doesn’t deteriorate further, before we are in a position to conserve the site.”