Keeping crafts alive

A recent report by the Heritage Crafts Association has identified a number of crafts which are in danger of extinction, and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust is at the forefront of preserving such skills. Many of these are demonstrated at Blists Hill Victorian Town; iron casting takes place most Wednesdays using techniques that have remained largely unchanged for 300 years; blacksmithing, tinsmithing and wood-turning, all of which appear on the ‘endangered’ list, are also preserved there.

High on the list is floor and wall tile-making. The tile industry once thrived in the Gorge in the village of Jackfield; today, workers from Craven Dunnill continue to manufacture wall and floors tiles using Victorian techniques at the site. ‘Critically endangered’ is the ancient art of making clay tobacco pipes, and one of the Trust’s longstanding volunteers still keeps the skill alive at the Broseley Pipeworks. However, the Trust is actively looking for more people to help to preserve these traditional crafts.
For details visit ironbridge.org.uk or call 01952 433424, and for information about endangered skills, contact redlist@heritagecrafts.org.uk.

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