The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and its Local Communities

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust’s relationships with its local communities are important to us.  

We have created this dedicated page to help us communicate more openly with our neighbours. We will post information about upcoming meetings that local residents can attend to find out about the Trust’s work and ask questions to IGMT staff. We will also provide reports and minutes of past events. 

For more information, please contact the Trust on 

Meeting at Coalport Village Hall 

1 February 2024 

Hosted by: Nick Ralls, CEO of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust; Rory Hunter, the Trust’s Estates, Facilities & Projects Director; and Councillor Carolyn Healy, representing the Ironbridge Gorge ward.  

The aim of the meeting was for the Trust to update local residents about recent activity at the Trust and more particularly local to the Coalport China Museum. The meeting also looked forward to 2024 and addressed specific questions and subjects raised by the local people who attended.   

One of the points agreed was that better communication with local communities was required, and this new page on the Trust’s website is a result of that discussion. 

A main point of discussion was the Trust’s current financial status. The Trust’s staff acknowledged that the visitor numbers achieved in 2019 were the base level required at which IGMT can run sustainably. With the COVID-19 pandemic visitor income, IGMT’s main source of income, was lost overnight. The four years since then have been challenging, but visitor numbers in 2023 were encouraging at 330,000. The Trust’s efforts are now focused on building numbers back to a sustainable level, which is good for the Trust but also local businesses.  

At the same time, since 2020 flooding in the Ironbridge Gorge, which particularly affects the Museum of the Gorge and Coalport China Museum, has become an annual event, and brings its own challenges, in terms of both the damage it causes and subsequent costs incurred, and the impact on visitor numbers.  

Further significant challenges the Trust currently faces are in managing the significant amount of land in the Trust’s ownership. There have also been delays to conservation work in 2021 and 2022 due to COVID-19. However, significant help has been received from the NHMF and MEND to help overcome this.

The meeting was also an opportunity for the Trust to talk about the work it is doing to help the environment and its ambitions to be more sustainable. This work has included establishing an Environment & Sustainability Committee and writing a dedicated Environment Policy. 

A Q&A session inviting open questions from the public followed and saw a number of concerns raised and actions from IGMT defined. 

The full minutes of this meeting are available to those who attended. 

As agreed at the meeting, a second meeting in 2024 will be set up in six months, details of which will be posted on this page and advertised in the local area. It will be an opportunity to provide further updates and report back on the actions outlined in the meeting minutes.