Museum Collections - The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

The collections at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT) total more than 400,000 objects and includes buildings and monuments, archival material, books, and costume, as well as collections relating to the decorative arts, industry and engineering, local history, transport, and natural history.

IGMT also has a Reference Library and Archive which hold an extensive range of materials relating to these subjects. Anyone is welcome to consult the collections by appointment.

All of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust's collections are designated as being of national significance by Arts Council England and can be accessed for free. To find out how to access the collections please contact us using the Get in Touch details below.

RECENT HIGHLIGHTS

THE LIVES OF DISABLED WORKERS IN THE EAST SHROPSHIRE COALFIELD

THE LIVES OF DISABLED WORKERS IN THE EAST SHROPSHIRE COALFIELD

Discover what life was like for disabled working class people in the East Shropshire Coalfield during the 19th century in this blog post, which was guest written by Melanie Williamson, a freelance researcher, as part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust’s ‘Hidden Histories' project.

Buy Prints, Pay for Licensing & Research

Buy Prints, Pay for Licensing & Research

Display a print from IGMT's designated collection in your own home, license an image for commercial use or pay for research undertaken by our team on your behalf.

Revealing Research

Revealing Research

In a project made possible through a Headley Fellowship with Art Fund, a little-known part of the archive has been brought to light. The archive contains some 730 orders undertaken by the Coalbrookdale Company ironworks in the late 19th - early 20th century for decorative and architectural work such as gates, railings, verandas, and fountains.

Remembering Sir Arthur Elton

Remembering Sir Arthur Elton

Sir Arthur Elton was a pioneering documentary film maker, collector of material relating to the Industrial Revolution, and early supporter of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. His collection, which came to Ironbridge in 1978, has been described as ‘the best in Europe and perhaps the most important in the world’. 

Women in Industry - An Interview with Ruth Goodman

Women in Industry - An Interview with Ruth Goodman

Research carried out by social historian Ruth Goodman, on behalf of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, has revealed new insights into the fascinating and vital contributions that women have made to the industrial history of the Ironbridge Gorge.

A Kit for a 'Lady Footballer'

A Kit for a 'Lady Footballer'

To celebrate the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust have collaborated with Wolverhampton Wanderers Foundation to produce a replica 19th-century women’s football kit.  

LETTERS FROM THE TRENCHES, MAURICE DARBY 1894-1915

LETTERS FROM THE TRENCHES, MAURICE DARBY 1894-1915

Discover the story of Maurice Darby (1894-1915), the son of Alfred Darby II who fought and died in the First World War. His letters, written from the trenches on the Western Front, provide an insight into the realities of warfare in the early 20th century.  

Collections and Resources

The collections at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT) total more than 400,000 objects and includes buildings and monuments, archival material, books, and costume, as well as collections relating to the decorative arts, industry and engineering, local history, transport, and natural history.

IGMT also has a Reference Library and Archive which hold an extensive range of materials relating to these subjects. Academics and researchers are welcome to consult the collections by appointment.

All of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust's collections are designated as being of national significance by Arts Council England and can be accessed for free. 

Stories

  1. The Lives of Disabled Workers in the East Shropshire Coalfield

    Discover what life was like for disabled working class people in the East Shropshire Coalfield during the 19th century in this blog post, which was guest written by Melanie Williamson, a freelance researcher, as part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust’s ‘Hidden Histories' project.

    Read more

  2. Revealing Research: The Coalbrookdale Company orders archive

    In a project made possible through a Headley Fellowship with Art Fund, a little-known part of our archive has been brought to light.

    Read more

  3. Remembering Sir Arthur Elton

    Sir Arthur Elton was a pioneering documentary film maker, collector of material relating to the Industrial Revolution, and early supporter of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. His collection, which came to Ironbridge in 1978, has been described as ‘the best in Europe and perhaps the most important in the world’. 

    Read more

  4. Draughtsman’s drawings from Coalbrookdale: Artistry, delight and the ‘working drawing’

    A hitherto underexplored Coalbrookdale Company archive of some 730 client orders from the 1890s and early 1900s - the subject of Senior Curator Georgina Grant’s Headley Fellowship with Art Fund - is shedding new light on this significant ironworks. 

    Read more

  5. Close Bonds: The Unconventional Family of Cecilia Maw

    Census records are often associated with family or house history research but they can be used to investigate the social history of Britain and reveal the diversity of households and family units that existed in the past. The release of the 1921 census opened many new avenues of research and has provided revelations about the lives of many historic individuals and their families, including the family of Cecilia Maw (1876-1942), a locally born artist, and Florence Amy Thursfield (1867-1948).

    Read more

  6. Delving into the Archive: Ironbridge Archive and Westminster Abbey

    An item from the Maw & Co. Collection in the Museum Library & Archives assisted conservators and researchers at Westminster Abbey in piecing together the history of one of their most celebrated treasures.

    Read more

  7. QUESTIONS ABOUT QUAKERS

    Many of the leading industrialists who were connected with Coalbrookdale and the development of the Industrial Revolution were members of the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers. 

    We sat down with Professor Ben Pink Dandelion, Honorary Professor of Quaker Studies in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham and Director of The Centre for Postgraduate Quaker Studies, to ask some common questions about Quakers and their approach to life, business and religion.

    Read more

  8. Women in Industry in the Ironbridge Gorge - An Interview with Ruth Goodman

    The role of women in industrial history has often been hidden, overlooked, or forgotten. However, research carried out by social historian Ruth Goodman, on behalf of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, has revealed new insights into the fascinating and vital contributions that women have made to the industrial history of the Ironbridge Gorge. In this interview, Ruth Goodman discusses her research with the Trust's Interpretation Curator, Lauren Collier.

    Read more

  9. The Victorian Seaside

    Holidaying by the sea first became fashionable in the mid-18th century when sea bathing for health reasons became popular. However, this was only affordable to the wealthy in society, and it wasn’t until the Victorian era that a day out to the seaside became affordable for working people.

    Read more

  10. A Debutante’s Gown

    Creating a replica debutante gown from the late 19th century is a challenging task. Follow the story, as told by the Trust’s Senior Costume Interpreter, Alison Phillips, of how and why the museum was commissioned to create one of these iconic garments for Lanhydrock, a National Trust property in Cornwall.

    Read more

  11. A Kit for a 'Lady Footballer'

    To celebrate the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust have collaborated with Wolverhampton Wanderers Foundation to produce a replica 19th-century women’s football kit.  

    Read more

  12. Match of the Day

    This is the story of a team of working class men from a small mining community in the East Shropshire Coalfield, whose attempts to retain the Shropshire FA Cup had been, in their eyes, thwarted by the unscrupulous ‘County Townites’ of the Shropshire FA. The story of St. Georges expulsion from the 1886-87 Cup is an extraordinary one.

    Read more

  13. Clocking In at Coalport

    Coalport China Museum is home to some truly spectacular displays of china and porcelain but, amongst the finery, it is the humblest looking objects in the collection which are arguably the most significant.

    Read more

  14. Shropshire Pit Girls

    Women's contributions to industry and mining have been, and continue to be, overlooked and underrepresented in the histories of the industrial revolution. Women were, however, employed in a range of industrial roles and here we will look at the work of one particular group, the Shropshire Pit Girls of the East Shropshire Coalfield. 

    Read more

  15. Medusa and the Lost Floor of Clivedon

    This stunning section of an encaustic floor was almost destroyed by Nancy Astor, but survived and is now in the collection at Jackfield Tile Museum.

    Read more

  16. LETTERS FROM THE TRENCHES, MAURICE DARBY 1894-1915

    Discover the story of Maurice Darby (1894-1915), the son of Alfred Darby II who fought and died in the First World War. His letters, written from the trenches on the Western Front, provide an insight into the realities of warfare in the early 20th century.  

    Read more

  17. A Right Jolly Old Elf: The Origins of a Christmas Icon

    The image of a plump, jolly man who delivers presents wearing a red suit and sporting a bushy white beard is one of the best-known symbols of the Christmas season. This familiar figure goes by many names: Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas. But what are the origins of this figure and why does he have so many names?

    Read more

Get in Touch

If you have a question about something you’ve seen on display in one of our museums, an object you own, or historical research then please get in touch with the Collections Team at collections@ironbridge.org.uk or phone the museum switchboard on 01952 435900.

Alternatively get in touch directly with a member of the team.

Nick Booth
Collections & Learning Director

Nick is responsible for setting the curatorial and learning strategy for the Trust. He oversees the management of the varied collections within its care.

Click here to email Nick

Kate Cadman
Collections Curator

Kate is responsible for the care and management of our designated collections across the museum sites.

Click here to email Kate

Lauren Collier
Head of Interpretation

Lauren is responsible for the interpretation of the collections across our museum sites as well as the Museum's exhibition programme.

Click here to email Lauren

Dr Mike Nevell
Industrial Heritage Support Officer

Mike is the IHSO for England and provides information, training and support for industrial heritage sites and the organisations that run them.

Click here to email Mike

Sarah Roberts
Archivist

Sarah is based in the Library & Archive and looks after all our historical documents and records.

Click here to email Sarah

Joanne Smith
Registrar

Joanne is based in the Library & Archive and manages the documentation of all our collections.

Click here to email Joanne