Museum to receive £1m from national cultural heritage fund

Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust to receive £1m in fund which helps safeguard nation's cultural heritage

  • Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust is among more than 60 galleries, museums, libraries and cultural venues to receive Government’s Cultural Investment Fund (CIF)
  • Awarded through the Museums Estate and Development Fund (MEND) strand of the funding, this award will enable the Trust to carry out vital infrastructure and essential maintenance work at Blists Hill Victorian Town

Galleries, museums, libraries and cultural venues across the country, including the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, are to benefit from almost £50 million of funding which will improve people’s access to the arts, safeguard cultural assets for future generations and power economic growth through culture.

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in Shropshire has been awarded a grant of £1m by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, delivered by Arts Council England.

The grant will enable the Trust to carry out vital infrastructure and essential maintenance work at Blists Hill Victorian Town, one of the ten museums within its care. Attracting around 190,000 visitors annually pre-COVID, the award-winning attraction is a reconstruction of a typical Shropshire town at the beginning of the 20th century built around historic monuments.

Vital work carried out as a result of the funding will include: 

  • Repair to the Hay Incline Plane – a system of raising and lowering tub boats on the Shropshire Canal between Blists Hill and Coalport, operational between 1793 and 1894
  • Installation of perimeter fencing around the site – protecting the future of Trust’s designated collections and historically significant buildings
  • Improved energy efficiency through the installation of voltage optimisation system

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson, said:

“Culture is the bedrock of society. It brings people together, entertains and informs us, and helps us to understand our common past and shared future.

“Today we are announcing a raft of new funding for treasured cultural institutions up and down the country.

“This will help them to continue their great work, advance our work to level up access to arts and culture so they can be enjoyed by people no matter where they live, and protect these cherished institutions for future generations to enjoy.”

Nick Ralls, CEO of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, said:

“We’re absolutely delighted to receive such substantial funding from the Government’s Cultural Investment Fund. The grant will enable us to carry out vital infrastructure and urgent maintenance work at Blists Hill Victorian Town, helping preserve and protect our designated collections for future generations to enjoy.” 

Darren Henley, Chief Executive Officer, Arts Council England, said:

“Our artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries are experts in making villages, towns and cities better places to live, work, visit or play. This investment means they’ll be able to help more people across England to lead happier, more creative lives”.

The Cultural Investment Fund will see £48 million distributed to 63 organisations. It is allocated through three streams: £24 million through the Cultural Development Fund, £18.8 million through the Museums Estate and Development Fund, and £5 million through the Libraries Improvement Fund. The announcement follows a concerted effort by the government to support the country’s vital cultural organisations.

The Museum Estate and Development Fund helps fund museum and local authority infrastructure projects and urgent maintenance works beyond their day-to-day budgets.

The Friends of The Ironbridge Gorge Museum generously contributed 5% of the total project costs as match funding.


Notes to Editors 

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision inLet’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.   

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies administering the Government’s unprecedented Culture Recovery Funds. Find out more at  

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

Established in 1967 the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT) is one of the UK’s largest independent museum Trusts and custodian of some of the nation’s most significant industrial heritage. A registered charity set within a 6 square mile UNESCO World Heritage Site the Trust operate 10 award-winning museums and care for 35 Scheduled Ancient Monuments and listed buildings that collectively tell the fascinating story of Ironbridge Gorge as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and its remarkable transformation through time.

Share this article