New lease of life for historic Iron bridge in Britain

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Hundreds of people have rallied round to help save one of the icons of the British Industrial Revolution.

Britain’s cultural charity, English Heritage (EH), launched a campaign to raise money to help crucial conservation on the Iron Bridge, the world’s first bridge made of iron.

It was built in 1779 across the River Severn in central England’s county of Shropshire, and is today considered a turning point in English design and engineering.

The charity only launched its campaign on November 13, and within 48-hoursand had achieved its initial target.

EH’s Head of Conservation Maintenance, Morgan Cowles, announced Monday the appeal had closed after enough had been raised for a program to repair and restore Shropshire’s symbol of the Industrial Revolution. A donation of one million euros (1.18 million U.S. dollars) was made by the Hermann Reemtsma Foundation.

Cowles said: “The response has been truly overwhelming. We are in awe of all those who have given so generously to support our vital conservation project on the Iron Bridge.”

Project Iron Bridge called on the public to help fund the repairs necessary to save the iconic structure.

The bridge has been under threat from cracking caused by stresses in the ironwork, which have been impacting on the bridge since it was built. Ground movement over the centuries and an earthquake at the end of the 19th century have also contributed to the damage.

The 4.8-million-U.S.-dollar project, now underway, will clean, repair and replace the different elements of the bridge, then repaint the entire structure and renew the road surface.

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