The Iron Bridge, Shropshire
Designed by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard and Abraham Darby III, the bridge’s purpose was to link the neighbouring towns of Broseley (known for industry), Madelely (a smaller mining town) and the village of Coalbrookdale (significant for its iron ore smelting). The river beneath it was crucial for transporting resources between the mining towns that lie along the gorge. All of these factors combined mean the Iron Bridge and the surrounding gorge are icons for the start of the industrial revolution and today form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While floodlights have been lighting the bridge since the late 1970s, at 40 years old, they were no longer fit for purpose, illuminating only one side of the bridge and regularly being flooded by the river below. After English Heritage completed a £3.6m conservation project in 2017-18 to repair the bridge’s cracked joints, Telford & Wrekin Council decided that a new lighting scheme would celebrate this restoration and the 50th anniversary of Telford new town. That’s where LPA Lighting Designers come in.
The new lighting project seemed relatively straightforward to begin with. The clients wanted a scheme that would extend the economic days of Ironbridge and Telford and illuminate the bridge from either side, while English Heritage asked that neither luminaires nor cables would be mounted on or under the bridge and the visual impact of the fittings during daylight hours be minimal.