The Bedlam Furnaces are located east of the centre of Ironbridge on the north bank of the River Severn. The site adjoins the River Severn, but is separated from it by the road linking Ironbridge with Coalport, known as Waterloo Street.
The furnaces date from 1759 and are of national significance as they were amongst the first in the country to be built specifically to smelt iron ore with coke to produce cast iron. The site has been a Grade II* Listed Building since 1968 and a Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1973 (Shropshire Monument 340) and was from an early date included as part of the Severn Gorge Repairs Project. Archaeological survey work commenced in the 1970’s followed by various programmes of repair and consolidation. Subsequent exposure to the elements however, led to further deterioration of the masonry structures and the monument was added to Historic England’s Heritage At Risk Register in 2014.
Working for the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, Arrol Architects were instructed to prepare a Feasibility Study accessing different options for the provision of a permanent roof covering and, following selection of a preferred option, to submit a full Planning Application in conjunction with a Listed Building Consent and Schedule Monument Consent applications.
Following both extensive discussions with both IGMT board members and Historic England, it was agreed that the most fitting design for the canopy roof over such an important industrial building would be the functionally unostentatious steel canopy roof.