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 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. The bulk of the repair work has been carried out in the mid 1990’s.
Arrol Architects Limited were instructed to first prepare a Feasibility Study to look at different options for the provision of some form of 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.
It will be relatively easy for maintenance staff to erect short lengths of ladders against the ends of the valley beams in the upper part of the Furnace, from where they will have safe access to walk along each of the valleys, in order to perform any maintenance tasks that may be necessary. Special provision for restraining access ladders in place can be provided and a “man-safe” steel access cable system can be fitted around the periphery of the roof covering.