On Friday, Lucy Allan MP visited Blists Hill Victorian Town, which is part of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust. She met with the CEO Nick Ralls, and Visitor Engagement Director, Justin Tose, to discuss the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak and how the Trust is meeting these challenges.
The Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust is a registered educational charity with World Heritage Status, manage 35 historic sites within the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site. This includes ten museums, two chapels, archaeological sites, housing, Quaker burial grounds, a research library, a tourist information centre, woodland and two youth hostels.
The Museum Trust experienced severe flood damage in February, then closure during its peak activity period due to Coronavirus. The Trust has been working hard to secure investment and recover from these set backs. Lucy has been working with the Trust during this time, lobbying Government and other organisations to secure targeted financial support to help the Trust continue to operate and expand so it can continue to attract visitors.
Commenting, Lucy Allan MP said:
"I always enjoy visiting Blists Hill and is fantastic to see it open again. The Trust has done an amazing job in meeting the extraordinary challenges of the last six months. I was particularly impressed by the Trust's Turnaround Plan which focuses on expanding existing sites and increasing focus on visitor experience.
There are exciting plans for a new Adventure Play Experience at Blists Hill, incorporating original fixtures from the remains of local mine workings. I welcome the Trust's commitment to our local community whilst telling the story of Ironbridge as the birthplace of industry, and I look forward to helping the Trust secure the investment it needs for the future."
Nick Ralls, CEO of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, said:
"The Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust recognises that, as a key cultural institution within the region, it has a positive role to play to assist economically as well as its traditional role of conserving and interpreting the regions internationally important structures buildings and collections.
Lucy’s visit was welcome and opportune as we were able to share our exciting plans for our future and show how we can adapt and innovate to overcome challenges ahead."
Many of their sites are now open to the public, and visitors can book tickets to the most popular attractions via their website: https://www.ironbridge.org.uk/plan/welcome-back/.