The Jackfield Crossing Gates return to their rightful place.
The iconic railway crossing gates are have been recreated and installed at Jackfield after a year-long project to renovate them to their former glory.
The railway gates, which date back to 1862, were taken down in April last year after Telford & Wrekin Council announced it would fund their restoration, following calls from local representatives to restore them.
After drying out over the summer at Coalbrookdale-based Small Woods Association, it became apparent that the gates were beyond repair and that a replacement set was needed.
Heritage craft officers and a group of volunteers then spent more than 1,000 hours creating new gates using historical photographs taken circa 1960/70 as a blueprint.
On Wednesday 8th May the new gates were installed. Each gate is measuring 38ft, which means a crane was needed to lift them into place. The lift was completed in a day and the finishing touches including finials, lamp and stop board, will be added over the coming weeks.
The completed gates will be officially unveiled at the Ironbridge Festival in July.
One of the people involved in the campaign to restore the gates was Tony Hobson of Coalport, who has lived in the Gorge for more than 30 years and a long-standing Councillor at the Gorge Parish Council.
Tony used to collect pieces of wood that had fallen off of the old gates and show them to fellow Councillors as proof that something should be done, he said: “”I lived over the road there, I used to come past and see the gates in a terrible state. I just asked if we could do something about it as they are unique and they’re worth keeping. It snowballed from there really, I kept asking about them every council meeting. The biggest thing was finding out who owned them and had responsibility for them. I think they’re fantastic, and it’s really great to see them back there.”
The former Borough Councillor for the Ironbridge Gorge Nicola Lowery, has been working with the Gorge Parish Council and local residents since 2015 to ensure the listed gates were restored to their former glory, she said: “The recreated Jackfield crossing gates have now been lifted into place and it is truly wonderful to see them these important gates back in their rightful place at the heart of our local community in Jackfield. These gates are Grade II listed and are the largest surviving gates in the UK and an important part of our industrial heritage. Whilst it was disappointing that the existing gates were beyond repair, the gates have been painstakingly and lovingly recreated by the Small Woods trust to ensure that this local feature is restored. This project is testament to the power of team work and I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone at Small Woods, including Neill, Teresa and all the team for so beautifully recreating these gates that mean such a great deal to our community and are an important part of our local history”.