Historic Coalbrookdale Aga foundry site up for sale

A ‘For Sale’ sign has been put up at the site of Aga’s historic Coalbrookdale Foundry.

The Aga foundry shut for the final time in November 2017, with the 42 remaining workers leaving their boots and helmets on the famous Coalbrookdale Co gates as they left.

Telford & Wrekin Councillor Nicola Lowery, who represents the Ironbridge Gorge ward, said she had spoken to the site owner and understands the site will be put on the market with the industrial units intact.

“This is highly encouraging as it will certainly promote the industrial potential whilst hopefully taking an innovative approach to how the site can evolve to future-proof for the future.”

“The Coalbrookdale foundry resides within the world heritage site boundary and conservation area, therefore this will have to be considered as part of any future proposal, given our duty to protect and enhance the outstanding universal value of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.”

“I shall continue working closely with the owners and look forward to working with JLL to secure a positive and innovative use for the site.”

“It was extremely sad to see the Ironmen of Coalbrookdale leave the foundry for the final time, but their legacy and achievements continue to live on in many ways in the Gorge through the many different memories and castings across our community.”

“I understand some of the Ironmen have also secured work in local foundries, which is excellent news so they can continue to use their skills and experience in this unique sector.”

“As for the future, it is imperative we begin to look at the future use proactively, to secure an appropriate and sensitive buyer who is able to understand the potential of this site. As the birthplace of the industrial revolution, the history associated with this site is unparalleled. Therefore, it is essential that a buyer is identified that takes inspiration from this.”

The foundry was started in the 18th century by Abraham Darby I, who developed new processes for smelting iron. This was a major step forward in the production of iron as a raw material for the Industrial Revolution.

Over the years the company stayed on the cutting edge of iron founding and played a key role in the building of the Iron Bridge and countless other landmarks around the world.

Aga Rangemaster announced that it would be closing the Coalbrookdale Foundry in May last year, saying that it was no longer “economically viable”.

A crowd of former staff members and residents gathered outside the factory to say goodbye to staff members when it closed for business. Many of the last employees had turned up for work that morning and were told they were no longer needed and were sent home.

Aga Rangemaster was sold to Illinois-based food services giant Middleby Corporation in 2015, in a deal worth about £129 million.

Coalbrookdale in Shropshire’s Ironbridge Gorge was where Abraham Darby I first smelted iron ore using a fuel called coke instead of charcoal, which made it easier to mass produce cast iron.

Now part of the Ironbridge Heritage Buildings, the foundry was where Abraham Darby III built the first ever Iron Bridge, with beams and ribs cast there in 1709. A hundred years later in 1802 the world’s first steam railway locomotive was built there by engineer Richard Trevithick.

During the Second World War, the foundry was used as a site to build Lancaster bombers, before it was taken over by Aga in 1946.

With such rich history, the small Telford village is referred to as ‘The Birthplace of Industry’.