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Restoring the Black Country’s last working steam hammer

anchor forge image

18 February 2016

We are just £5k off its £99,000 goal to restore its Anchor Forge steam hammer, which was last operated in 1991. The restoration forms part of the Museum’s Major Partner Museum programme which focuses on creatively interpreting Museum collections alongside its Midlands partner, Culture Coventry.

Our 1920s Anchor Forge is a reconstruction of the last known working anchor forge in the Black Country – Isaiah Preston of Cradley Heath – which closed in 1979, bringing to an end 140 years of anchor making in the region. The project is currently at its very early stages of development, but will be overseen by our Senior Curator Dr John Beckerson. We hope to use a variety of interpretation methods to bring this exhibition’s rich industrial history to life, including sound installations as well as its costumed characters.

We are aiming to have the project completed and the steam hammer running by Autumn 2016, and anticipate that the forge will be in operation for approximately 40 days of the year (though it will be on permanent display during opening hours). The steam hammer is considered to be one of the greatest inventions of the Industrial Revolution, and one of the fundamental ways in which the power of steam was harnessed. In restoring the Anchor Forge steam hammer (and other exhibits in due course) we will continue to tell the story of steam power and how it changed lives in a unique and exciting way.

Over £90,000 has so far been raised from a number of generous bodies and individuals including Arts Council England, PRISM (Preservation for Industrial and Scientific Material) Fund, the Idlewild Trust and the Saintbury Trust, however funds are still needed and donations can be made through www.bclm.com/anchorforge

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