There couldn’t have been a more appropriate place to start our community mapping project than the Skills and Enterprise Hub at Horsehay, located close to the original site of the Coalbrookdale Company Ironworks. Abraham Darby II developed the ironworks in 1755 so that by the time the miners of the Cinderloo Uprising came to halt operations in February 1821, there were three furnaces, two forges, two rolling mills and a slitting mill. The works eventually became A&B Cranes in the 1960s where heavy engineering of bridge and crane structures continued until 1983. Today, the Skills and Enterprise Hub is a lively place of industry and creativity where people develop skills, make useful products and build self-confidence. Our immediate impressions of the atmosphere were friendly, open and respected – the kind of place of social justice that the miners of 1821 were striving for.
Amanda Hillier and Andrew Howe worked with a small group of people with learning difficulties at the Hub to create mixed media art work for the map of communities along the route of the Cinderloo march of 1821. We took a short walk to see the Upper Pool, that supplied water to the ironworks blast furnaces, and the Old Row (originally Long Row, built from 1750s onwards) and New Row (built 1830s) of workers’ cottages. We retreated from a rain shower back to the Hub to explore printmaking, drawing and collage.
For some it was new knowledge to learn that all this history was on the doorstep of their workplace, and everyone was fascinated to hear the story. In return, it was great to hear about where people lived from all parts of Telford. Ross told us about the family coal delivery business, A Evans and Son of Madeley, which went back through his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and also about an uncle, who had a pit at The Rock near Ketley. Adrian told us about how his father moved from the Potteries in Stoke on Trent to come and work in Telford in the 1970s.
Here is a selection of some of the art work: