Dear David and Carolyn
Thanks for agreeing to meet us to discuss the Cinderloo 1821 project.
We thought it might be helpful to set out some thoughts from the group ahead of the meeting for you to consider.
You will be aware that we have been in correspondence with the council leader for some time about the project and have been grateful for the support that he has given in particular backing our lottery bid to fund the work that we are undertaking with local schools to make young people in the borough aware of this part of our town’s history.
As you are also aware, we made representations to Shaun to suggest that the new railway footbridge be named the Cinderloo bridge to recognise the significant location that it spans both physically and metaphorically in connecting Telford’s past with its future. We are disappointed that the name was not selected for inclusion in the public competition that is currently underway and believe a significant opportunity has been lost to raise local and national attention to the significance of Telford’s heritage beyond the iron bridge.
We have started a petition, which has received a very positive reception from local history and heritage groups to have the name included and there is significant cross party support on social media for the campaign which we are very pleased to see. We recognise however, that there is significant discontent about the bridge generally given its poor design that has been specifically criticised by local disability groups and by some of our own members who believe that the £10m could have been used more effectively to repair the old footbridge, investing in improving disability access, promoting walking generally in our town and to make the Telford Central station more welcoming through community involvement as has been demonstrated recently by the successful work carried out with Network Rail by the Friends of Wellington Station .
We are therefore withdrawing our request to have the name included and wish you luck with gaining public support for the names you have put forward for selection.
Instead we would like to suggest 4 other ideas which we would like the council to consider.
1. Name the bridge which currently crosses the line at what is now central park, but which was formally Hollinswood, the ‘Tom Palin’ bridge in recognition of Tom who lived nearby. He was hung following the riots and although many people called for his pardon at the time has never been recognised in the town for his bravery and sacrifice.
2. Work with the Granville Boys to erect a permeant memorial in the town park to recognise the estimated 740 men and women who lost their lives in mining related incidents between 1840 and 1978 in the area. The memory of these people has again been largely wiped from the history of the town and we believe deserves significant recognition
3. Join with us as we approach the 200thanniversary to encourage parish and town councils, voluntary, community and school groups to prepare a significant public event to mark the anniversary for which we plan to submit a bid to the Arts council to support
4. Work with the many local history and heritage groups in the town to celebrate Telford’s history outside of the Ironbridge Gorge. We believe the museum has created a local myth for the new town that the bridge and the industries located in the gorge were the only contributors to the industrial revolution. The many significant industrial works and indeed the thousands of people and communities whose ancestors worked in the coal, iron and brick industries have had their heritage stolen from them by the development corporation and the Iron Bridge Gorge Museum Trust. It is time to right this wrong
We look forward to discussing these ideas with you when we meet and look forward to receiving your support and that of your fellow Cabinet members to what we believe is a cause that the whole town can unite behind.
Chair – Cinderloo 1821