The Iron Duke is getting closer to home!


The Iron Duke calender machineThe project to bring the Iron Duke back home to Bradford has just taken two big steps forward. We have heard that we have been awarded £55,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund and another £18,000 by the PRISM Fund (it stands for the Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material), an Arts Council fund which is administered by the Science Museum in London.

The Duke is a big machine that was made in 1849 as part of setting up the rubber industry in Bradford and so is an important part of Bradford’s -and national- industrial history. It was constructed, in Bristol and Bilston, Staffordshire to plans that were came from America when Stephen Moulton crossed the Atlantic to set up his pioneering rubber works here with backing from Charles Goodyear. When it returns it will be the biggest -certainly the heaviest- object in Bradford on Avon’s collection.

The money will be used to conserve and protect the Duke, which has been sitting in pieces in the former Bristol Industrial Museum since 1972, and to build a shelter for it in Kingston Road, not far from where it worked for over a century. There will also be money for a variety of events built around its return, so watch this website for more news.

Gaining these funds has largely been down to the hard work of the Museum Society’s Chairman, Mervyn Harris, on behalf of a consortium of the Museum, Bradford Preservation Trust and BoACAN Bradford Community Area Network.

We still need £20,000 to bring the project to its conclusion, so will be continuing to raise funds.

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