Conservation

The Ironbridge Coracle Trust has been carrying out conservation of the Old Coracle Shed and of the many objects which had been inside the shed which were recently rediscovered.

Conserving the objects

Many fascinating objects which had been in the old shed were rediscovered in an old barn many miles away (long story!) When the Trust managed to bring them back to Ironbridge they needed conservation. After being sorted, photographed and prepared for storage they need to be frozen to kill any woodworm.

Conservation workshop with volunteers. Below are a selection of the items now in the Coracle Trust Collection.
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A large bench vice

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Rope and pulleys, part of river life.

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Gardening tools

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A religious painting from the house

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A strange device

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An ancient rubber ring and paint Bruch

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Odds & ends from the house

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Nicely rolled ropes

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Buckets for melting waterproofing tar

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Many saws

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Curious objects

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String for nets and household objects

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Beautiful net making tools

Click here to find out more about other Volunteering opportunities with the Trust

Repairing the Coracle Shed

In 2020, with funding from the Heritage Fund, we have been repairing and conserving the coracle shed to ensure it survives for another 100 years.

It has been a challenging time with the prolonged period of flooding back in March 2020, swiftly followed by the lockdown restrictions of Covid 19.

However we are nearing the end of the work, which has been carried out by specialist conservation contractors Messengers.

The flood waters surround the shed, with the Rogers’ family cottage to the right with its distinctive arched porch.

We were lucky that we managed to replace the decayed wooden props that supported the Coracle shed, before the floods struck. The flood waters rose nearly 20ft to just below the floor of the shed, but the new timber props stayed firm.

These sturdy timber props and braces will be stained dark brown to match the rest of the shed when the work is completed
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This photo shows how far the water rose to just below the floor of
the Coracle Shed. Compare this to the photo below.
This photo shows the depth to which the shed was flooded and why it
was built on stout timber props to raise it above the flood level.

The roof was repaired to make it watertight. The damaged roof boards were replaced and covered with sheets of marine ply covered with heavy duty rubber. The old corrugated iron sheets were securely placed on top and replaced with locally sourced identical sheets where they could not be repaired.

Replacement roof boards.
Rubber sheeting over marine ply boards beneath the corrugated iron sheeting.
Replacement corrugated iron sheets.

The conservation philosophy was to make the shed safe and secure, using materials and techniques that Harry Rogers would have used himself. Also to take care to preserve the patina and character built up over 100 years, to disguise the extensive and skilled programme of repair that has taken place.

Like the timber props, the repairs to the ventilation louvres and wooden walls of the shed will be stained to match the original weathered timber.
Extensive repairs to the ventilation louvres, once stained are now almost invisible.
The new louvres and wall repairs blend in with the original timber

The work to the stone retaining wall and brick and stone steps has been carried out by skilled stonemasons. Interestingly when they were digging out the old wall footings they discovered an old toilet cistern and mangle that had been dumped among the hard core used to build up the platform that the shed was built on. Perhaps they came from the original family cottage?

You can just make out the leg of the mangle at the far end of the wall footings.
After the wall was rebuilt the masons were able to safely remove the cistern and mangle. The blue foam protects a cast iron beam which once supported the coracle shed, but had slipped out of position.
Detail of the toilet cistern removed from the hard core behind the retaining wall.
Repairing the brick steps.

Go to the New Coracle shed