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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Worktown: The Drawings of Falcon Hildred

The Oakeley Gash, 1974
A panorama of the terraced working of the Oakeley slate quarries, seen as one enters Blaenau Ffestiniog from the north over the Crimea Pass. To the left are the terraced houses of Tal-y-Waenydd, and beyond them are the Llechwedd quarries and slate mill.
© Crown: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, Falcon Hildred Collection,
FHA 01/08/02, NPRN 404307

A team of curators, volunteers and archivists from the Royal Commission and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust have been working together in preparation for a remarkable new exhibition of the work of artist Falcon Hildred which will open at the Coalbrookdale Gallery in the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site on the 5th October.

Falcon Hildred is a highly accomplished artist who has dedicated his working life to recording the buildings and landscapes of nineteenth-and twentieth-century industry, producing works of high aesthetic, historic and social value. He has recorded in detail technological and engineering change and a rapidly disappearing way of life. The Commission, working in partnership with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, acquired his unique collection of over 600 original drawings of industrial buildings and landscapes earlier this year. The upcoming exhibition makes this iconic collection available for the first time.

Our Secretary, Peter Wakelin explains that “Falcon Hildred’s lifetime’s work amounts to a unique record of working-class culture and industrial landscapes. The collection is a superb resource for anyone interested in this heritage, much of which has disappeared since Falcon documented it. This first exhibition and the book accompanying it will make lots more people aware of his work and the fascinating history it stands for.”

Jennifer Stewart, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales said, “Wales is renowned worldwide for its industrial heritage and the acquisition of this collection has meant that this past can be shared in a unique way.  We are really pleased that so many volunteers have been involved in the project and that these very special drawings and watercolours are now going to be seen by so many people”.

The free to enter exhibition will be located in the Coalbrookdale Gallery at Ironbridge Gorge Museum, and will be open 10am – 5pm, Monday to Friday from 5th October 2012 to 20 April 2013. Please call 01952 433424 or visit for more details.

Cardiff Prison, 1986
Cardiff was commissioned after the earlier Cardiff Gaol was deemed insufficient to cope with the likely prison needs of the rapidly expanding industrial town. It was opened at the end of 1832 with room to house eighty prisoners and twenty debtors
© Crown: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, Falcon Hildred Collection,
FHA 02/66, NPRN 3072

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