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The Friends of Teesside Archive have donated £6,600 to help the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum better preserve memories of the once great industry of Ironstone Mining.

For over 100 years, from the 1850s, Teesside was the powerhouse of the British Empire; mining ironstone, forging iron and shaping steel into rail lines, girders and other products necessary to move goods and people around most of the world. ‘We have evidence iron and steel products went from Cleveland and Teesside to every corner of the world, except Antarctic, unless some intrepid explorer can find a girder in the cold wastes of the Antarctic with Skinningrove, Redcar or Middlesbrough stamped on it!’ says Graham Banwell, Director of the mining museum. When the mines closed all of the records and artefacts would have been lost if not for local news reporter Tom Leonard who collected what he could and helped create the mining museum.

Such collecting has continued since the museum opened in 1983, however, cataloguing and conservation of the collection has been somewhat intermittent as keen volunteers have done what they could. Now, thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund the museum has a Collections and Engagement Officer to help remedy this situation.

‘The museum’s collection is a treasure trove of thousands of artefacts and documents relating to Teesside’s rich industrial history. I want to properly catalogue the collection and make it accessible to people to study and be proud of the region’s past’ says Alice Hanby the museum’s Collections and Engagement Officer ‘This wonderful donation will help us to buy more licences for the cataloguing programme, allowing more than one person to do this vital work at any one time. It will also pay for us to finish digitising our oral history collection and make it available for public access via the internet’. In addition to the £6,600, the Friends of Teesside Archive have donated camera equipment to aid the museum in its attempt to record all of its documents and artefacts, ultimately making the collection available to the public via the internet.

“I thank the Friends of Teesside Archive for their donation to help our work as we progress through this time of great change.’ Says Father Adam Gaunt, Chair of Trustees at the museum ‘I also wish to thank all the people who buy lottery tickets every week, without whom the National Lottery Heritage Fund would not have been able to give us a grant of £800,000 towards our redevelopment and without which we would not have a Collections Officer to make use of the money and equipment donated’

Anyone interested in volunteering to help the museum manage its collection can contact Alice Hanby on alice@ironstonemuseum.co.uk