Room to Grow is a transformative project for the East Cleveland communities of Loftus and Skinningrove; neighbourhoods that have experienced high levels of deprivation, unemployment and poor health as the area has faced huge challenges with the loss of its mining, iron and steel industries. Land of Iron is the only museum in the world dedicated to the ironstone mining industry on the site of Loftus Mine; the first to be opened in the region and one of the last to close. Its extensive collection of mining artefacts and unique documents celebrates the internationally important Cleveland ironstone mining story. Many local residents, volunteers and visitors have family connections to the mine and the museum benefits from strong community support and pride in their heritage.
Following four years of closure for development, the Museum has reopened as the Land of Iron, a new experiential destination highlight for East Cleveland, which weaves the history and heritage of ironstone mining and the mining communities into its distinctive landscape context, from hillside to sea. It consolidates RCBC’s investment and regeneration programme in Loftus town centre and underpins the museum’s significance as a community asset and a heritage tourism driver.
Three Winning Facts:
- Rescue of a faltering project by a dedicated professional team who in the face of many challenges used their high-level management skills to deliver a first-class project that delivers the brief.
- Provision of exceptional value for money, within budget, despite the cost pressures of Brexit, a pandemic, significant rise in material costs and high brownfield site development costs.
- Delivery of a community engagement project that is part of a deliberate strategy by RCBC to improve community facilities in a deprived region. The project has also delivered significant cultural value of its industrial heritage in its setting, community, and environment.