Practical Days

Normally held around April each year, these are informal meetings looking at various topics relevant to those active in industrial archaeology. In the past these events were known as ‘Affiliated Societies Weekends’ and ‘Ironbridge Weekends’.

The next Association for Industrial Archaeology Practical Day is on 8th April 2017 from 10:00 until 16:30

The GF Williams Room, The Long Warehouse, opposite The Museum of Iron, Coalbrookdale TF8 7DQ

The focus will be the iron industry. This one-day workshop will look to provide introductory practical training and a broad understanding of the processes used and the buildings utilised in the historic iron industry.

The day will begin with a short introductory talk at Coalbrookdale focussing on processes, structures and landscapes, which will be followed by a walking tour which will take in the Old Furnace at Coalbrookdale, Bedlam Furnaces, and Blists Hill Blast Furnaces, and relevant sites of interest in between, developing upon the points raised in the introduction and working towards the aims and outcomes of the day.

The workshop will be led by Richard Hayman, an archaeologist and historian who is an expert on the historic iron industry, with assistance from local and not so local AIA members.

Transport  / parking / accommodation

There is ample parking outside the Museum of Iron in Coalbrookdale, for which there is a £3 all day charge. The nearest railway station is Telford, which is approximately 5 miles away. Local bus services and taxis are available outside the station. For more information call 08457 484950 or go to

If you are planning to stay, there is a variety of accommodation available in Ironbridge ranging from B & B to Hotels. Contact the Tourist Information Centre, Ironbridge, Tel: 01952 433424, or go to

Lunch and clothing

Tea and coffee will be provided on arrival, and delegates are advised to bring a packed lunch with them for the walking tour (there are a number of shops en-route so if you forget your lunch don’t worry!). Please dress appropriately for the weather conditions, and remember to wear comfortable and waterproof footwear. The walk (c.5.5km) will mainly be on footpaths/designated walking trails and will include a relatively steep hill. Transport will be provided back to Coalbrookdale for those who require it.


Book here through Eventbrite:

Last year’s Practical Day was:

Speaking Up for Industrial Archaeology

April 23rd 2016, Ironbridge Institute, Coalbrookdale

In the current economic climate of heritage funding cuts and cuts to local authority archaeology and conservation services, historic industrial sites, buildings and collections are arguably more at risk than they have been since the 1970s. At the same time there is an increasing focus on local decision-making through local plans and new community powers.
The AIA therefore held a one day workshop at the Ironbridge Institute,  on April 23rd 2016 on the challenges and practicalities speaking up for industrial archaeology at a local scale.

This workshop explored why it is more important now than ever that local groups speak up for industrial archaeology, and what groups and societies can practically do to support and protect industrial archaeology in their local area.

The workshop included contributions from national organisations that support local advocacy, including the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), Civic Voice and the Industrial Heritage Support Programme, as well as a number of local case studies from voluntary groups who are working to protect a range of different industrial sites, including archaeological sites, industrial buildings and museums.

There were practical sessions, and a feedback and discussion session which looked at issues such as the challenges of speaking up for industrial archaeology and what support currently exists for groups who want to help to protect and raise awareness of industrial archaeology in their local area.

Read how the day played out on Twitter

Following from the workshop, Rob Lennox from the Council for British Archaeology  (CBA) has produced a resources sheet of useful advocacy resources/web links for community groups who want to speak up for industrial heritage in their local areas.

Download the resource sheet ( pdf 366kb )

Some other past meetings were:

2014 – Lime in Historic Landscapes and Buildings

2007 – Characteristics and Forms of Road Transport

2006 – The Brewing Industry

2005 – Railway Structures

2000 – What should we do with our records?