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Often mistaken for a castle, the remains of the 19th Century engine house at Ridsdale are a visible and enigmatic reminder of Northumberland’s industrial past; a short lived venture yet with a lasting legacy. The construction of the Ridsdale Ironworks saw the creation of the settlement of Ridsdale to house workers brought into this remote area and produced pig iron used in the construction of Robert Stephenson’s High Level Bridge in Newcastle.
The engine house is a Scheduled Monument, which had serious structural issues at a number of locations requiring attention to remove this important monument from the Heritage at Risk Register. The principal aim of the project was to save this locally important monument for current and future generations.
Following repair and consolidation works, which took place in late 2018, the engine house has been saved from further deterioration and collapse. There is now better public access to the site, with a newly-created pedestrian access gate and walkway. An interpretation panel was also erected at the entrance to the site to inform visitors of the heritage and significance of this monument.
Students from Northumberland College visited the site in January 2019 to learn about the repair and consolidation process and also received a demonstration in creating traditional lime mortar mixes.