Shropshire

Ironbridge lost cottages uncovered during works

Remains of a cottage buried by a landslip at The Jackfield
Image caption The landslip destroyed 27 cottages in the Salthouses community

The remains of cottages buried by a landslide in the Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire more than 60 years ago have been uncovered.

The landslip destroyed 27 dwellings in 1952 and reduced the width of the nearby River Severn by 15m (52ft).

The discovery was made during a £17.6m project to stabilise land between the Jackfield Tile Museum and the Boat Inn.

The work at the Unesco World Heritage Site is expected to be completed by 2016.

Image caption Archaeologists are examining the remains of six cottages

Shane Kelleher, an archaeologist with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust said they have found the remains of six cottages which were buried over "a number of weeks".

"People were just literally able to see their houses being ripped apart, and there was nothing they could do about it," he said.

The stabilising work, which began in May, involves piling, drainage, river bank protection and landscaping the area.

Image caption Engineers said the landslip in the area could dam the River Severn if they are not stopped

The remains of the cottages will be examined by archaeologists and then covered up again.

Neal Rushton, an engineer with Telford and Wrekin Council, said the lost cottages are a graphic illustration of how unstable the area is.

"We've got a vast landslide that's moving quite quickly by UK standards and if we don't do anything there's a danger we could have a failure which could actually dam the river," he said.

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