About the AIBT
The Avon Industrial Buildings Trust (AIBT) was formed in 1980 to promote the conservation of industrial monuments. It was a joint initiative between the Bristol Industrial Archaeological Society (BIAS) and the then County of Avon Conservation team. In its early years the trust was funded by the Community programme of the Manpower Services Commission. This ceased in 1988, and since then the trust has received grants from bodies such as English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund for work on specific projects. The Trust has charitable status and acts as a focus of interest in the industrial archaeology of the area. The definition of the word 'industrial' used by the trust is a broad one, which includes transport and agriculture as well as manufacturing and mining.
In the 1980s the AIBT published a booklet on the route of the Dramway and undertook exploratory excavations at the Nailsea Glassworks and Middle Engine Pit in North Somerset, the Ram Hill Colliery in South Gloucestershire, and at a number of other sites. It has also assisted in a several restoration projects, such as work on William Championís grotto at Warmley. The trustís largest project to date has been management of the restoration of the Midford Viaduct on the Somerset Coal Canal, which cost around £1 000 000 and was carried out in 2000 and 2001. During the Brunel 200 celebrations in 2006, it mounted an exhibition in partnership with the North West Bristol Camera Club entitled ĎBrunel Through the Lensí. Its aim was to introduce Bristolís industrial heritage to a wider audience through photographic images.
One of its current (2007-to date) projects is the preservation of the surface buildings at the Brandy Bottom Colliery. This is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and the AIBT's plans for conservation have to be approved in advance by Historic England. Members of the AIBT, assisted by volunteers from other organisations such as the South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group, are working on various parts of the site. Other areas, such as repairs to the top of the chimney, have had to be done by specialist masons. In 2013 the trust published the results of a historical survey on the pit.
The AIBT was the lead organisation in the early stages of the development of the long term plan for the site in Warmley where William Champion established his zinc smelter and brass works. This role has now been taken over by a separate body, Kingswood Heritage Projects (KHP), which is working with other interested parties on the plan. AIBT members were involved in major roles within the KHP in the initial stages of the project. The AIBT is no longer involved with this project.
In 2013, the AIBT joined the Bristol Swivel Bridge Group, where the AIBT, the Bristol Archaeological Society (BIAS) and the Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society (CHIS) are working in partnership on the preservation of Brunel's Swing Bridge, located by the entrance dock to Bristol's floating harbour.
The trust is a charity, No 279998, and acts as a focus of interest in the industrial archaeology of the area. It normally works with partners, such as local councils, on its conservation projects, and aims to hand over the long term running of the sites to local groups. The AIBT is also a limited company, No 1483387, which allows it to execute contracts, such as those in the restoration of the Midford Aqueduct. Many of the AIBT members are also members of the societies or groups involved with the day to day running of other restoration projects.
Joining the AIBT
The AIBT is looking for people to join us†Ė†not just those with experience in conservation work, but also those who would like to gain experience, or even those who would just like to spend time outdoors working on conservation projects. Possible areas of experience/interest include:
The AIBT does not have a formal programme of lectures, though its members do give talks to other societies.
The trustís management committee meets formally every quarter. Management of individual projects is devolved to sub-committees, who meet as and when required.
If interested, please make contact with Hamish Orr-Ewing, the AIBT Chairman, at our email address of email@example.com. He will then pass on your enquiry to the most suitable member of the management committee.
A printable copy of a leaflet about the AIBT can be downloaded by clicking on this link
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Page updated 12 Feb 17