The British Ironworks Centre is 10 minutes from Pen-y-Dyffryn Hotel, near Oswestry. Also housing the Shropshire Sculpture Park, the Centre has a forge, silversmiths and a bric-a-brac shop. The Centre is famous for its safari park of sculptures (mostly in metal) and its gorilla, made entirely of spoons. On site, the Centre also has a shop, café, clock repairer and falconry.
In 2013, illusionist Uri Geller commissioned the Centre to create a 12 ft (3.7 m) high gorilla from spoons sent in from around the world.Initially 6,000 spoons were donated from across the globe including one that used to belong to Winston Churchill. When the project was complete the final tally was 40,000 spoons from as far afield as China, India, Kenya, Armenia and Tahiti . Whilst Geller commissioned the piece, it was funded by the Ironworks Centre.
The gorilla sculpture was created by sculptor Alfie Bradley over 5 months and was unveiled by Prince Michael of Kent in 2014. The sculpture was taken to Uri Geller’s house in the same year, but is now on display back at the Centre.
In 2014, Alfie Bradley and the British Ironworks Centre, launched a new incentive called the ‘Save a Life, Surrender Your Knife’ campaign. They encouraged a knife amnesty in conjunction with local police forces across the United Kingdom to enable them to build/sculpt an angel statue that will be 20 ft (6.1 m) high when completed. Many knives were sent in with at least one consignment containing explosives that were packaged incorrectly. This necessitated Ministry of Defence bomb disposal personnel being called out and performing a controlled explosion!
Relatives of those killed by knife crime have been invited to engrave blades as part of the sculpture. The work is nearing completion and is set to include 100,000 knives, blades, swords and other weapons used in violent crime from across 43 Police Forces in the United Kingdom. A campaign is underway to have the finished sculpture installed at Trafalgar Square in London. Clive Knowles, chairman of the British Ironworks Centre criticised 6 police forces across England and Wales from not getting involved with the project. So far, 37 forces have responded to the request and sent knives in to the centre from amnesties held across their force’s boundaries. The Home Office said that it supported the project, but participation was down to each individual force to decide for themselves.
The centre and the sculptor (Alfie Bradley has been a victim of knife crime himself) have been criticized by some relatives of the victims of knife crime, but have also been praised by others.The sculpture is one of hundreds that have been nominated in 2018 for listed status.