A special ceremony will take place today to mark restoration work undertaken so far on the historic Newbridge Memorial Hall and Institute.
The ‘Memo’, as it is known locally, and the adjoining Institute are being revamped in a £5.6 million project.
With contributions given by the town’s miners, both buildings were built as somewhere that the local community could meet and use the facilities.
The Memo, which included a ballroom and cinema, was built in 1924 as a memorial to local servicemen who died during the First World War.
Meanwhile the Institute, which opened in 1908, included a billiards room, library, committee room and reading room.
Howard Stone, chair of the Memo trustees, described today’s topping out ceremony as a ‘milestone’ in the project so far.
– Howard Stone, chair of the Memo trustees
These buildings were originally built by the huge efforts and small contributions of the local miners. It should be recognised that the efforts of today's community volunteers are following this ethos. Through their dedicated work, and together with the support of the various funding bodies and our partnership with Caerphilly County Borough Council, Newbridge will once again have a superb facility, restored and run by the local community volunteers
The work forms part of the ongoing £12 million regeneration of Newbridge town centre by Caerphilly County Borough Council.
Contractors Seddon Construction began work in January 2012 on the restoration scheme - designed by Alwyn Jones Architects - for the Grade II-listed Institute and Grade II- listed Memo.
Work proposed so far includes:
- Internal refurbishment of the Institute
- New information and resource centre
- Multipurpose community rooms
- Extension linking the two buildings
- Brick and stonework repairs
- New roof and cleaning of the exterior
The first phase of the restoration is due to be completed in December.
– Grant Millar, business unit manager for Seddon Construction
These buildings have played a central part in the history of Newbridge, and that's been reflected in the dedicated community campaign which has brought about their restoration. The entire construction team is delighted to be helping to reinstate the Memo and Institute and ensure that these cherished local landmarks are back at the very heart of the community that originally built them.
Mining came to an end in the Newbridge area in the 1980s, with Celynen South Colliery closing in 1985, followed by Celynen North in 1989.
The scheme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, Welsh Government's Targeted Match Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Big Lottery, CADW, Trustees of the Institute and Memo and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, amongst others.