Welsh tenacity is rewarded by HLF
It is five years since the Newbridge Institute & Memorial Hall in Gwent, Wales, lost in the UK final of BBC-TV's Restoration programme (www.bbc.co.uk/history/programmes/restoration/2004/wales_newbridge_memorial_hall_01.shtml). Like so many community based restoration groups they are a tenacious bunch and now all their hard work to date has been rewarded in the form of a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £129,600 towards the cost of preparing a development plan which may help save the 'Newbridge Memo'. Built in 1925 to commemorate those in the local community who had given their lives in the First World War, it houses the largest ball room in the South Wales valleys and has a magnificent art deco auditorium.
Newbridge Memo's art deco auditorium, which Newbridge Institute & Memorial Hall wants to restore with all its 'faded charm'. © Deryck Lewis.
The Institute & Memorial Hall already provides a meeting place and other facilities for twenty local groups and societies, as well as promoting community activity and music events, attracting up to 35,000 visitors a year. They now have up to two years to submit more detailed plans and apply for a further £2.8million so that they can go ahead with their ambitious restoration project, which will cost an estimated £3.8million. The proposed plans will involve the complete restoration of the Memorial Hall, including the auditorium, its stage and painted interior but retaining its faded charm, as well as improving access through a new link block. An important part of the whole project will be to develop it as a centre for heritage learning, to help promote the understanding of the rich social, heritage and memorial aspects of the building.
Howard Stone, Chair of the Newbridge Institute & Memorial Hall says 'We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given this initial support for the project. The Memorial Hall is not some crumbling monument to the wealth and privilege of a by-gone age. Its very existence proves that ordinary people can become truly extraordinary through vision, generosity and sheer determination. The same community, with the same sense of civic pride, that brought it into being is trying desperately to save this people’s palace of the valleys. We have been given a helping hand in the first step towards saving this building and now need the people’s support to ensure that its heritage is saved for future generations'.
For more information contact Howard Stone, Chair, Newbridge Institute & Memorial Hall, High Street Newbridge, Gwent NP11 4FH, tel: 01495 243252, email: email@example.com. There is also an active 'Friends of Newbridge Memo' group, who have the same contact details as Howard Stone and an excellent website at www.newbridgememo.com/.
19 August 2009