Monday, 6 June 2016

Blaenavon Workman's Hall and Community Museum

Out and About in Torfaen

I had my first invite as deputy mayor last week, to the official opening of the Blaenavon Community Museum in its new home at the Workmen's Hall. The Hall itself is a gorgeous building, opened in 1895 and still in active community use. The Blaenavon Community Heritage and Cordell Museum - to give it its full title - originally opened in 2002 in the bottom of the library building on Lion Street.

When the library relocated to the Heritage Centre, the Workmen's Hall seemed a natural move for the community museum, as closely entwined with Blaenavon's industrial and social heritage as it is. The volunteer run museum showcases the lives of the men and women who made the construction of the hall possible, and just last month was awarded Full Accreditation Status from the Arts Council and Welsh Government.

On Friday we celebrated with cake:

(Luckily Nick thought to take a photo, I was too busy eating mine!)

The  museum collection has been cherry picked to fill the display space, with plans to change exhibits from time to time. There are silver cups from the chapels, and theatre programmes and tickets for shows put on in the Hall in the 1950s. Ornately carved chairs gifted to the Workmen's Hall and a huge white ensign flag a Blaenavon man managed to keep hidden during his time in a Japanese POW camp.

I particularly loved the section on the lives of children in Blaenavon. There are old toys and plenty of old school photos - complete with the obligatory blinkers and blurrers - above an old school desk. There is even a 'well used' school cane!

Display case at Blaenavon Community Museum showcasing the life of children

Further along the corridor a separate room houses the Alexander Cordell collection. Cordell's desk is set up with lots of his personal effects, and it's really cool to see the scene where bestsellers were written.


If you want to check out the museum for yourself, it's open 10am - 4pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 10am - 1pm on Saturday. Entrance is £2 for adults and free for under 16s. For more information check out the museum's Visit Blaenavon page, or give them a like on Facebook.





32 comments:

  1. I love looking at old toys, I love the rocking horse! It's a shame it's too far to travel too, because it sound like a really interesting place! #KCACOLS

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    1. If you get the chance, Blaenavon is a great place to visit - you've also got an ironworks, Big Pit coal museum, a brewery tour and a small steam railway line about 10 mins drive from each other!

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  2. That rocking chair reminds me of our Dobbin which is in my daughter's room :) It's been in my husband's family for generations :) Looks like a fun event! :)

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    1. Aw, that's so cute! My old rocking horse is in my granddad's attic - I can't believe my daughter is nearly big enough for us to get it down for her already!

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  3. I love looking at old toys, it is so lovely for our children to experience the things that use to keep children occupied. It looks a lovely day out x

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    1. Blaenavon really is a great day out because there's so much to see - you have little community museums like this one, then just up the road is Big Pit and the old Ironworks. x

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  4. What a lovely invite, and free cake! Looks fun!

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  5. I would have been too busy eating the cake too to take picture lol. Sounds like a lovely museum

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  6. Sounds like a great museum I've been to something like this with old toys before.

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    1. There are some nice exhibits at St. Fagans too x

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  7. Right on my doorstep!Awesome,I'm always looking for new things to do with the kids x #kcacols

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  8. It is always good to celebrate with cake haha! The Alexander collection looks very exciting!

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    1. Hehe, it's never a bad time for cake!

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  9. Cool, it's so interesting to look around in the museum. I love old toys - it's crazy how we've moved on so quickly and dramatically too. PS Cupcake looks delish too ;)

    Alina from The Fairytale Pretty Picture

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    1. I know - we were talking about landline phones the other day, and how Marianna will probably have no idea what they even are!

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  10. Sounds like an interesting museum. Like that you captured it on with the photos.

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  11. What a lovely idea for a museum and I adore the rocking horse, how precious x

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  12. What an interesting museum to visit - I always wanted a rocking horse

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  13. Interesting Museum, the cupcake looks absolutely amazing.

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  14. What blast from the past I remember having a similar rocking horse similar to the one in the picture #kcacols

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  15. Congratulations on your appointment as Deputy Mayor. That is very exciting. I love to see places like this being brought to life. I hope it gets lots of visitors. #KCACOLS

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    1. Aw, thank you! It's been really fun so far. :)

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  16. What a great idea to bring to life an old museum. Those old toys are fascinating! Congratulations my lovely for the new role. Wow! Deputy Mayor. Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. It is always a pleasure to have you! Hope to see you again tomorrow. Not long now to co-host with you again! :-) xx

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    1. It was definitely my favourite section of the museum, but they had lots of other exhibits too - including a prize Victorian cockerel in a big glass case! And thank you! :3 It's been really interesting so far, so fingers crossed I get re-elected next year and get to be the actual mayor too :) x

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