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Housing history for future generations

MILLIONS of scraps of Blaenau Gwent’s history have been moved into a development set to last long into the future.

The Gwent Archives, which holds millions of documents detailing every facet of the area’s history, has gone on display to the public in the refurbished General Offices at the former Steelworks site.

The move is part of the £12m refurbishment at the Grade II listed building as it moves to become a interactive genealogy and family history centre.

The work has involved restoring many of the original features back to their former glory, while the south wing’s second phase, including a 4D Cinema, a café and exhibition space, will be fully open to the public in the New Year.

Gary Tuson, County Archivist for Gwent, said: “It's wonderful to open our marvellous new facility to the public. We can now really help people to find out about Gwent's past and care for the collection in a state-of-the art facility so it is safeguarded for future generations.”

Councillor John Mason, leader of Blaenau Gwent Council said: “We are delighted to welcome Gwent Archives and its impressive collection here to Blaenau Gwent and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our partners for making this possible.

“We have a vision for the General Offices that we hope will see them as bustling with activity today as they were during the height of steel production here in Ebbw Vale.

“The General Offices has been given a new lease of life and we hope visitors from all over will come to visit and utilise the records and also find out more about the area's heavy industrial past from the enthusiastic group of volunteers at the archive trust.”

The refurbishment of the General Offices has been made possible because of a funding partnership of Welsh Government, European funding and CADW funding.

l The Ebbw Vale Steelworks Archive Trust will also now be housed in the building, and the volunteer-run organisation’s collection is a fantastic memory of the steel industry including artefacts such as tins manufactured at the steelworks, workers' passport photos and a rich collection of documents relating to the Steel Industry.

The Ebbw Vale Works Archival Trust is looking for members of the public to become involved helping to provide cover during the open period.

Volunteers would be most welcome, anyone with experience in the Works and those with an interest in local history in particular.

Contact 01495 350941 or ask at reception.

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