Milestone reached in £5.6m restoration of Newbridge Memo
A £5.6 million project to restore Newbridge Memorial Hall and Institute has reached a key milestone.
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.
This week marked the completion of the building’s slate roof.
Howard Stone, chair of the ‘Memo’ Trustees, said: “This event is a milestone in what has been a nine-year endeavour to restore these wonderful buildings.
“They were originally built by the huge efforts and small contributions of the local miners, somewhere that the local community could meet and enjoy the facilities provided. 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 £5.6m building project forms a major part of a wider £12 million regeneration of Newbridge Town Centre by Caerphilly County Borough Council.
Cllr Harry Andrews, leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to be working so closely alongside the Memo Trustees to bring about the wonderful transformation of this historic venue. A small group of dedicated volunteers have been instrumental in driving this long-awaited regeneration programme forward, and I greatly look forward to seeing the phase one completion of these landmark buildings over the coming months.”
The Memo restoration scheme is being funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, the Welsh Government’s Targeted Match Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Big Lottery, CADW, Trustees of the Institute and Memo and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.
On the ground floor contractors Seddon will create an information resource centre which is will be leased to Caerphilly County Borough Council, while the first floor will house multipurpose community rooms, a function room, meeting rooms and a Royal Air Forces Association office.
A new extension will also be built linking the two buildings and providing a new main entrance to the complex as well as a staff office, new toilets and two passenger lifts.
The first phase of the restoration, including stonework repairs, is due to be completed in December 2012.
The Institute opened in 1908 and included a billiards room, library, committee room and reading room. The Memo – which had a ballroom and cinema – was opened in 1925 as a memorial to local servicemen who died during the First World War.
Grant Millar, business unit manager for Seddon Construction, said: “This is a building which has played a central part in the history of Newbridge and that’s been reflected in the dedicated and long community campaign which has brought about its restoration. The entire construction team is delighted to be helping to reinstate the Memo and Institute and ensure that this cherished local landmark is back at the very heart of the community which originally built it.”Follow @CaerphillyObsvr