DESPITE restoration work falling two weeks behind because of the awful weather last month, renovation at Newbridge’s Institute is still on track to be completed by December 21.

All the flooring has now been taken out and an old cellar filled in, as the building is stripped back to the bare walls ready to be restored to its original design.

A ventilation shaft is also being constructed on the roof and a link building is being built to join it to the Memo next door.

The work forms phase one of the £5.6 million project to restore the grade two-listed Memo and Institute- with the money raised during an eight-year campaign backed by the Argus.

A library will be created in the Institute, which is due to open in early January.

Meanwhile, chairman Howard Stone said the tendering process has now begun for the contract to carry out the larger bulk of work on the adjoining Memo, with interviews due to start in September.

This will start next February and will see the old ballroom and cinema restored as well as community spaces created there.

The Memo and Institute were built by workers at the Celynen Collieries and a large photograph of the South Celynen Colliery has hung at County Hall, Cwmbran for over 40 years.

But, with the building now closed after Monmouthshire and Torfaen councils moved out, trustees in Newbridge are hoping it will be handed to them as a lasting memento of the men who built the Institute and Memo.

Despite the work, fundraisers are continuing, with clairvoyant Sue Clements performing there on August 15, a rock night featuring local acts on September 1 and an ACDC tribute band on September 8.