Ebbw Vale landmark could be family history centre

South Wales Argus: SITE: The steelworks general offices in Ebbw Vale SITE: The steelworks general offices in Ebbw Vale

A VALLEYS landmark is set to be transformed into a £12 million family history and genealogy visitor centre.

Plans to refurbish the historic General Offices at the former Ebbw Vale steelworks into a top historical visitor’s attraction will include the relocation of the Gwent Records Office, which has one of the largest archives in Wales.

The priceless collection, which covers five kilometres of shelving at its current home in Cwmbran, has records dating back to the 1300s and will form the cornerstone of the unique history and genealogy centre.

A new purpose-built, environmentally controlled extension will be built at the General Offices to house the archives, which forms part of the larger regeneration of The Works project as a whole.

The new centre, which is set to open in 2010, will feature the latest in interactive technology including a digital newspaper archive, photos, maps and films as well as multi-touch surfaces, interactive games and a 3D cinema.

Deputy minister Leighton Andrews, who announced the plans yesterday, said family history was a growing industry and the new centre would provide visitors with the opportunity to trace their ancestors, which is one of the fastest growing pastime in the western world.

He said: “The new centre will be able to offer much more than merely access to records and data - the vast store of easily accessible information will also enable people to paint a picture of the world their ancestors lived in and provide a snapshot of Welsh history”.

Councillor Des Hillman, leader of Blaenau Gwent council, said: “How fitting that the new General Offices will bring the very latest 21st century digital technology here to help regenerate Blaenau Gwent which was at the heart of the industrial revolution and a pioneering centre for steel making technology.

“The restoration of this landmark building is a major step forward for our exciting partnership project to redevelop the whole of The Works: Ebbw Vale progressively over the next few years.”

Comments (8)

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12:26pm Tue 10 Feb 09

Gwent says...

Gwent records: 1974 -> 1996
Gwent records: 1974 -> 1996 Gwent

12:31pm Tue 10 Feb 09

Ricci says...

Another waste of money.
Another waste of money. Ricci

12:37pm Tue 10 Feb 09

Owain Vaughan says...

Monmouthshire records should have been kept in Newport Shire Hall. Splitting up sets of records and moving them around from place to place does them no good. We now have a mish-mash of Records Offices, some of which deal with counties as a whole and some deal with local authority boundaries, and as for the "Gwent" records office...

A genealogist's nightmare
Monmouthshire records should have been kept in Newport Shire Hall. Splitting up sets of records and moving them around from place to place does them no good. We now have a mish-mash of Records Offices, some of which deal with counties as a whole and some deal with local authority boundaries, and as for the "Gwent" records office... A genealogist's nightmare Owain Vaughan

1:08pm Tue 10 Feb 09

Stonebridge says...

Ricci wrote:
Another waste of money.
Why?
[quote][p][bold]Ricci[/bold] wrote: Another waste of money.[/p][/quote]Why? Stonebridge

1:33pm Tue 10 Feb 09

Owain Vaughan says...

I guess moving them around all the time is a waste of money. Note that Caernarvonshire records office is still in Caernarvon and Merionethshire recods office is still in Dollgellau. What have we done? Mixed a whole bunch of Glamorgan and Breconshire records in, renamed it "Gwent" and moved them around. Kind of defeats the purpose of historical records doesn't it?
I guess moving them around all the time is a waste of money. Note that Caernarvonshire records office is still in Caernarvon and Merionethshire recods office is still in Dollgellau. What have we done? Mixed a whole bunch of Glamorgan and Breconshire records in, renamed it "Gwent" and moved them around. Kind of defeats the purpose of historical records doesn't it? Owain Vaughan

1:23am Wed 11 Feb 09

Alecs Casnewydd says...

..."former Ebbw Vale steelworks into a top historical visitor’s attraction"

Who is this single visitor?
..."former Ebbw Vale steelworks into a top historical visitor’s attraction" Who is this single visitor? Alecs Casnewydd

9:54am Mon 16 Feb 09

GaryTuson says...

The Gwent Record Office was established in 1938 as the Monmouthshire Record Office. It provides
the statutory archive service to 5 unitary authorities and is part of a network of local
authority archive services covering the whole of Wales. Its exists to collect, preserve and
make accessible archives relating to the area it serves. Currently the Record Office is based in County Hall,
Cwm Bran. This project will ensure that this unique Collection of documents is accessible to all for generations to come.
The Gwent Record Office was established in 1938 as the Monmouthshire Record Office. It provides the statutory archive service to 5 unitary authorities and is part of a network of local authority archive services covering the whole of Wales. Its exists to collect, preserve and make accessible archives relating to the area it serves. Currently the Record Office is based in County Hall, Cwm Bran. This project will ensure that this unique Collection of documents is accessible to all for generations to come. GaryTuson

11:25am Mon 16 Feb 09

Jane D says...

Well I think it's a fantastic idea, speaking as a former Monmouthshire/Gwent resident who now lives in England and is very keen on genealogy. "Ricci" is very short-sighted if he thinks it is a waste of money. This facility will boost local businesses such as hotels and shops as well, as people will come from afar to visit the office.
Well I think it's a fantastic idea, speaking as a former Monmouthshire/Gwent resident who now lives in England and is very keen on genealogy. "Ricci" is very short-sighted if he thinks it is a waste of money. This facility will boost local businesses such as hotels and shops as well, as people will come from afar to visit the office. Jane D
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