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MS supports calls for new museum in Neath

09 Mar 2023 3 minute read
Sioned Williams outside the old Neath Library

Sioned Williams, Plaid Cymru MS for South Wales West, has backed calls for a new museum to be located in the old Neath Library.

Local historical artifacts were previously displayed at Gwyn Hall but following the building’s renovation, much of the collection was placed in storage and is no longer on public display.

The wider county borough is also served by Cefn Coed Colliery Museum, which is temporarily closed, the South Wales Miners Museum, and Margam Stones Museum.

Previously the area also hosted the 1940s Museum, the Welsh Area Fire Engine Restoration Society’s Museum of Fire, and the iconic Baked Bean Museum of Excellence.

Property review

Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council are currently undertaking a review of all properties they own or lease, with the aim of reducing running and maintenance costs.

The council has also recently consulted on their draft Cultural Strategy, which outlines their vision of Neath Port Talbot becoming “a nationally recognised destination with a reputation for high quality and varied offer of arts, heritage and culture.”

Recently, a petition launched calling for the old Neath Library to be used to house a museum for the town and it quickly gained hundreds of signatures.

Sioned Williams, whose Senedd office is in Neath Town Centre, said: “Neath and its surrounding communities have a long, rich and colourful history.

“Few areas can boast of Palaeolithic sites, a Roman fort, Norman castle, Cistercian abbey and Tudor mansion, as well as a wide range of industrial sites and links to key figures from each period.”

“On top of that we have a rich cultural and sporting history too, with acting legends, as well as football and rugby icons coming from the area. Any other town with such an expansive legacy would have a museum dedicated towards telling this story.”

“I back the call to use the old Neath Library as a Museum 100%, and have written to Neath Port Talbot Council to ask what their plans are for the old library, and to voice my support for a museum. In their response, they told me that the future use of the old museum has not yet been decided.

“I believe Neath and the surrounding area would benefit greatly from a town centre museum, which could tell the remarkable and unique history of Neath to both residents and visitors, and I urge the council to use the centrally located and historic library building to do so. If that building is not suitable, then I hope it is retained for community usage and that a suitable venue is identified in the near future.”

The old Neath library in Victoria Gardens, was built in 1904, but was vacated earlier this year following the opening of the multi-million Neath leisure centre development, which is also home to a new library.

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

What a good idea and a wake-up call for philistine Cardiff…

All Black
All Black
1 year ago

Neath is slowly losing all its identity.
In recent years the council was merged with Port Talbot.
Neath General Hospital closed
Then the town was robbed of what made it most famous, top class rugby.
Now it’s to lose it’s parliamentary seat.
Time for the people of Neath to stand up for the town before tt becomes little more than urban sprawl between Port Talbot and Swansea.

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