Blaenavon Ironworks interpretation project acknowledged at the 2015 Discover Heritage awards

Monday 02 November 2015

A project to introduce new interpretation at Blaenavon Ironworks, titled ‘Blaenavon Ironworks, a landscape re:imagined’was named runner up at the AHI Discover Heritage awards earlier this month.

  • Picture of the Cast House in Blaenavon Ironworks

    Cast House in Blaenavon Ironworks

  • Picture of a cast iron model of the Ironworks

    Cast iron model of the Ironworks

  • Picture of the Stack Square cottages

    Stack Square cottages

  • Picture of the Stack Square cottages

    Stack Square cottages

  • Picture of the Stack Square cottages

    Stack Square cottages

  • Picture of the Stack Square cottages

    Stack Square cottages

The project, a collaboration between Cadw and Bright 3D, has brought the sights and sounds of the ironworks to life for visitors.

The Association for Heritage Interpretation awards aim to reward excellence in cultural and natural heritage interpretation in Britain and Ireland. The site was nominated in the landscapes, forests, nature reserves, parks and gardens category.

New features introduced at the World Heritage Site include  signage, a children’s trail and audio-visual displays. An immersive sound and light experience was also developed in the casting house to explain the iron-making process that made Blaenavon famous. A model of the ironworks is also on display, which enables visitors to understand the scale of the ironworks during its peak. Improvements were also made to footpaths, landscaping and fencing, to improve visitor access and ‘flow’ around the historic site. Finally, the four cottages used for the popular BBC Coal House series have been re-dressed with authentic furniture and fittings to depict workers’ cottages throughout their use from the 1840’s to the 1960’s.

This project formed part of Cadw’s £19 million Heritage Tourism Project which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government.

The site’s transformation has already led to an increase in the number of visitors and economic impact of the World Heritage Site.

The AHI Discover Heritage Awards are the only UK and Irish awards to recognise excellence in all types and sizes of heritage interpretation whether held in museums, historic buildings, visitor centres or any type of outdoor location. Any form of media is suitable including exhibition, print, digital, art or live. An eligible project can be small or large. Whether it is a new leaflet or a million-pound visitor centre (or anything in between), the awards celebrate projects that best meet their interpretive aims and successfully communicate their key messages to their audiences.

The full list of winners, runners up and commended entries can be found on the AHI website.