Tuesday 10 February 2015
The £1.7m Our Heritage project is part of Cadw’s £19m Heritage Tourism project, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, Gwynedd Council, Conwy County Borough Council, Snowdonia National Park Authority and further private and community partners.
The aim of the project is to foster the economic and cultural value worth of north Wales’ heritage by ensuring that visitors and local communities get a lasting experience of local heritage and history being brought to life. This has been achieved by improving the provision of interpretation and information at many sites and developing interpretation hubs across Gwynedd, Conwy and the Snowdonia National Park at various locations including Roman sites, churches and museums. The website is the main platform for all the interpretation work, where information on over 200 sites of interest, audio trails, itineraries and videos can be found.
The event was held at the Quarry Hospital, which has seen substantial investment as part of the wider Parc Padarn project. The investment includes repair work to the building and improving the exhibition to provide new and effective interactive interpretation information which will improve the visitor experience.
The Quarry Hospital was built in 1860 to provide medical care for quarrymen who worked in Dinorwig Quarry. With the new interpretation, an exhibition of pioneering 19th Century medical equipment can be seen, including one of the first X-ray machines in Britain.
The Deputy Minister said: “North West Wales is blessed with a distinctive and diverse heritage and it’s important we make the most of this, not only to help us learn more about our past, but also to make the most of the economic benefits our unique heritage brings to our local communities. Heritage is one of the motivations for many visitors to Wales and therefore plays a significant role in promoting Wales as tourist destination. The Heritage Tourism Project is about keeping our heritage tourism relevant by reinvesting in facilities and sites and making our stories engaging and inspirational, ensuring our sites remain accessible and enjoyable to all. I’m very impressed with the breadth of the project here and its range of schemes. This is an excellent example of what can be achieved through partnership working from all sectors to maximise economic potential.”
Councillor Mandy Williams-Davies, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for the Economy said: “Gwynedd has a wealth of heritage assets – from castles which are World Heritage Sites, slate quarries and medieval shrines to an inspirational landscape enriched by a thriving Welsh language culture.”
“Over the past few years, the Our Heritage project has succeeded in realising the aim of promoting the rich history of this special area to visitors and inhabitants. Early results from the research on the national project by Cardiff University’s Business School found that the key sites supported by Our Heritage attracted approximately 360,000 visitors over the year 2013-14, suggesting an estimated impact of £4.7m to the economy (Gross Value Added), supporting an estimated 187 jobs. Our Heritage has therefore laid a solid foundation for the future and for our vision of building on the area’s heritage strengths.”
Councillor Dilwyn Roberts, Leader, Conwy County Borough Council, said: “We’re delighted that the Minister joined us to celebrate the successes of the Our Heritage Project. Our Heritage is an excellent example of working together to raise awareness of our rich heritage and culture, and improve the visitor offer. The impact has been considerable, with sites supported by Our Heritage already seeing an increase of more than 40,000 additional visits. The next step is to ensure the legacy of Our Heritage by continuing to promote the project’s successes to new audiences as part of Destination Conwy.”
For more information on the celebration, contact the Our Heritage team through email EinTreftadaeth@gwynedd.gov.uk or by calling 01286 679194. To learn more about Our Heritage, go to the Snowdonia heritage website.