Valleys heritage preserved by Cadw

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Valleys heritage preserved by Cadw

Valleys heritage preserved by Cadw

Cadw has purchased a unique heritage asset in Cwmdare, in the heart of the south Wales valleys, which will give locals and visitors a rare insight into the life of a small mining community in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Minister for Heritage and Regeneration, Huw Lewis, will officially be handed the keys of 3 David Street in Cwmdare at the property today, Tuesday 24th July.  The property is unique in that it has remained almost completely unaltered inside and out since it was built in 1854. Cadw will carry out sympathetic improvements to the building but it will be preserved in its original form as a rare example of what a Valleys house was like when it was first built and lived in.  

Many people recognise the importance of listed buildings and conservation areas and understand that care must be taken to ensure that traditional materials are used in their repair and maintenance. However, many of buildings in the south Wales Valleys have suffered decades of alterations which mean the distinctiveness of our Valleys towns is at risk of being diluted or lost completely.

The Cadw building will also become a learning resource for those who work or live in traditional Valleys housing in Wales. The project aims to promote understanding of the importance of retaining the character and history of Valleys housing. It will also provide practical advice on technical issues such as thermal performance to demonstrate that keeping original features in good repair really does pay, environmentally and economically.

Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, Huw Lewis said: 'At a mere 158 years old, this Valleys terraced house is the youngest building in our collection of 128 historic buildings across Wales. It is also one of the smallest but it is nonetheless very important. We are excited about this unique project as it is vital to help preserve the special character of the south Wales Valleys. By helping Valleys residents and those working in the sector to think about the history of the buildings, we hope to restore pride and create a sense of ownership which will help maintain the overall heritage of this important area.

'As well as showcasing the potential green benefits of sympathetic repair and improvement credentials, we will ensure all the traditional skills used in the repair of the house will be used as learning and training for others to maintain these skills for the future.'

This is particularly relevant in Wales as it has more traditional buildings as a proportion to the total building stock than any other home nation, and in that sense you could say it has more heritage or at least you can see built heritage almost everywhere.  Traditional buildings are categorised as those built before 1919 and characterised with solid masonry walls. In Wales 34% of the building stock is traditionally built, compared to 22% in England, 20% in Scotland, 16% in Northern Ireland and incidentally only 10% in the Republic of Ireland.

The house will be open to the general public through a booking system to avoid overcrowding once the necessary works have been completed.