We’re a major visitor attraction, learning centre and event space that’s in development. We’re heading towards a full opening in early 2023. Between then and now there’s lots to do to get the place (and ourselves) ready.
Our main project is called ‘Brymbo: A 300 Million Year Story’. Over the coming months we’ll be talking with you about what this means and exploring how we might best communicate our massive history here in Brymbo, taking us through nature, industry and people and the effect all three have had (and continue to have) on our community.
In the meantime….here’s a short account of the journey Brymbo Heritage Group (now Brymbo Heritage Trust) has been taking over recent years.
So our project is steadily coming together. Back in 2013 we secured 3 years of funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to build the momentum for our plans to develop, for them to evolve, for them to take shape – with your involvement.
In March 2017 we secured £2 million from the National Lottery Community Fund’s Create Your Space programme to support ideas we’d worked on with residents and partners to make the ex-industrial landscapes in and around Brymbo more accessible to use as public open space, and to better connect people to them. This image shows the scope of this 7 year project – we call it ‘Roots to Shoots’:
In September 2017 we secured the first £840,000 of more than £4.9 million we’ve requested from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to establish ‘Brymbo Heritage Area’ as a mix of visitor attraction, learning centre, lettable space and events venue. This first chunk of funding is covering the costs of working out the detail, designs and costs to bring the plan to life. We hope to secure the balance in early 2020 so that we can be fully open during 2023.
The image below shows the main parts of ‘our big plan’
The fossil forest is benefitting from a grant of £128,000 from the Welsh Government’s Rural Community Development Fund. This building achieved planning consent in August 2018 and we’re on track to erect a structure to cover a section of the fossil forest over the next few months, opening later in the Summer this year, and allowing a programme of indoor excavation to then take place. The image below shows the concept we’re working with – shipping containers and funky colours to link this wonder of natural history from 300 million years ago with our living memories of the 20th century steelworks:
Take a look at our Palaeontologist’s blog page here – all you could want to know about the Fossil Forest and the mission to turn it into a world-leading citizen-led science discovery venture within our project.
February last year (2018) the National Lottery Community Fund awarded us £1.1m to restore and partially open the Machine Shop building, through their Community Asset Transfer programme. This Wales-only Lottery programme aims to help communities acquire and develop land and buildings from their current owners – and this building (as with all the others in the heritage area, the fossil forest and Lodge Valley Park) is being offered to us for £1 by landowners Brymbo Developments Ltd.
We had hoped to start work on this building earlier this year, but agreeing the legal work to enable the £1 transaction to be concluded is taking far longer than we’d expected. Consequently, we’re now looking to start work on this building in 2020. And what an amazing year that will be – for it will mark the Machine Shop’s 100th birthday, and the 30th anniversary of the steelworks closure.
Join us on an open day to find out more. Better still, be impatient and give us a call, demand to know what the crack is, and put your thoughts into the mix. Together, let’s make it even more ace.