Hard-working volunteers with the Friends of Neath Abbey Iron Company have pulled another iron from the fund-raising fire – a £9,300 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to take the project to a new level.
Part of the cash will be used to create a digital guide to the history of Neath Abbey – including not only the world-famous ironworks but the impressive remains of the Cistercian monastery close by.
And with open days, guided tours and personal presentations all off-limits while the corona virus pandemic continues, digital outreach has become an essential tool in raising awareness of the project by allowing people to visualise the ironworks at its world-beating peak – when it powered the industrial revolution of the 19th century.
Data will be posted on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and People’s Collection Wales, creating a virtual guided tour.
In addition, new interpretive panels at the ironworks will explain the history and function of the various structures and buildings on site.
The remainder of the money will be used to renovate an old BT telephone kiosk – which cost £1 – and convert it into a heritage centre at the nearby Longford housing estate where local people can, via a display book and works of art, discover the area’s history.
The artworks will be created by children of the local Dwr y Felin Comprehensive School. Other community groups such as Bryncoch Environment Group, Dyffryn Clydach Community Council, Dyffryn Clydach and Bryncoch Historic Group will also display community news, events and information in the kiosk.