We are volunteers who are campaigning to rescue and restore our heritage here in Merthyr Tydfil and South Wales.
Merthyr Tydfil Heritage Trust was set up in the 1970s to save historic buildings and sites from demolition and dereliction. Merthyr Tydfil had a poor record of heritage conservation over the previous decades.
A turning point came with the rescue of Dowlais Stables – an historic listed building that had suffered years of decay. A last gasp effort from the Heritage Trust’s volunteers and local councillors persuaded Merthyr Tydfil’s local council to halt the bulldozers in their tracks.
Thanks to the Heritage Trust, the 1819 Dowlais Iron Works stables block – with its upper floor that once housed a pioneering school for children of iron workers – was restored and converted into flats.
The Heritage Trust managed a new museum dedicated to Joseph Parry in the cottage where the Welsh composer was born alongside the ‘head’ of the Glamorganshire Canal that took iron from Merthyr Tydfil’s four great ironworks to Cardiff for shipment before the railways came.
The voluntary-led Heritage Trust pioneered heritage trails and a heritage plaque scheme honouring famous people from the town and county borough.
The Heritage Trust also played a key role in the rescue of Ynysfach Engine House – built to house a massive beam engine that powered the Ynysfach iron furnaces built by Richard Crawshay of the Cyfarthfa Works in 1800.
In recent years, the Heritage Trust has worked in partnership with Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council to set up a Heritage Forum and an annual heritage conference. It championed Merthyr’s first Trevithick Day in 2011 and set up the Trevithick 2014 project to find ways of regenerating the town and promoting Trevithick’s legacy by:
- celebrating Trevithick’s historic achievement every year
- coming up with a plan to build a new full-scale working replica of Trevithick’s Penydarren Locomotive.
The Heritage Trust – instrumental in Merthyr Tydfil’s two previous unsuccessful bids to be short-listed for World Heritage status – is also:
- championing the restoration of the Cyfarthfa Heritage Area and
- promoting the revival of iron industry heritage across the Heads of the Valleys.