Schoolchildren are celebrating the unique history of printing in Aberdare by producing a piece of artwork that will inspire visitors to find out more about the town’s fascinating past.
Recognising the towns printing heyday during the 19th century, the work will be displayed at the town’s popular visitors’ destination, Cynon Valley Museum and Gallery.
Children from Aberdare Town Church in Wales Primary School have held a series of workshops with community artist Lucy Bateman to learn more about the industry that played such a major role in the history of the “Queen of the Valleys”.
The project is funded through Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Townscape Heritage Initiative which is part of the £7.7million regeneration package of Aberdare town centre.
This initiative is designed to help raise the profile of heritage and conservation in the locality whilst also educating younger generations about their hometown’s intriguing past.
The children, from Year 4 and 5 have spent three days working with Lucy Bateman to undertake an item of work that will help promote and raise awareness of the design features used in the Aberdare regeneration project which are linked to the town’s unique heritage.
The children have been using all manner of newspaper printing techniques for the artwork which is being displayed at the Museum during the Half Term school holidays.
Cllr Paul Cannon, Deputy Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Community Safety explained, “The association between famous physical features and their respective towns and cities is an important part of promoting the identity of a place, often acting as an enticement for people to come and visit.
“This piece of artwork, coupled with the enhancement of the streetscape and buildings in Aberdare are all part of our programme of regeneration.
“We need to change people’s perceptions of the town centre and encourage more visitors to come and enjoy not only a unique shopping experience, but the many fascinating historical and cultural attractions on offer here.”
Headteacher of Aberdare Town Church in Wales Primary School Gillian Cheverton explained, “The children had a very enjoyable and illuminating educational experience working with Mrs. Bateman on the project.
“They learnt a lot about the history of printing in Aberdare, as well as how to use a variety of printing techniques and skills. They are really excited about seeing their work on display at the Museum."
Aberdare’s reputation as the “Athens of Wales” began when J.T. Jones set up his own popular penny newspaper, “Y Gweithiwr” and n 1861 he began to publish The Aberdare Times. Another businessman came from Carmarthen, Walter Lloyd, who opened an office in 1856. In September 1858 he printed the “Gwladgarwr” and a year later he was proprietor. The paper and printing office are Walter Lloyd and Son in 1882, but though the office continued under this print after the father’s death in 1883, the newspaper ceased publication more or less immediately.
The work will be on display at the Cynon Valley Museum and Gallery from Monday February 11th for the Half Term holidays. For further details visit www.cvmg.co.uk or telephone 01685 886729.