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Opening The Doors To County Borough Heritage

cynon_valley_museum.jpg

Cynon Valley Museum in danger of extinction

Open Doors, the exciting programme of events and lectures taking place throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf is being launched shortly.

History enthusiasts throughout the County Borough can learn more about a whole host of fascinating facts, figures and features about the communities where they live or visit.

From famous actors, champion runners, cremation pioneers, Norman Lords, coal mining, places of worship, world-renowned porcelain, thermal springs, canals, tramroads and even Wales’ largest open-air Lido – Rhondda Cynon Taf has it all!

Open Doors runs for four weeks throughout September with 27 events taking place in total. The diary of events for the first week is:

Wednesday September 3
Glyn Houston: A Black & White Actor, Tonypandy Library 12noon
Welsh actor Glyn Houston has enjoyed a sparkling career spanning more than sixty years. Starring in cinema, television, radio and theatre, his fascinating life story will entertain, illuminate and leave you surprised at his many achievements. From an acting career that saw him work with Clark Gable, Lana Turner and Alan Ladd, he has also befriended the likes of Petula Clark, Michael Caine and Roger Moore. The brother of Donald Houston, Glyn was part of the Welsh Rat Pack including Richard Burton and Stanley Baker. This is your chance to find out more with a free public lecture by his biographer, Dean Powell. For details contact 01443 424047.

Thursday September 4
Nantgarw China Works Museum (also on September 11, 18 & 25) 10am – 4pm
The oldest surviving porcelainfactory site in Britain, it is based in aGeorgian grade II listed building andthe ruins of bottle kilns can be seenin the gardens alongside a sectionof the old Glamorgan canal. OnThursdays during the Open Doors month, one of the friends of Nantgarw will be on hand to share their experience and knowledge of Nantgarw, and other British porcelain of the 19th century. For details contact 01443 844131.

Saturday September 6
Rhondda Heritage Park (also September 13, 20 and 27) 10am, 12pm and 2pm
A guided tour by an ex miner,including a visit ‘underground’ to experience what life was like as acoal miner. The tour normally incurs a charge but is offered FREE on Saturdays throughout September. Booking is essential. For details contact 01443 682036.

Treforest Guided Walk 10.30am – 12noon
A guided walk of about 1.5 milesvisiting nineteenth centuryindustrial remains and buildings,including the first railway in SouthWales, the first preserved industrialmonument in Wales, a unique'Egyptian' monument, the powersource of the largest tinplate worksin Glamorgan and the world'soldest railway viaduct. The walk begins at Treforest Railway Station and one short section is steep and may be muddy. Booking is essential. For details contact 01443 490748

Glyncornel Centre, Llwynypia 10am – 4pm
Discover the fascinating history of Glyncornel House, perched on a hillside amidst oak woodland, enjoying views over scenic Rhondda. Built in the early 1900s by the Cambrian Coal Combine as a mine managers home, Glyncornel is set in a local nature reserve, part of which is a site of Special Scientific Interest. Following its use as a mine managers’ home it has been used as a maternity hospital; a home for evacuees in WW2; a geriatric hospital; a youth hostel and an outdoor education centre. For further details contact 01443 420940.

The History of Llantrisant, Guild Hall, Llantrisant, 11am
Llantrisant is one of Wales’s most historic towns. But how much do you know about it? From Lord Mayors of London, the world’s shortest man, captured Kings of England and a pioneer of cremation, Llantrisant has a rich and colourful history. Bloodthirsty battles, baronial conquests and royal charters to widespread drunkenness, prostitution and debauchery, Llantrisant has had it all! Historian Dean Powell will hold a fascinating lecture covering 1,500 years of Llantrisant history at the medieval Guild Hall. This building will shortly undergo a £1.1million regeneration scheme and you can find out more about Llantrisant Town Trust’s aspirations for its future use. For details contact 07773352962.

Hen Dy Cwrdd Unitarian Chapel, Trecynon 10am-12noon
The Grade II Listed Hen Dy CwrddUnitarian chapel was built in 1751as a cottage-like meeting houseand was the first non-conformistplace of worship in the CynonValley. A display of hand-drawnarchitectural drawings of AberdareChapels by Mr William King and anopportunity to view the Chapel will be available. Therewill also be a talk by RoyalCommission expert, Stephen Hughes. For further details contact 07528 491819.

Open Doors is organised by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, and offers both local people and visitors alike the chance to explore the hidden treasures of Wales’s culture and history.

Hundreds of attractions will offer free entry, activities or events throughout September, with some unique buildings even opening their doors to the public for the first time. The festival is a unique opportunity to discover the architecture, design, buildings, places and spaces across the country.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is supporting a total of 27 events throughout the month. Throughout the County Borough Open Doors gives access not only to the built heritage that may not normally be open to the general public but also talks and guided walks that help visitors enjoy the heritage that the area has to offer.

Many of the events are delivered by members of the community who have volunteered their own time to help tell the story of a subject that is dear to them.

The Council’s Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, Tourism & Heritage Cllr Paul Cannon said: “Rhondda Cynon Taf is blessed with a fascinating history of medieval kings and archers, famous singers and composers and of course pioneering industrialists and engineers. The wealth of historic buildings and stories associated with each of our communities is staggering.

”The county borough is largely dominated by the arrival of the coal industry and the way in which this totally transformed the valleys of our birth and home. But there are also fascinating pockets of history from the Iron Age, Roman Conquest and of course the Norman Invasion.

“Open Doors allows residents and visitors and insight into our impressive history which are not currently on show but also learn more about the County Borough from the local experts themselves.”

To see the diary of events taking place in Rhondda Cynon Taf, visit http://www.heritagetrailsrct.co.uk/index.php/open-doors

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