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Welsh Chapels

Hi I am currently working alongside Addoldai Cymru and the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. I am travelling around Wales documenting the interiors of closed Welsh chapels before they are converted or demolished. If anybody knows of chapels that are no longer open or are about to close please can you drop me a line here of message me with details of the chapel and anyone who would be able to open them for me. Many thanks. Barry

I live in the Robertstown area of Aberdare, and as far as I know there are no plans to demolish any more of Aberdare's chapels, or indeed any in the Rhondda-Cynon-Taff area. There seems to be a feeling that too many have come down already, and the emphasis now is on either reviving them as places of worship or turning them into flats, buisness premises or cultural venues. Wales seems to be placing much more score on preservation and conserving it's old buildings. There are two chapels in my locality that are disused, but there are no plans to demolish them, and one of them I know is a Listed Building- I think it's been bought by a couple who want to turn it into a private house, but there is a problem with Japanese Knotweed in the grounds. I will try and get the names of the chapels and their addresses- I'm involved with my local church, so I'll see if anyone can give me details of possible ways you could access their interiors. Meanwhile don't worry, the era of mass chapel demolition seems to be over and there's no need to assume that they are an endangered species any longer.

Perhaps you’re aware of this chapel because it’s been featured several times in the media.  However, if you don’t know about it here are some links:

Nebo Chapel, Merthyr Road, Hirwaun

Newspaper article

Couple gamble their life savings on transforming a derelict chapel into a family home


TV Programme: BBC2’s Restoration Home

Programme no longer available but summary available viz.

Hayley and Alan are not your typical restoration heroes. Struggling to find a decent sized family home, they decided to put in a bid for a Victorian chapel in the Welsh valleys. It was derelict and in need of a saviour - they bought the lot for just £25,000. With only £20,000 of their own money left to restore it, they begin a struggle of almost impossible scale.

They start in the vestry to the rear, which they hope to transform into a spacious three double bedroom modern home. The plan was to then get a mortgage to complete the whole chapel, but the enormity of the task and the consequence of their tiny budget soon hits home. Simply digging foundations is a gruelling task as, rather than hiring a digger, they opt for doing it by hand to save their tiny budget.

As Alun and Hayley struggle to save the centre-piece to the village, the historical investigation gains pace. A story unfolds charting the rise and importance of chapels such as Nebo and how a revolutionary act passed in the 17th century would fundamentally change the fortunes of its worshippers. But will Alan and Hayley get far enough in the restoration to secure the funds to make it a family home? Or will they have wasted every last penny of their savings trying?

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