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Work Begins At Glyntaff Crematorium

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has begun an important project to repair and renew one of the most unique features of Glyntaff Crematorium, the first crematorium in Wales, for the benefit of future visitors.

The large crematorium on the outskirts of Pontypridd has been serving communities from far and wide since it was built in 1924 and is home to a large Columbarium, opened in 1932, which accommodates both urns containing ashes and memorial plaques and tablets.

For the last 80 years, relatives, visitors and those researching their own family histories from all over the UK and beyond have visited the magnificent Columbarium, which is in the old Garden of Remembrance, to peruse the information held there.

However, as time has passed, the building has aged and roof damage has caused water leaks to enter the Columbarium causing damage.

Added to this is the fact the plaques and memorial stones that adorn the interior walls are of varying sizes and weights and have been fixed to the wall in different ways, using different adhesive methods, over the years and need re-securing and re-positioning.

This has already led to access to the Columbarium being restricted during the week, with no access to the building allowed on weekends and Bank Holidays.

A decision has now been taken, to allow the important restoration work to take place and protect visitors to the Crematorium, to close the Columbarium for the duration of the work, which is expected to last 30 weeks.

Cllr Joy Rosser, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, Libraries and Heritage, said: “This is an important and necessary piece of work that allows us to preserve and protect the unique history of the Columbarium and Glyntaff Crematorium, whilst also providing a facility fit for the future.

“The Columbarium is both unusual and appealing and this is demonstrated by the large number of day to pay visitors who visit not only to pay their respects, but also to inspect the plaques and memorials. As ancestry and family history research continues to grow in popularity, so the number of visitors increases.

“While we understand the closure will be inconvenient for these visitors, we hope they can understand why we are carrying out this important work and we look forward to welcoming them back to the newly-restored Columbarium when it reopens.”

Repairs to the roof and the structure of the Columbarium will be completed and each of the plaques, including those of fallen war heroes from both world wars, will be painstakingly removed, cleaned and re-secured to the walls. Some of the plaques and stones are up to 2ft wide.

Throughout the duration of the works, there should be no significant disruption experienced by those using the Crematorium.

Once the work is completed, the Columbarium will be available, during Crematorium opening hours, to welcome visitors and researchers.

Glyntaff Crematorium was the first crematorium in Wales and, when it opened in 1924, was considered one of the most magnificent in the UK, second only to Hendon in London.