Posted on: Thursday 13 January 2022
Memories of shops on Blaenavon Broad Street have been captured in a new tapestry and audio exhibition.
Two 18ft long tapestries depict both sides of Broad Street reimagined from the memories of local people including shops which are no longer there. Embedded into the tapestry are a number of recordings which allow visitors to listen to the memories featured in the tapestry.
The exhibition, at the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre, was developed and delivered by local community arts organisation Head4Arts, working with Penny Turnbull, a textile artist from Abergavenny, and Natasha James, a digital specialist from Merthyr Tydfil.
Councillor Joanne Gauden, Executive Member for Skills, Economy and Regeneration, said: “It really is amazing what can be achieved when groups and individuals come together to consider how our communities have changed over time to reminisce about Broad Street. I bet the memories depicted in the tapestry and audio recordings are fascinating and a real piece of living history. I can’t wait to see them.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in the Townscape Heritage Programme Partnership who make projects like these come to life. Blaenavon is a wonderful placed steeped in history.”
Gareth Davies, Chair of the Blaenavon Townscape Heritage Programme Partnership, said: “As Chair of the THP Board, I am delighted that programme and its partners have found ways to work with the community of Blaenavon through the difficult Covid restrictions to create a wonderful tapestry depicting their memories of Broad Street.
“I very much look forward to seeing the tapestry being displayed and hearing the recordings of their memories. This project will keep memories alive for many years to come.”
Councillor Janet Jones, Blaenavon World Heritage Champion, said: “In my role as Blaenavon World Heritage Champion, I witness many community activities being undertaken to support the sharing of knowledge of our wonderful World Heritage Site.
“This THP project not only creates a tapestry of Board Street but also has stories embedded which capture personal memories of people who shopped in Broad Street throughout the years.
The whole project really brings Broad Street to life. I’m sure that this project will be a starting point of many more memories being recalled amongst family and friends.”
Kate Strudwick, Head 4 Arts, said: “This has been a really exciting project for us tracking the social history of Broad Street through people’s experience of shopping. The success of the project has been due to the wonderful people we have met with their wealth of stories conjuring up the spirit of this famous street.
“This has been a fascinating, and often hilarious, glimpse into the past and I see the street in a whole new light now. The exhibition produced is really spectacular and will be enjoyed by many in the future.”
The exhibition will be available at the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre from Tuesday 18 until Sunday 23 January between 10am -5pm.
The Blaenavon Townscape Heritage Programme (THP) is supporting physical and community heritage regeneration in Blaenavon through targeted building grants on identified properties and community initiatives. The programme’s community activities help us to engage across the community of Blaenavon to explore people’s personal connections to their heritage, and celebrate their town’s World Heritage Status.
The Blaenavon Townscape Heritage Partnership is being delivered through funding contributions from the National Heritage Lottery Fund, Torfaen County Borough Council, Blaenavon Town Council, Cadw and Private property owners.