Former colliers’ institute, Risca

Former colliers’ institute, Risca

This building opened during the First World War as a place of education and relaxation for local colliery employees. It’s now now Grade 2-listed and home to Risca Museum (see below) and the Western Valley Model Railway Club.

if you view the building from St Mary Street, look up to see the title “Risca Collieries Workmen’s Institute” and “Built 1916”. Many towns in South Wales had similar institutes where the facilities included a library, billiards tables and a hall for meetings and lectures. Newspapers and magazines were provided. During the Second World War, the building was used as a food centre for the administration of the rationing regulations in the area.

The building became a benefits office after coal mining ended in the Risca area in the 1960s. In 1995 it was bought by the local council with the help of European Union funding. The ground floor became the museum’s new home and the first floor used as an annexe for the Oxford House Adult Education Centre.

The museum originally opened in 1979 at the old Pontymister Upper School. Its collection of objects from industrial South Wales represents coal mining, the iron, steel and tinplate industries, tramroads and railways, canals, shipping and commerce. The museum houses the interior of an Edwardian chemist’s shop, moved here from Butetown, Cardiff. It also has an 1830s printing press which belonged to Starling Press of Risca. Visitors can see the press in operation on certain dates.

The museum is run by volunteers, who also help to document and preserve industrial relics in the region. Between 1974 and 1985 they refurbished Melingriffith canal pump in north Cardiff. You can see some of the pump’s original components in the museum, along with a model of the water-powered pump.

Follow the link below for dates of museum opening and printing demonstrations.

Postcode: NP11 6GN    View Location Map

Website of Risca Museum

Website of Western Valley Model Railway Club (Facebook)