Old town hall, Aberystwyth
This building, now Canolfan Alun R Edwards, is a landmark as you look down Portland Street. A town hall was built on this site in the 1840s with a grand Classical frontage. It’s shown in the old photo, courtesy of Ceredigion Archives.
It was badly damaged by fire in 1957. Renowned architect Sidney Colwyn Foulkes of Colwyn Bay was commissioned for the reconstruction. He produced a contemporary take on the original design, ensuring the new work melded with the surviving old walls. The building reopened in 1962.
In 1974 the building was vacated by the town council. Dyfed County Council used it for various purposes. In 2012 it became the new home of the town’s library and the county archives.
The building’s current name honours Alun R Edwards (1919-1986). He was county librarian for Cardiganshire (and later Dyfed) for 30 years, until his retirement in 1980. He grew up in Llanio, near Tregaron, and worked in the National Library of Wales after his schooling. As a pacifist, he was a conscientious objector in the Second World War and did National Service as a firefighter in Cardiff. He’s the first from the left in the fire engine photo, courtesy of Ceredigion Archives.
After the war, he expanded the travelling library service – an important source of information, education and entertainment for farmers and others in sparsely populated areas of Ceredigion. The photo, courtesy of Ceredigion Archives, shows one of the library vans in the countryside.
Alun also helped to establish the Welsh Books Council in 1961. Now the Books Council of Wales, it supports Welsh publishing and promotes reading for pleasure. Alun was also a driving force in the formation of the College of Librarianship in Aberystwyth in 1963.
Postcode: SY23 2EB View Location Map
Website of Ceredigion Archives