Cefn Coed Colliery Museum, Winding Gear Restoration

Project: Cefn Coed Colliery Museum
Location: Crynant, Neath
Client: Welsh Government
Value: £1.5m renovation & restoration project

Progress is well underway to restore the two remaining headframes at Cefn Coed Colliery Museum. The winding gears form one of the biggest machines of their kind in Britain.

Acting as Project Managers and Cost Consultants for WSP, TC Consult’s challenge has been to reinstate this listed landmark so the local community and visitors can enjoy and appreciate their historic significance.

The work is also vital for the future of the museum which is been a monument to the generations of workers employed at the Cefn Coed and Blaenant collieries until 1968.

In 2016 the Welsh Government dismantled the headframes over safety concerns. The structures had not been well maintained, leaving them rusty and potentially at risk of collapse. But this left the museum looking run-down and closed, causing widespread frustration across the community.

Perfectly suited for the job

TC took on the challenge to reinstate the headframes with Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, who TC has worked in partnership with for many years.  It was this long-standing relationship and TC’s impressive experience of working on historic projects, that led to them being commissioned on this occasion.

In addition, their specialist knowledge in public procurement enabled TC to prepare a comprehensive set of tender documents that could be uploaded via the Sell2Wales site to source competitive quotes.  Excel Construction and their subcontractor Penybryn Engineering were selected for the complicated works, which have involved rubbing down, shot-blasting and then painting the intricate metalwork.

Not an easy job

The nature of the works has meant that defects and cracks that weren’t previously apparent have been revealed, adding further pressure to the planned timescale.

Despite this, one of the headframes is already virtually complete. And with the second one well underway, the job is due to be completed on schedule later this year – weather permitting – a timely completion for the anticipated easing of lockdown measures.