TC Consult is pleased to have reached the halfway milestone in a £1.5m project to restore the two winding gear headframes at Cefn Coed Colliery Museum in Crynant.
Tackling an ongoing problem
The winding gears form one of the biggest machines of their kind in Britain and are a monument to the generations of workers employed at the Cefn Coed and Blaenant collieries until 1968. Their restoration is considered crucial both from a safety perspective and for the museum’s survival.
Before TC got involved, the state of the winding gears had been a long-standing source of frustration for volunteers, visitors and local councils.
“The winding gear is in half and rusty, it doesn’t help make it look open….”, Crynant ward councillor, Sian Harris, explained in a BBC article: “We need the winding gear up so we can crack on with plans for the museum’s future.”
With TC’s expertise around historic and sensitive sites now on board, the frustration is finally being addressed. But it’s a laborious job.
The works are being undertaken by Excel Construction and their subcontractor Penybryn Engineering and involve rubbing down and shot-blasting the metalwork. That has inevitably revealed cracks and defects which weren’t previously apparent.
In addition, painting of the headframes – one blue and yellow, the other red – is heavily dependent on the weather; painting is out of the question if the temperature dips below 5 degrees.
Supporting future tourism
Despite the challenges, with the first gear virtually complete and restoration of the second well underway, the team are hoping to finish the project by the end of summer 2021.
With this year having been particularly challenging for the tourism industry in Wales, the completion will come at a welcome time when venues are expected to have opened up and more people are planning to ‘staycation’.
The Museum itself is due to separately receive £1.8m funding to build a timber-framed structure for a visitor centre, a play area and café. The Welsh Government has said that the combined funding will “provide safe and welcoming spaces that can be enjoyed by the local community as well as visitors from further afield”.