Blaenavon’s Industrial landscape became a World Heritage Site in December 2000. It is a landscape shaped by human hand, dating from the early days of the Industrial Revolution - a significant stage in human evolution, when the iron and coal industries of South Wales were of global importance.
The Blaenavon Industrial Landscape is an important place of study of the Industrial Revolution and is an ideal venue for schools studying changes in people’s daily lives in the 19th century and changes that happened in Wales, Britain and the wider world between 1760 and 1914. It is also an excellent case-study for students of urban decline and economic regeneration.
The Blaenavon World Heritage Site now boasts three visitor attractions which offer full-time, dedicated educational services:
- Blaenavon World Heritage Centre
- Blaenavon Ironworks
- Big Pit: National Coal Museum
The Blaenavon World Heritage Centre is based in the former St Peter’s School founded in 1816 to educate the ironworker’s children. Now it offers an overview of the World Heritage Site and offers educational workshops for all age groups, focusing on the lives of local people from the early Celts through to modern days. It is also the starting point for a number of outdoor activities.
Big Pit National Coal Museum offers guided underground tours conducted by former coal miners. The restored pithead baths features displays and interactive exhibitions enabling visitors to learn about the history of coal mining, and the people who lived and worked in coal mining communities in Wales.
Blaenavon Ironworks is the most significant historical feature within the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape. Today you can view the extensive remains of the blast furnaces, cast houses and iconic water-balance tower, and gain a fascinating insight into the social history of the Industrial Revolution at the reconstructed company ‘truck’ shop, 19th century workers’ cottages and the newly interpreted cast houses.
Adult learners are offered a range of courses covering local history, archaeology and the natural environment. Through our volunteer ranger programme, adults can also gain new skills and take advantage of training opportunities.
Across Blaenavon World Heritage Site there are a range of other attractions that welcome educational visits including:
- Blaenavon and Pontypool Railway
- Blaenavon Community and Cordell Museum
- Blaenavon Landscape
- Garn Lakes
- Keepers Pond
- Abergavenny and Monmouthshire Canal