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Winding House
Cross Street
New Tredegar
NP24 6EG

01443 822 666
windinghouse@caerphilly.gov.uk

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News

Winding House selected as 1 of top 6 Family Friendly Museums in the UK


The Winding House is the first museum in Wales in 10 years to have been shortlisted for the award

The Winding House has reached the final stage of this year’s Telegraph & Kids in Museums’ “Family Friendly Museum Award”.

The Award – Britain’s biggest museum award and the only one to be judged by families – considers which museums across the UK go that extra mile to welcome and engage family visitors.

After a record 800 nominations for museums across the country, the Winding house was 1 of 20 museums to be longlisted in May. Those 20 have now been whittled down to a shortlist of just 6, chosen by a panel of experts including historian and broadcastor Helen Castor, celebrity author and Kids in Museums Patron, Damian Dibben and Sharon Heal, Director of the Museums Association. The 6 museums shortlisted were selected as the top family friendly museums in Britain – and the Winding House has made the cut! It is the first time for nearly 10 years that a museum in Wales has been shortlisted for the award.

Baroness Kay Andrews, Trustee of Kids in Museums, says:

 "I’m delighted to see that the Winding House is listed for the very prestigious Kids in Museums Award - what a great choice - and what a great win for Wales and its wonderful family-friendly museums! The Winding House is all that a museum should be, surprising visitors and local families and children alike with great story telling and involving everyone, especially children, in curating and understanding their history and their place in it.  And so much of it is thanks to volunteers as well. Well done Winding House

Principal Museums and Heritage Officer Helen Willson says, “ we were thrilled to be longlisted in May as being among the 20 most family friendly museums in the UK. To have now been selected as being among the top 6 - reaching the final stage of the award -  is such an exciting achievement and huge credit to all our staff and volunteers who do their utmost to provide a warm and friendly welcome and enjoyable experience for all our visitors. Since opening in 2009, we have always placed families at the heart of everything we do and we are very proud to be shortlisted for in this year’s Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award.”

Dea Birkett, Director of Kids in Museums says: “‘We’re delighted that the Winding House has been shortlisted for the Family Friendly Museum Award – the biggest museum award in Britain and the only one where families pick the winner. It’s the first time a museum in Wales has been shortlisted for ten years, so it’s a particularly special and exciting achievement to have gathered such huge support from visitors, volunteers and staff. The Winding House manages to be firmly rooted in the community, involving local people in their history, as well as offering activities and insights that would rival any museum in Britain. Most of all, they listen to their visitors, empowering them about their past, supporting them in their futures.’

Throughout the summer, “undercover” family judges will visit each shortlisted museum and judge it for its family friendly qualities. The eventual winner will be announced on Thursday 24th September at a special ceremony at the Telegraph newspaper offices.  

Winding House judged 1 of most family friendly museums in Britain!


The Winding House has been judged one of the top 20 family friendly museums in Britain and is in the running for the UK’s biggest museum prize, the Kids in Museums’ “Family Friendly Museum Award”.

The Award is sponsored by Telegraph Newspaper Group and gets more nominations than any other museum award in Britain, and probably in the world! It considers which museums go that extra mile to welcome and engage family visitors and this year has seen a record number of more than 800 nominations for museums across the UK. Visitors have said in their hundreds where they’ve had the best family days out at a museum from the tip of Cornwall to Morayshire. A panel of volunteers whittled 800 visitor nominations down to just 20 museums - those judged to be the very best at welcoming families and the Winding House is one of them! It is also the only museum from Wales to feature.

Dea Birkett, Director, Kids in Museums says, “It’s great that the Winding House has made it to the longlist for the Family Friendly Museum Award – the biggest museum award in Britain and the only one judged by families, so it’s a very special endorsement. There were over 800 nominations this year, so the competition was very tough. The Winding House stood out as a museum that provided a wide range of activities for all the family, of any age. Families pointed out the particularly warm welcome. The museum also demonstrated commitment to listening to families and their needs. The Winding House is an excellent example of a small local museum making a big impact.’”

Other museums longlisted for the award include Hampton Court Palace, the Science Museum in London and the Cutty Sark.

The longlist of 20 will be put before a panel of experts, including Kids in Museums' Patron and celebrity children’s author Damian Dibben and historian and broadcaster Helen Castor. They will then choose a shortlist of six museums that will be road-tested anonymously by family judges who will choose the best.

Principal Museums and Heritage Officer, Helen Willson said, “we are absolutely over the moon to have been longlisted for this year’s Family Friendly Museum Award. We work very hard to ensure that our exhibitions and events programme are lively, engaging and appealing to families so we are thrilled to be included in the top 20 best family friendly museums in the UK. It is a real credit to all our staff and volunteers who do their very best to make families, and all visitors, welcome.”

Cllr. Ken James, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning & Sustainable Development said: “This is fantastic news for the Winding House and a truly well-deserved award recognising the great efforts staff and volunteers make to ensure families have a first class experience.  Being the only museum in Wales to make the long list highlights what a fantastic achievement this is, and I’m sure it will encourage even more families to join the thousands of visitors each year who enjoy exploring the past at the Winding House.” 

First in Wales


Vintage shop "Rempod" - first of many PopUp reminiscence rooms to be displayed at the Winding House

The Winding House Museum is set to become Wales’ first Dementia Friendly reminiscence centre, offering a variety of activities throughout the museum. All their staff are now ‘Dementia Friends’ and they are working with the Alzheimer’s Society and Caerphilly 50+ Positive Action to tailor their exhibitions and creating new displays that encourage reminiscence, so that Carers, relatives and those living with dementia are also able to enjoy the museum.

A regular feature will be one of the Social Services Reminiscence pop up ‘rooms’ evoking key places and periods of the past such as the local pub or a 1950s living room with lots of hands on activities for people to engage with.  The Winding House will add to these rooms a display of local items from the museum’s collection to give the Pod a local twist.

Cllr Christine Forehead the Member Champion for Older People commented, “It is great to see the Winding House leading the way in creating a Dementia Supportive environment. It means that people living with dementia like anyone else can pop in, have a cup of tea and cake and enjoy this lovely museum.” 

War at the Winding House and VE Day commemorations


The county museum, the Winding House is stepping back to the 1940s this May for a month of commemorations and reflections on the Second World War and the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day.

A special month-long Pop-Up exhibition “Keep Calm and Carry On” opens on Saturday 2nd May – 31st May. Discover the impact of the Second World War on the local area through displays, objects and original film. Admission is free.

The museum is also holding a series of Second World War themed events – from drop-in days, to family crafts, from a classic War film to a toe-tapping tea dance!

Step back to the time of rationing and “make do and mend” with some 1940s family crafts on Saturday 9th May (2-3pm). Make and take your own Wartime peg-soldier or lady  - booking is essential, and the session costs £1.50 per child.

Why not dust off your dancing shoes for a very special Museums at Night event on Friday 15th May with a 1940s Tea Dance?  Relax and unwind to the sounds of Glenn Miller, Swing and more Wartime favourites. If you want to come in 1940s costume, all the better! Entertainment will also be provided by local vintage cabaret singer, Donna Darlington, and refreshments will be available. The 1940sTea Dance takes place between 4-6pm on Friday 15th May. Admission is free although booking is essential.

On Sunday 17th May, classic film, “The Man Who Never Was” will be showing at the museum. Find out more about the Allied intelligence mission and military hoax, “Operation Mincemeat”, with its unique link to Caerphilly County Borough. The film will start at 1.45pm. Admission is free although booking is essential.

Discover more about life on the Home Front with a hands-on day of Fashions and Rations on Saturday 23rd May (11am-4pm). How was clothing, make up, food and other aspects of daily life affected by the War? Explore “Make Do and Mend” to “doing your bit”. Just drop-in to join in.

And finally, on the Spring Bank Holiday, Monday 25th May, join in a day for all the family - Keep Calm and Explore: life in the 1940s, with replica objects, handling sessions, costume and more. Drop in between 11am and 4pm to take part.

Winding House gets top marks for educational visits


Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge

The County Borough museum, the Winding House in New Tredegar has shown itself to be at the top of the class for educational visits by being awarded a Learning Outside the Classroom (LotC) Quality Badge.

Awarded by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, the LOtC Quality Badge combines for the first time learning and safety into one easily recognisable badge for all organisations providing learning outside the classroom experiences.

Winding House Learning Officer, Mark Batchelder said “Being awarded the LOtC Quality Badge is a real coup for us  as it shows that we offer young people the type of high quality learning experiences they really benefit from. We're thrilled to get official recognition for our efforts and we look forward to welcoming even more children and young people from the local area to our museum.”

The LOtC Quality Badge was launched in 2009 as part of the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto, a national initiative to ensure young people are given more opportunities to have these experiences as part of the curriculum. The LOtC Quality Badge is awarded by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, the national voice for Learning Outside the Classroom. The Council also provides free online guidance and information for teachers on how to plan and organise high quality activities. The LOtC Quality Badge is designed to make it easier for teachers to identify providers of quality educational visits. Organisations will display the LOtC Quality Badge as a signal to schools that their venue has met required standards, so teachers do not need to carry out their own risk or quality assessments.

Elaine Skates, Acting Chief Executive of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom said:

 “Educational visits are among the most memorable experiences in a child’s school life.  The LOtC Quality Badge offers teachers a guarantee that not only is a venue providing the sort of educational value that they can build on in class long after the visit but they also have the appropriate risk management structures in place.

Learning outside the classroom has many proven educational benefits. The LOtC Quality Badge will reduce red tape and provide assurance for schools, thereby ensuring that many more young people have memorable, exciting and valuable learning outside the classroom experiences. I congratulate the Winding House on being awarded the LOtC Quality Badge.”

The LOtC Quality Badge is available to large and small organisations providing quality learning outside the classroom experiences and managing risk effectively. Almost 1,000 organisations have already been awarded the LOtC Quality Badge, including museums, adventurous activity and field study centres, places of worship, art galleries, visitor attractions, student travel companies and farms.

For more information about the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge, please visit www.lotcqualitybadge.org.uk 

Visit World War One Bunker To Share Your Story


During February and March, community arts organisation Head4Arts will be bringing a very unusual vehicle to key locations in the county boroughs of Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly.

What looks like a World War one bunker – complete with artefacts and memorabilia is in fact Head4Arts’ transit van, imaginatively transformed in 20 minutes into a mobile studio to raise awareness of First World War centenary.

Local people will be invited to visit “the bunker” to record their family stories, memories and responses to the conflict as part of   “World War One: A Valleys View”- a project that has recently received £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund,

With the help of professionals from Breaking Barriers Community Arts, visitors will be able to contribute to a series of digital stories that document the impact of the First World War on Valleys communities.    Also, members of the public are being encouraged to bring along with them their own World War One related family heirlooms , such as letters, photographs, medals or newspaper articles,  so that these items can be included as part of their story.   Experts from the Winding House Museum and Merthyr Tydfil Libraries will be on hand to provide historical information and tips on family research

The stories collected will be used to create a digital record that preserves the memories and heritage of those who lived through the war.  This will be uploaded as an online resource and will be used for display at local museums in order to help more people learn about this important period of history.

This intriguing “bunker van” will start its tour of the local area at the Twyn, Caerphilly and Blackwood Town Centre on Thursday 19th February.  It will then visit Merthyr Tydfil Central Library on Tuesday 24th February and the Winding House Museum on Saturday 28th February.  On Tuesday 3rd March the van will be located in Treharris Library before ending its journey at Dowlais Library on Wednesday 4th March.  Please check Head4Arts website and social media pages for timing and further details.  Participation in the project is free of charge and all members of the public are welcome to come along and join in.

Celebrate the season at the Winding House with Christmas crafts and festive films!


Celebrate Christmas at the Winding House!

Celebrate Christmas at the Winding House with a host of festive, fun events, perfect to get you into the Yuletide spirit!

Prepare for Christmas with “Activi-Time: Christmas Crafts” on Saturday 29th November and make some creative homemade decorations in readiness for the season. From Santa to snowmen, angels to reindeers – and maybe a Christmas tree or two – there’ll be plenty of festive fun! Sessions run from 11am-12pm and from 2-3pm and booking is essential. There is a small charge of £1.50  per child and children must be accompanied by an adult.

The historic winding engine will also be running at 12pm on Saturday 29th November, the last date it will be running this year before the new season starts in 2015.

Share some Christmas cheer on the first two Saturday afternoons in December with a classic family Festive Film! The Christmas classics begin on Saturday 6th December, 2pm  with “Saving Santa”, followed on Saturday 13th December, 2pm by “Frozen”. Come in costume or your best Christmas jumpers! Booking is essential for these fantastic family films but admission is FREE – call on 01443 822 666 for more information and to book your place.

And why not enjoy your Christmas shopping in peace, away from the crowded streets? The museum’s Gift Shop stocks a wide selection of high-quality gifts, traditional toys and quirky souvenirs which offer something for everyone – from stocking fillers to that extra special something.

So, visit the Winding House this Christmas to celebrate the season in style!                

 In the event of heavy snow, please call before travelling, as this may affect events taking place. The Winding House closes for Christmas at 5pm on Tuesday 23rd December and re-opens at 10am on Friday 2nd January, 2015.

Winding House voted one of top 10 museums in Wales


Caerphilly county borough’s museum, the Winding House in New Tredegar, has been voted one of the top 10 museums in Wales in a public poll.

The campaign, run by Wales Online to coincide with the first ever Welsh Museums Festival, asked members of the public to vote for their two favourite museums in Wales. Voters were asked for their favourite amongst the national museums (St Fagans, Big Pit, the National Slate Museum, Swansea Waterfront Museum, the National Wool Museum, the Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon and the National Museum, Cardiff) and also for their favourite ‘other’, non-national museum.

Topping the national museum poll was St Fagans, while in the ‘other’ museum category, the Winding House - one of the youngest museums in the list - was voted in at number four.

The museum in New Tredegar has been open just five years and in that time has seen its collection of social and industrial history objects from Caerphilly county borough grow from 1,500 to over 12,500 – mostly through donations from members of the public. The museum has also welcomed nearly 70,000 visitors - from New Tredegar to New South Wales - and has seen its regularly changing temporary exhibition programme grow increasingly in profile. The current exhibition, ‘Our Duty to Bear’ – the First World War and Caerphilly county borough has already welcomed over 3,000 visitors since its opening in August and was the only exhibition in Wales singled out in a recent Sunday Times article about First World War commemorative events.

Cllr Ken James, Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning & Sustainable Development, said: “The Winding House has gone from strength to strength since it opened five years ago. This public vote is a fantastic indication of the strength of support for the museum among the local and wider community. Congratulations to everyone at the Winding House  - both staff and volunteers - who work so hard to deliver such an excellent museum service for the local community and for visitors to the County Borough.”
 

‘Our Duty to Bear’ – the First World War and Caerphilly county borough is open until Autumn 2015.

Major new First World War exhibition launched at the Winding House


A view of the trench section in the exhibition

A major new exhibition to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War has been launched  at the Winding House museum in New Tredegar.

The exhibition 'Our Duty to Bear – the First World War and Caerphilly county borough', which explores how the war affected men, women and children across Caerphilly county borough was unveiled on Friday 1st August by the Mayor of Caerphilly County Borough Council.

From the Western Front to the Home Front, the exhibition explores local experiences of the War through carefully curated objects, images, film and sound. Personal and poignant loans from the wider local community form a central role in the exhibition, which will run from Saturday 2nd August through to Autumn 2015.

Visitors to the Winding House will have the opportunity to discover the experiences of the people from Caerphilly county borough during the First World War and how the war impacted on their lives; from the young Caerphilly pilot in the Royal Flying Corps, to the escaped Prisoner of War from New Tredegar; from the mother from Fleur de Lys with two sons both killed at the age of 19, to the conscientious objector Morgan Jones; and from the Blackwood miner who joined the tunnelling regiment, to the young girl from Tirphil writing to her daddy to ask him to come home from the war.

Discover also what life was like was for those at home – knitting 'comforts', sending food parcels and experiencing changing roles for women in work and society.

Cllr Ken James, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Sustainable Development and Planning said, "Just over a year ago during the early stages of the planning process, the Winding House team sent out a plea to the wider local community for poignant, treasured items associated with the First World War that could be loaned to this outstanding collection, and the response was truly overwhelming. What the team, supported very much by a large group of volunteers and local residents, has achieved in delivering this exhibition is a series of extremely powerful and emotive displays which truly capture the experiences and struggles faced by local people 100 years ago".

He continued: "I would encourage as many people as possible to come along to explore and learn about the personal stories of more than 60 families from across Caerphilly county borough during the First World War in this extremely emotive exhibition", he added.

The exhibition also includes original film footage from the First World War period, as well as a reconstructed trench section and recollections of the Battle of the Somme from a local soldier – in his own words – from a recording made in the 1970s.

Staff and pupils from nearby Lewis School Pengam have also played a key role in the creation of the exhibition; within the collection are a series of letters written by former pupils to their old teacher, Arthur Wright during the First World War. Current pupils at the school have recorded readings of these letters aloud, which also feature in the exhibition.

'Our Duty to Bear – the First World War and Caerphilly county borough' is part of the Imperial War Museum's First World War Centenary Partnership. The Winding House is open Tuesday to Sunday – 10am until 5pm, and is open also on Bank Holiday Mondays. Admission is FREE.

Birthday celebrations at the Winding House


Click to download our special commemorative booklet highlighting the museum's achievements over the last 5 years.    Click to download Welsh language issue of commemorative booklet.

The last weekend in January sees the 5th anniversary of the official opening of the Winding House, and the museum is inviting visitors to explore the galleries, see the winding engine in action and join in with their birthday celebrations on Saturday 25th January.

Housed in a purpose-built building which envelops the historic engine house of the former Elliot Colliery, the Winding House reopened in January 2009 after an extensive period of expansion and refurbishment.

During the last 5 years, the museum has gone from strength to strength, with its exhibitions and events programmes and stylish Coffee Shop and Gift Shop welcoming thousands of visitors from across South Wales and further afield. The remarkable Victorian winding engine is a further draw for many, and is run for members of the public by the museum’s engine volunteer team on the last Saturday of each month.

The museum’s catalogued collection of objects and images relates to the area’s social and industrial history and has expanded from 1 500 items in 2009 to well over 11 000 today. Local people have increasingly donated artefacts and photographs relating to their own or their family’s history, enabling the museum to care for, preserve and interpret the area’s history for future generations.

With an ever-increasing profile, huge crowds have been drawn to the museum’s series of fascinating exhibitions, with topics ranging from the Second World War, to sporting life in the local area. Last year’s exhibition on Gelligroes-man Artie Moore’s unique link to RMS Titanic garnered global publicity with the museum featuring in articles in publications as varied as the the Washington Post, Iran Daily News and the Sydney Herald.

The current “Coalfaces” exhibition, with its remarkable series of photographs of the Bargoed area in the 1970s, taken by Swedish photographer and film maker, Kjell-Åke Andersson has continued to draw in the crowds. Plans are already well underway for this year’s major exhibition, to open in August, on the local area’s experiences of the First World War and the Winding House has joined the Imperial War Museum’s First World War Centenary Partnership.

School visits to the museum have increased year on year since the museum reopened in 2009, with workshops on the Romans, Mediaeval Wales, Mining life and the Second World War. The excellence of the museum’s learning programme has been recognized with the granting of a Sandford Award for museum heritage education, as well as a Learning Outside the Classroom badge.

Volunteers from the local community have continued to play a vital role in the museum since 2009, assisting and supporting museum staff across all areas of the museum service – from front of house, to school workshops and events, collections and the winding engine itself.

Over the last 5 years, the Winding House has also been granted the status of ‘ Quality Assured Visitor Attraction’ by Visit Wales and was voted a Top 10 Valleys Essential by the public in the Valleys Heart and Soul marketing campaign. In September 2013, the museum was awarded the status of Full Accreditation by CyMAL, demonstrating the museum’s achievements in the areas of museum management, collection care and public service and received its Accreditation certificate from Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths.

Cllr. Ken James, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Sustainable Development said, "Time flies and it certainly doesn't seem like 5 years since the museum opened its doors. The museum consistently hosts fascinating and thought provoking exhibitions and activities, whilst retaining its key role in preserving and displaying Caerphilly's past. Happy birthday Winding House."

Museums and Heritage Officer Emma Wilson states, “it is hard to believe the Winding House is already celebrating its 5th birthday. In some ways, it feels like we only opened yesterday! I know that all the museum staff and Friends and Volunteers are extremely proud of everything that has been achieved over the last 5 years and are looking forward to helping achieve more successes for the museum in the future.”

The winding engine will run this Saturday 25th January at 12pm, and visitors are encouraged to see the remarkable machinery in action, explore the museum galleries and are welcome to sample some cake provided by the museum to celebrate its birthday occasion!

Published January, 2014.

Serbian museum staff visit the Winding House


Staff from Senjski Rudnik museum exploring the historic winding house

The County Borough museum, the Winding House welcomed some special visitors on Friday 25th October when staff from a new museum in Serbia visited the Winding House for inspiration!

The group were from Senjski Rudnik, in the east of the country, the site of the oldest preserved coalmine in Serbia. They are involved in an ongoing project (sponsored by the Council of Europe and Serbian Ministry of Culture) of restoration and preservation of the mine complex, which will turn the entire site into an open-air museum and historical heritage site. They were undertaking a 4 day study visit to South Wales to gain ideas and inspiration from museums situated in former mining communities, namely Blaenavon World Heritage Centre, Big Pit: National Coal Museum and the Winding House.

During their visit, the group were given a tour of the Winding House galleries and learned about the many facilities and services offered by the museum and how its success has grown significantly since re-opening in 2008. They discovered how the museum collection has developed from 1 500 objects in 2008 to over 10 000 today, and how the Winding House has just experienced its busiest month of school workshop sessions since opening, with nearly 400 pupils involved in just 3 weeks! They also discovered how closely the Winding House works with the local community, through the development of exhibitions and events, and also through the many projects providing opportunities for Volunteer involvement – for example, helping preserve the historic winding engine, cataloguing the museum collection, assisting with school workshops and welcoming visitors to the museum.

The visit aimed to provide examples of good practice in the museum field and to offer ideas, stimulation and encouragement for the development and plans for the new museum in Senjski Rudnik. The Winding House was thrilled to have been selected to help welcome the visitors from Serbia and participate in their very successful and inspirational study visit.

Published October, 2013.

Wedding Bells at the Winding House!


One of our Museum Visitor Assistants, Ann, decorated this wonderful cake for our first wedding reception at the museum.

Saturday 5th October will see the County Borough museum, the Winding House add another string to its bow as, for the first time in history, the museum’s functions suite plays host to a wedding reception.

To celebrate the union the famous winding engine will run for the wedding party.

Jacqui King, 57, and Jeff Woods, 59, of Blackwood, chose the venue after enjoying a visit to the county borough’s museum.

Jacqui said the choice was a simple one, “We chose it because we love it, and when we asked had it been done before and the answer was no, we knew straight away we wanted to be the first, it’s something a bit different, all our guests are really excited, as are we!”

The couple, who were friends for 8 years before becoming a romantic pairing, will be married in St Margaret’s Church on Saturday 5th October and will then be joined by around 50 of their closest friends and family to see the historic engine run followed by an afternoon tea style reception at the Winding House.

Jacqui said, “From the beginning the staff have been so helpful and enthusiastic, one member of staff, Ann, has even helped me chose the room decor and cake decoration and I know she will make sure the room is how I would like it. We’re also thrilled that the museum’s engine volunteers will be running the engine specially for our wedding. ”

The Winding House functions suite is available for a range of events and functions.

To find out more please contact the Winding House 01443 822666.

Published October, 2013.

Minister for Culture and Sport Visits the Winding House


Minister for Culture & Sport, John Griffiths with Museums & Heritage Officer Emma Wilson, Cllr Ken James and CyMAL's Ann Mansell

The Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths has visited the County Borough's museum, the Winding House, in New Tredegar.

The visit follows the over-whelming success of the latest exhibition at the Winding House; ‘Coalfaces - a mining community in photos: Bargoed in the 1970s’.The exhibition focuses on a series of fantastic photographs of the local area, taken in the 1970s by a young Swedish photographer, Kjell-Åke Andersson  - now a well-known TV and film director. The images were donated to the Winding House last year by Kjell-Åke himself, who returned to South Wales to officially open the exhibition on 3rd May. His unique photographs reflect the social, community and working life of mining families during the 1970s.

The Minister also received a tour by Museums and Heritage Officer, Emma Wilson, who guided him through the galleries and the museum’s Heritage Research Centre and activity room where schools, local groups and visitors can participate in events and activities to find out more about the history of the borough.

Finally the historic winding engine whirred into action thanks to the dedicated team of volunteers who maintain the engine and run it for the public on special event days.

The Minister then officially presented the museum’s Accreditation certificate, awarded by CyMAL, which demonstrates the museum’s achievements in the areas of museum management, collection care and public service. 

Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths said: " This Standard gives museums the opportunity to demonstrate the quality of their work as stewards of our cultural heritage. The Winding House is an excellent example of what happens when dedicated staff and volunteers put the Standard into action and I would like to congratulate all involved."

The Minister also had the opportunity to meet with a Caerphilly County Borough Council Passport Programme participant, Elinor Craven. A recent graduate in Ancient History and Archaeology, this opportunity is providing Elinor with relevant experience to help move into a career in the museums and heritage field.

Cllr Ken James, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Sustainable Development was also present to welcome the Minister. He said, “The Winding House is one of our borough’s treasures and draws thousands of visitors from across the world each year. I’d like to thank the staff and volunteers who ensure that this wonderful resource is available for everyone to enjoy.”

 See more photos of the Minister's visit here.

Published September 2013.

From the Valleys to “Wallander” – new "Coalfaces" exhibition officially opened by Kjell-Åke Andersson


Kjell-Åke Andersson in front of one of the exhibition panels with an image of him from the 1970s when he first visited Bargoed.

Friday 3rd May saw the official opening of an insightful new exhibition at the Winding House. ‘Coalfaces: a mining community in photos – Bargoed in the 1970s’ features a series of remarkable and personal photographs taken in and around the Bargoed area in the 1970s by a young Swedish photographer, Kjell-Åke Andersson.  

Andersson has gone on to be a hugely successful film and TV director, most recently working on BBC4’s Wallander.

Joining the esteemed photographer at the launch were his daughter, Matilda, who was only 7 months old when her family came to stay in Bargoed, and his grandson Bill. Also present were members of the family with whom Andersson stayed and some of the miners featured in his photographs. These residents were able to give extra insight into the joys and hardships felt by the community at the time.

Cllr Harry Andrews, Leader of Council who welcomed Andersson and his family said, “This exhibition gives due recognition to the quite incredible experience Mr Andersson had whilst in Bargoed. These photographs captured the Bargoed area just before the closure of the Bargoed Colliery and capture the unique experiences of this mining community. I’d like to thank Mr Andersson for donating these images to the museum so that both young and old can experience the remarkable sense of community.”

The exhibition opening and an interview with Kjell-Åke Andersson appeared later that evening on BBC Wales Today news.

The exhibition will be on display until Spring 2014. The Winding House is open Tuesdays-Sundays, 10am-5pm and admission is free.

Published May, 2013.                                  

 

500 visitors enjoy February Family Fun at the Winding House!


Young visitors enjoy February Family Fun at the Winding House

Over 500 people visited the Winding House during February half-term week. Visitors to the County Borough museum took the opportunity  to step back to the 1940s and discover what life was like during the Second World War.

Families enjoyed some time-travelling historical crafts, games and activities and explored more about weekly rations, air raids warning, digging for Victory and the Bevin Boys. The event also raised awareness of the affect the Second World War had on Caerphilly County Borough as well as highlighting the involvement of local people in the War.

Principal Museums and Heritage Officer, Helen Willson said,  “We were delighted to welcome so many visitors to the Winding House over half-term – and we were especially pleased to see a great mix of both new and familiar faces. ”

Visitors also took the opportunity to see the highly successful exhibition on Gelligroes man, Artie Moore and his links with RMS Titanic – now in its final weeks.

Comments from visitors during half-term included:

“The children love it and it’s a great place to visit.”

“Always very good exhibitions and activities.”

“The children love the Winding House – good half term activities, very educational and fun!”

The Titanic, the Mill and the Signal – Artie Moore and Titanic’s SOS” closes on 28th February, 2013.

Published February, 2013.

Winding House learning programme wins Sandford Award


Lifelong Learning Officer, Mark Batchelder, being presented with the Sandford Award, by the Duchess of Marlborough.

The Winding House has recently been awarded the Sandford Award for museum heritage education - one of only 2 sites in Wales to be granted the award this year.  Lifelong Learning Officer, Mark Batchelder, was presented with award by the Duchess of Marlborough at a special ceremony in Blenheim Palace in late November.

The award is an independently judged assessment of heritage education within the historic and cultural environment and is granted in recognition of the excellence of educational services and facilities and outstanding contribution to heritage education.

The Winding House runs a range of learning programmes for schools based around themes such as the Romans, Mediaeval Wales, Life in Wartime and Mining Life in the 1930s.

An assessor from the Sandford Award scheme visited the museum in July and observed one of the learning workshops in action. She strongly commended the Winding House learning programme and commented,

The Winding House is a lovely local history museum that makes good use of its collections and the stories of local people in the past, as well as housing an impressive winding engine.  The education programme for schools focuses on real stories and objects and encourages children to think and discover.”

Museum staff are thrilled at the award and its recognition of the quality of learning offered to schools by the Winding House.

The award judge concluded her assessment by stating that the delivery of the Winding House learning programme

"is energetic and enthusiastic and is some of the best I have witnessed in museum learning.”

Find out more about our Learning programme.

Published January, 2013.

Young People become curators at the Winding House!


Members of "My Museum" with the exhibition case they helped design and interpret

A group of lucky children from Caerphilly County Borough recently had the opportunity to take control of their county museum at the Winding House in New Tredegar, with the return of the “My Museum!” young volunteers project.

Following the success of the project from previous years, another group of 10 young people - aged 9-14 years - became mini-Curators for the week, discovering how museums look after their collections and picking a selection of objects to go on display in the gallery. The objects were based around the theme of the coal mining industry and the children developed their learning and knowledge of this topic as well as producing audio descriptions of the objects,  in order to explain their significance to visitors.

The culmination of the week was the redesign of a large exhibition case in the museum’s main gallery. The children helped to choose the objects for display, and also helped decide how they should be interpreted for visitors, before seeing the case officially unveiled in front of friends and family on 17th August.

Museum Visitor Assistants Emma Vile and Geraint King, who led the activity explained, “we’re keen to regularly refresh our main exhibition gallery and wanted to ensure local community involvement. This is the 4th year of the “My Museum” project and each year we’ve been thrilled at the enthusiasm and commitment of the children involved. We were especially pleased this year to have more children than ever taking part.”

The objects selected include a sinker’s hat worn by one of the men who helped “sink” the pits in collieries throughout the County Borough in the early 1900s, the hooter from Britannia Colliery, a water jack and sandwich tin belonging to a miner from Bedwas , canteen checks for Elliot Colliery, and a key for a locker in the Pit Head Baths at Penallta Colliery. 

They will remain on display in the West Gallery of the Winding House, along with the children’s audio descriptions.

Published August, 2012.

New Winding House exhibition a Titanic success!


Winding House Titanic Exhibition

The new exhibition at the County Borough museum, the Winding House in New Tredegar, has already proved to be a huge hit, with nearly 1000 visitors in its first 10 days.

 The Titanic, the Mill and the Signal: Artie Moore and Titanic’s SOS, explores the fascinating story of Artie Moore from Gelligroes Mill, near Pontllanfraith, who received RMS Titanic 's SOS signal, on the night of 15th April, 1912 on his homemade wireless radio equipment. The exhibition also highlights some other local links to the famous ship and the story of the tragic sinking itself.

News of the Winding House exhibition has travelled far and wide, with articles referring to Artie Moore and the museum featuring in publications as diverse as the Guardian, The San Francisco Chronicle, Iran Daily News, The Hindu and The Washington Post! A member of museum staff has even had an interview live on Detroit-based radio station, WJR, in Michigan, USA, to explain more about the exhibition.

Principal Museums and Heritage Officer, Helen Willson says “We are absolutely thrilled by the overwhelming response we’ve had to the exhibition since its opening on Good Friday. We’ve been delighted to welcome lots of people who have never visited the Winding House before, while many of our regular visitors have told us the exhibition is our best one yet! We’re especially pleased that newspapers around the world have, quite rightly, recognised how fascinating Artie Moore’s story is.”

The Winding House has been further boosted by a recent new loan to the exhibition as Blackwood and District Amateur Radio Society has very kindly loaned Artie’s spark gap transmitter for the exhibition. This is the only surviving piece of his radio equipment and will be a significant addition to the displays.

Helen continues, “ For those who haven’t yet had the chance to visit the exhibition, there’s plenty of opportunity as The Titanic, the Mill and the Signal will be on display for the rest of the year.”

The Winding House is open Tuesdays-Sundays, 10am-5pm and admission is free. For more information about the exhibition or the Winding House itself call 01443 822 666.

Published April, 2012.

 

Winding House acquires 2000 year old Roman ring


2000 year old Roman ring

The Winding House is thrilled to have recently acquired a 2000 year old Roman silver finger-ring, which was found on Cefn Brithdir in the Darran Valley.

The ring was found by a metal detectorist earlier this year. Realising straight away that it was possibly made of silver and over 200 years old, thus making it officially "treasure", the gentleman went through all the correct legal channels necessary under the Treasure Act and contacted the Finds Officer, Portable Antiquities Scheme.

The ring was passed to the National Museum in Cardiff which identified it as a typical Roman silver finger ring from the 1st or 2nd Century AD, although its gemstone is missing.

It was declared to be treasure trove and placed in the care of the British Museum who then offered the ring to the Winding House, as it was discovered within the boundaries of Caerphilly County Borough.

The ring was purchased by the Winding House Friends and Volunteers through donations made by members of the public.

Museums and Heritage Officer, Emma Wilson stated, "We are very pleased and excited to have acquired the ring for the Winding House collection."

She continued, "We don't of course know who the ring belonged to - whether it was a Roman soldier marching across Cefn Brithdir, or perhaps was worn by a settler in the area. We have plans to involve local schoolchildren in a creative writing exercise to come up with their own suggestions."

Delighted staff collected the ring from the British Museum in late November and have now put it on display in the West Gallery of the Winding House.

Published March, 2012.

Winding House voted a Top 10 Valleys Essential!


During January and February, 2011 visitors and residents were urged to vote for their favourite Valleys attraction in a ‘Top 50’ poll launched by The Valleys Heart and Soul marketing campaign and ‘Rough Guide’ author Mike Parker.

The results are in and the Winding House has been voted a Top 10 Valleys Essential! The museum was unfortunately not on Mike Parker’s original list of 50 Valleys Essentials but so many visitors and members of the public voted for the Winding House to be included in the Top 50 that it topped “The People’s Choice” and went straight to number 9!

A special launch took place in Sidoli’s Café in Ebbw Vale on 14th March and the museum was presented with a plaque in recognition of its achievement. The Winding House even had a mention that morning on Jamie and Louise’s show on BBC Radio Wales!

Museum staff are thrilled at the result especially as the Winding House gained its spot through the ‘People’s Choice’ vote, which shows how important the museum is to the local community and sincerely thank everyone who voted!

Find out more: www.thevalleys.co.uk

Published March, 2012.

Quality Assured at the Winding House!


The Winding House has been officially approved by CyMAL and Visit Wales as a quality assured visitor attraction.

The museum was assessed through the Visitor Attraction Quality Assessment Service (VAQAS), on various aspects such the welcome, friendliness and efficiency of staff, the general appearance of the site and the quality of interpretation offered to visitors.

The assessor praised the “fascinating insight” offered to visitors by the exhibition galleries and historic winding house, and the “excellent facilities” of the Coffee Shop and Gift Shop, stating that the museum “fully merited” its accreditation under VAQAS.

Museums and Heritage Officer, Emma Wilson stated, “we are thrilled to have received approval through the VAQAS scheme . We hope it will help us further develop our potential as a museum and visitor attraction and are delighted to have received recognition for the quality of visitor experience on offer.”

The official VAQAS report concluded that the Winding House ”clearly provides an important hub for the local community - past, present and future.”

Winding House newsletter launched!


We've just launched our new quarterly newsletter!

Full of updates, information and the latest news about our exciting past and future projects, the newsletter will be produced  every 3 or 4 months, so that we can share all our plans and developments with you.

Click on the images below to download the latest newsletter now.

  

Click on the images below to see previous newsletters.

                  

 

               

Click to download latest newsletter-Summer 2014               Click for Welsh text

 

Click to download newsletter for Spring 2014                 Click for Welsh text

 

Winding House wins special new national commendation award!


The Winding House museum in New Tredegar is celebrating after being awarded a ‘Special Commendation for Outstanding Contribution to their Local Community’ in this year’s Kids in Museums, Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award. This is the first time any museum has been given such a commendation and is in recognition of the testimonies local families gave to their museum, saying how much it meant to them. One visitor commented, ““It’s a brilliant museum for families, hands on and the whole experience is a two-way thing.”

Dea Birkett, Director, Kids in Museums says,

“We’ve never given a special commendation for working with the local community before, but nominations from local families for Winding House were so powerful we wanted to acknowledge their excellence in this field. The undercover family judges who were sent out to the six shortlisted museums reported back that Winding House was particularly committed to serving their community, welcoming families, supporting and enabling them to discover their own heritage. They listened, shared and included. They deserve this special award.”

Winding House staff receiving their award from Minister of State for Culture, Ed Vaizey MP (right) and Kids in Museums President, Philip Mould

 

They were pipped to the post by 120-year-old Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle, Cumbria which shone through as the most welcoming on all counts, from the temporary exhibitions to the toilets. The Family Friendly Museum Award is the biggest museum award in Britain. This year, the Award broke all previous records with over 850 nominations, from tiny one-roomed galleries to museums of international reputation. It’s the only Award where families pick the winner.

Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport & Tourism added,

“Congratulations to the Winding House for achieving such special recognition. We want to see more people participating in culture and heritage, which brings many educational and social opportunities, so it is very encouraging that the Winding House is making its museum welcoming and enjoyable for families.“

Principal Museums and Heritage Officer Helen Willson says “We are absolutely thrilled to have been given this special new award by the Telegraph and Kids in Museums. To be given a national award for “outstanding contribution to our local community” – and to have inspired the award’s creation in the first place –  is testament to all the hard work undertaken by staff and volunteers to ensure that the Winding House is not only family friendly but that we engage with our community in the best way we can. We are incredibly proud of this achievement.”

Principle Museums and Heritage Officer, Helen Willson (left) and Museums and Heritage Officer, Emma Wilson with Kids in Museums Patron, Dan Snow

The winner and special commendation were announced on Thursday 24 September at an award ceremony. Amongst the celebrity guests were historian, author and Kids in Museums Patron Dan Snow; broadcaster, art expert and Kids in Museums President Philip Mould; and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey.

 

 

Visit Wales Accredited AttractionValleys Essentails Top 10

The Winding House project was financed by the
European Union's Objective 1 Programme, the Welsh Assembly Goverment
and Caerphilly County Borough Council.

European Union Objective 1 logo Welsh Assembly logo Caerphilly County Borough Council logo