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The Blaenau Project


The Blaenau Project

We have endeavoured to cover as many areas as possible to try and give the widest possible picture of what is involved. Although it will not be an overnight success, it will over a period of time become a fully accessible catalogue of the history of the Blaenau area. The benefits of the project would be many. Apart from the obvious legacy to hand down to future generations, the involvement of – ideally - the whole community will help bind old and new residents into an unified population with a pride in the town’s heritage. The subsequent setting up of a heritage centre for local, tourist and educational purposes would add something to the town that would be of inestimable future benefit.

Detailed breakdown for specified groupings:
The target here is to find out when each currently occupied house within the project area was actually built. Possible sources:
Current owners - Could be canvassed individually either by personal visits or by leaflet distribution. This could also be a project for local schools.
County Council records - The most recent housing developments will be known by various County Council departments
Land Registry - Queries are normally costly therefore an official request by the Town Council would possibly reduce costs. Possibly to be used to fill in the gaps remaining at the end of the local survey.

In the area there are a number of derelict buildings some of which are quite old. Some buildings, including dwellings, have existed but have now been buried by slate waste etc. The target here is to catalogue these from early maps and then find their construction date, and their period of occupancy. Includes farms. Any interesting historical or social information relating to these buildings should also be logged.
Possible sources:- Ordinance Survey and Tithe Maps.
A study of the first edition 1881 OS maps will give a solid indication of buildings in existence then – either occupied or already derelict.
Estate maps - These, if existing, will also help furnish a starting list.
Census Records - The censuses from 1841 to 1901 will provide a list of buildings occupied on Census Day. These could then be matched to mapped information.
Mine Records - Certain mine surface plans may also indicate the existence of old dwellings.

The introduction of schools into the area forms part of the basic social history of the town and current premises are far removed from the original sites in most cases. The data needed here would encompass locations, type of school, dates of establishment, closure, movement and change of use/demolition as well as any records of pupil numbers, and head-masters/mistresses.
Likewise Hospitals, Surgeries and Clinics – both quarry owned and public funded need cataloguing with the inclusion of any data on the health of the town through the ages.
A host of other public buildings have been grouped here, such as the Market Hall, Cinemas, Lodges and Libraries.
Possible sources:- Local Education Authority and predecessors
Details of current schools should be easily available and it would be hoped that these schools would take on the mapping of local education as a whole.
Local Health Authority - Records of the present hospitals etc should be readily available from this body and may even have earlier data. The local County Planning Offices may be able to assist in this respect also.
Local knowledge - Would need to be tapped in depth regarding information on the other public buildings but both Post Office Ltd and the County Council (inc. previous Meirionnydd CC records) should cover libraries in some depth.
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