9:38am Monday 19th May 2014
IT took a nine-year campaign to raise the funds, followed by years of renovation work, but the new-look Newbridge Memo is almost complete.
The last part of renovation work at the Memo has been delayed by a couple of months due to the winter weather, but chairman of trustees Howard Stone said it is hoped the building would now be ready by September.
The Argus reported how the first phase of the £5.6 million restoration project of the Grade II listed building was completed in 2013.
This resulted in a library, which boasts a computer learning suite with 17 free public-access computers, and an event space for talks and community activities, already being up and running at the historical miners’ institute off the town’s high street.
The rest of the work will include a restoration of the adjoining Memorial Hall, where the cinema and ballroom will be given a facelift.
Mr Stone said: “It’s getting close to the finish.
“The original aim was the end of June for some events to begin in August but unfortunately because of the horrendous weather caused a lot of moisture damage, causing some unfortunate delays, which we are sad about obviously.
“We are now looking for the end of August, start of September, although there is not a confirmed opening date yet. We feel certain we will be holding events from late September.
“When it is all finished, the feeling will be one of satisfaction. It’s still a building site at the moment but it will be one of the most prestigious venues in south Wales. When it will be restored, its original design and original colour schemes in true 1920s/30s style will remain.”
Restoration work follows a nine-year campaign by local people to raise the funds, backed by the Argus, with it forming a major part of Caerphilly council’s £12 million regeneration of Newbridge.
The Memo was originally built to commemorate the people who died during the First World War.
Mr Stone added: “We had initially intended to hold an opening event on August 4, on the day the war broke out, but unfortunately that won’t be the case anymore.
“But still, we are re-dedicating the hall to those who died in battle and there will be a very impressive memorial garden in the front when it is finished.”
“We have a footfall of around 800 people a week but a lot of people who live in the area don’t even know we are still functioning, and have been now for a year or so. We would also like to appeal to members and volunteers to come forward and help with various events, because we count on people like them to keep the fundraising going.”
To help Newbridge Memo during any upcoming events, or to volunteer, contact 01495 243252.
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