Risca Industrial History Museum & OHIHS
Risca Industrial History Museum
Past, Present and Future
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What?    When?    Where?    and How?

Risca Industrial History Museum houses one of the best collections of artifacts relating to the industrial heritage of the South Wales valleys.

The museum is open every Saturday from 10.00am to 12.30pm, admission is free, parking is adjacent and local experts will be available to answer questions.

You will find the museum at the Risca Colliers Institute, Grove Road, Risca, NP11 6GN. Click here to find us

You've already reached our website but you can also follow us on Facebook by clicking here :-     Facebook

It's always good to hear from people so click here or drop us a line at info (at) riscamuseum (dot) org (dot) uk


Our enforced lockdowns have given us the opportunity to pay some much needed attention to the Museum itself. Painters, scrapers, plumbers, electricians and plasterers have all been very busy.
The re-vamp is complete and we are delighted that the whole Museum, along with the outside exhibits and porch area, is once again open to the public between 10.00am and 12.30pm every Saturday. We look forward to welcoming you over the coming weeks. Members of the British Printing Association have got our 1832 Columbian Printing Press up and running and demonstrate it in action once a month.

Our Friday evening walks and talks are also in full swing with a great programme of events, so have a look at our 'Programme' page to see what's going on.

See our 1832 Columbian Printing Press at work.

We were very lucky to have rescued an 1832 'Columbian' printing press from 'Starling Press' of Risca. With the dedicated help of members of the British Printing Society, the press is back in regular working order. This years working dates are on these Saturdays :-
6 May 2023
3 June 2023
1 July 2023
29 July 2023
26 August 2023
23 September 2023
21 October 2023
18 November 2023
16 December 2023.

The Friends of Risca Museum

The Museum urgently needs more 'Friends of Risca Museum' so if you'd like to become one of our 'Friends' you will help us keep the Museum alive.

Following an increase of about £3000 in the charge to the Museum for the use of the building, the Friends of Risca Museum was launched. People who wished to support the continuing existence of this unique institution agreed to an annual donation of £10, not much more than a couple of pints of real ale. Some Friends have arranged standing orders and we hope our other Friends will renew their contribution for 2020 but we also need many more to join to guarantee the long term future of the Museum.

For 2020, we will be keeping contact with our Friends, informing them what is happening in the Museum and any exciting new acquisitions or special events. Please help if you can, what about making someone a Friend as a Christmas present? Further details are available on our 'Friends' page here :- Friends of the Museum, on our Facebook page, or just call in to the Museum on a Saturday.

Risca Industrial History Museum

What's inside the Collier's Institute?

The museum displays an extensive collection of artefacts, memorabilia and photographs illustrating some of the industrial history of the area: coal mining, the iron industry, tram roads, railways, canals etc. The collection has been built up over many years by members of the Oxford House Industrial History Society along with donations by some very generous people. The museum is run entirely by volunteers from the Society.

Before local boundary changes extinguished Islwyn Borough Council, one of their last acts was to acquire the Risca Colliers Institute by means of a European development grant, to house the museum and extend the facilities of Oxford House Adult Education Centre. The Institute was built in 1916 and is now a Grade II listed building..

Our Industrial Heritage - Iron and Coal

Iron, steel and tinplate Coal

The large ironworks at Rogerstone, Pontymister and Abercarn were the very visible presence of heavy industry in the valley with smaller forges and foundries making their own contribution to Industrial Risca.

Coal, clay and lead mines.

With deep mines at Blackvein, North Risca and Abercarn plus dozens of small levels on both sides of the valley, Risca's mining industry also played an essential part in the local economy.

Our Industrial Heritage - Commercial

Printing and other commercial activities

We were lucky to rescue one of the printing presses from 'Starling Press' of Risca which is back in regular working order. A good selection of other commercial equipment helps to set the scene.

Our Industrial Heritage - Transport

Railways, Tramroads, Canals and Buses

A veritable spider's web of transport systems wound its' way up and down the valley from the early canal and associated tramroads to today's modern bypass. Relics of these systems are still to be found in odd corners and we've assembled some pieces to remind us of their importance.

W H Thomas - The Edwardian Chemists shop

'Next patient, please'

One of our prime exhibits is the Edwardian chemist's shop of W. H. Thomas, re-erected from James Street in Cardiff using the original shop fittings and contents.

Our previous museum

Pontymister Upper School

This society had been collecting artefacts from the earliest days and in 1979 the late Wynford Vaughan Thomas opened our Risca Industrial History Museum in the old Pontymister Upper School. Pictured here is the coal dram recovered from the Blaendare level in the former museum.

In December 1979 the museum was flooded to a depth of 3 feet by the River Ebbw. Following the sale of the old school buildings and their eventual demolition, the museum was put into temporary storage, courtesy of what was then Islwyn Borough Council, until our new home was found.

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