Llwynypia Powerhouse Public Art Strategy
This public art strategy was commissioned by the Rhondda Powerhouse Trust as part of a wider restoration project which aims to both preserve the fabric of the building, create a new interior and secure the building’s future with sustainable uses.
Through site-visits and research, consultation with the architects, Trustees and other stakeholders, we developed the strategy which describes a number of ways in which artists can contribute to the Powerhouse to enhance its appearance and to add crafted detail to its already distinctive shell. The overall aim is for commissioned artworks to become a functioning part of the building and add to the visitors’ pleasure as well as their understanding of the Powerhouse and its history.
The Powerhouse drove the pumps for the Glamorgan Colliery which was the largest and most profitable pit in the Rhondda Valley with its rich seams of steam coal. In 1910 an event happened which guaranteed the Powerhouse’s place in history - it was the site of the Tonypandy riots.
All other traces of the Glamorgan Colliery have gone, but the Grade II Listed Powerhouse remains. Built in 1905, the architectural style is reminiscent of a Welsh Chapel, and the ceiling height inside is cathedral-like with the bow-trussed travelling crane, bearing the name ‘J Booth & Bros Ltd, Engineers Rodney nr Leeds’ still intact. It now stands as a powerful reminder not only of the coal mining industry, of which there are many other structures in South Wales, but of democratic empowerment, the power of the people in acting collectively.
The Rhondda Powerhouse Trust was set up in 2006 to restore the building and bring it into the 21st century for the benefit of the whole community.