What difference will Stori Brymbo make then?
The spaces occupied by the old buildings, their associated structures and landscapes have come to be known locally as ‘Brymbo Heritage Area’. We're using our heritage to build a new future, where those spaces are brought back into positive use as 'Stori Brymbo: A 300 Million Year Journey' - part visitor attraction, part community facility, part commercial space, and part learning centre...combining to make something far greater than the sum of its parts, and all driven by its community. The story and the journey it describes are simultaneously historical and forward looking, using our past to inspire future generations.
The heritage spaces form about a third of the land that’s being taken forward as a multi-stakeholder mixed-use regeneration scheme that includes new homes along with new retail units, pub/restaurant, health centre and primary school, known as ‘Brymbo Park’.
Between 2022 and 2027 Stori Brymbo will:
1 - Allow us to explore and celebrate the Fossil Forest, by undertaking excavations and in-situ conservation works that involve a wide range of people as residents, visitors, volunteers, students and professionals, under the leadership of the Trust’s Palaeontologist with guidance from Natural Resources Wales and National Museums Wales. We will be able to expand the footprint of the current building, and consolidate it to achieve its permanence.
2 - Allow us to repair and repurpose the 1920 Machine Shop to serve a mix of economic and practical functions that will allow our venture to prosper into the future.
For the public this means having access to the front half of the building that will contain our:
- Visitor welcome centre and admissions desk;
- Coffee shop/catering offer;
- Souvenir/gift shop;
- Gallery and exhibition space;
- Virtual reality experience;
- Oral history recording space;
- Lettable customer-facing business units;
- Principal customer-facing Trust office; and
- Changing Spaces and general toilet facilities.
For our volunteers, staff, trustees and our partners delivering learning programmes this means having access to the rear portion of the building that will contain our:
- Practical workshop/maintenance space;
- Tools, materials and equipment storage;
- Meeting room;
- Principal ‘back-office’ Trust office;
- Kitchen; and
3 – Allow for the full external restoration of the late 18th century Grade II* listed Agent’s House, returning it to its simple, humble and beautiful original appearance, involving residents in the restoration, and safeguarding its future. Once complete, visitors will be amazed by the juxtaposition of the 18th century exterior with the story-telling function of the funky interior, where changing landscapes will be explained, amid tales of the people that led those changes.
4 – Allow for the full external and internal restoration of the Scheduled Monument 1840s Pattern Makers’ and Joiners’ Workshop (‘Pattern Shop’ for short). A split-level building with 3 floors for almost two-thirds of its length its primary function be the housing of an extensive hands-on and walk-through interpretation space at ground floor level explaining the science and crafts involved in iron and steel making. Its top floor will initially be completed as a shell only, ready for volunteers and learners to make it usable as a space for sessional hire – for meetings, lectures, and private hire functions. Sandwiched in-between will be a shallow middle that can act as a store for our many wooden iron-making patterns.
5 – Allow for the Foundry and Casting House to receive vital repairs to their walls, crane gantries, arched spaces and surrounding ground covering, making them safely accessible to visitors, and hosting a series of interpretative panels and an audio installation to convey the drama of the heavy industry that was there.
6 – Allow for the Blast Furnace to receive structural stabilisation repairs and safety works that will permit visitors to walk through its blasting chamber and marvel at the scale of its interior.
7 – Allow for repairs to both the West and North sections of the mighty Charging Wall, safeguarding them and improving public safety.
8 – Allow for adjustments to be made to the post-closure landscape (which sits immediately infront of the Blast Furnace and below the North Charging Wall) to encourage visitors to explore the area, appreciate the archaeology that awaits further excavation below, and venture into a series of shipping containers adapted to act as walk-through exhibition conveying the evolution of Brymbo Steelworks from 1885 to 1990. This will include a virtual reality component (shared with the Machine Shop) that will draw visitors into a recreation of the steelworks, wowing them with perceived scale and awe.
9 – Allow for minor roofing repairs to the Blast Colliery, permitting its use as a shelter and occasional venue for activities amongst its surrounding ecologically diverse landscape.
10 – Allow for a range of landscaping improvements that will make the site more accessible to all, help to tie the many built components together, aid visitors navigation, support the variety of uses and audience sizes expected (ie daily visitors and occasional high volume events), and safeguard below-ground archaeology for future investigation and exploration.
11- Allow a wide range of activities to take place that support the engagement of two primary target audiences - people with disabilities, and low income families. Aided by physical improvements including the provision of a Changing Spaces toilet, but more importantly through the involvement of empathic and skilled staff and volunteers, Stori Brymbo will gain a reputation for its inclusivity and enjoyability for people of all backgrounds.
12 – Allow a broad range of activities and events aimed at all audiences, but especially at local residents, that offer leisure and recreation along with opportunities for volunteering and learning all year round.
13 – Allow the Trust to further develop its offer to post-14 learners by working on annual delivery plans with vocational, further, higher, and adult/community learning partners, using the Machine Shop as a hireable space for delivery, and the wider site as a canvas for learners to acquire, develop and apply new practical skills.
14 – Allow the Trust to create three high quality apprenticeship opportunities in the disciplines of facilities management, landscape management and visitor management, supporting the growth and development of local learners and providing for key elements of organisational competence and succession.
15 – Allow the Trust to further strengthen its strategic and operational partnership in the public, third and private sectors, enhancing its value in the region and supporting its long-term prospects of further growth, development and sustainability.