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Competition: Brymbo Heritage Area

Brymbo Heritage Area
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The Brymbo Heritage Trust is recruiting an architect for a £7.5 million restoration and conversion of a former ironworks, colliery and steelworks in Wrexham, Wales

The winner of the estimated £200,000 contract will draw up plans for a new visitor centre and business incubator inside a former machine shop, while also restoring and converting a range of other disused industrial buildings across the historic site.

The project, planned to complete in 2021, is the first phase of a wider vision to transform the complex into a ‘vibrant, heritage-led, mixed-use destination’ focusing on industrial history and modern renewable energy. New hard landscaping and car parking will be delivered while a recently discovered fossilised forest, between 280 and 320 million years old, will also be covered to allow excavation.

According to the brief: ‘Brymbo Heritage Trust is concerned with spaces and buildings, their meaning, and the sense of community pride and identity that stems from their use in people’s everyday lives. Its mission is to sustainably return the former iron and steelworks complex at Brymbo near Wrexham to positive uses as a visitor attraction, learning hub, small business centre and focus for community events.

‘Brymbo Heritage Area contains a fossilised forest, captured between two coal seams; Brymbo Ironworks; the Blast Colliery; parts of Brymbo Steelworks; and open space. The trust’s vision sees all of these structures and spaces eventually being put to constructive use. The 2015 masterplan (produced with the Prince’s Regeneration Trust) described this vision and proposed the composition of the first block of capital works.’

The Brymbo Steelworks started operation as an ironworks and colliery in 1796 and grew into a major industrial complex, employing 1,100 people at the time of its closure in the 1990s. The large site, which is being partially converted into housing, still features the historic furnace, foundry, casting house, pattern shop, and charging wall of the original ironworks.

Other surviving elements include the colliery’s winding house, lamp room, railyard, retaining wall, and pit head; and the steelwork’s winch room and slope, rail workings, coke chute, machine shop. 

The latest project aims to conserve and convert several dilapidated buildings within the complex including the Grade II*-listed Agent’s House, the Blast Colliery, Pattern and Joiners’ Workshop, and the Foundry and Cast House. The structures will be transformed into flexible temporary spaces for visitor, heritage and business use.

The 1920s machine shop will meanwhile be converted into a new welcome and interpretation centre featuring an exhibition, shop, café, learning and meeting areas, an events space and rentable workshops. A new building will also be constructed to cover the fossilised forest prior to excavation and interpretation.

The deadline for applications is 10.30am on 24 April.

How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Brymbo Enterprise Centre
Blast Road
LL11 5BT

Tel: +44 8007720981
Email: gary.brown@brymboheritage.co.uk 

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