Modern Newbridge

Mining eventually ceased in the mid-1980s, after surviving the 1926 general strike, the 1930s Depression and post-war nationalisation, but became unsustainable following the UK miners’ strike (1984-1985). The Institute became a drinking club.

Since the end of coal mining, new leisure facilities have been constructed in Newbridge. Residents have also reported the return to the area of birds such as heronsbuzzards and kestrels.

After some delays, the Ebbw Valley Railway, running from Ebbw Vale Parkway railway station to Cardiff Central railway station, opened in February 2008. Newbridge is one of seven stations on the line.

A bridge linking the main town of Newbridge with the school and leisure centre over the Ebbw River was completed at a cost of over £3 million and was opened by Joe Calzaghe in November 2009.

Sport and leisure

Newbridge Rugby Union Football Club plays in the WRU Championship.

Newbridge Boxing Club is the base of Team Calzaghe whose famous member Joe Calzaghe retired in 2009 as an undefeated world champion.

Newbridge Swimming Pool (photo 2007)

Newbridge has a public leisure centre which was opened in January 1997. The complex includes a swimming pool and a fitness suite which was enlarged from one to two floors in 2007.

Institute & Memorial Hall

The Celynen Collieries’ Institute (1908) and Memorial Hall (1925) on High Street, are both listed buildings, the Memo being Grade II*. The Institute is unusual as the miners themselves built it, borrowing the money through a private mortgage. The Memo was built to commemorate the 75 Newbridge men who died in the First World War. It is still the focus of Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday activities every year. The Memo contains a ballroom with a sprung dance floor and an art deco auditorium which was designed to be both a theatre and a cinema. Both buildings now provide community facilities for local groups and societies, live music and community events but are both in urgent need of repair. After the mines closed, the Institute & Memorial Hall lost its income and became a drinking club. In 2004, when the local council was considering purchasing the land for a car park, a public meeting called by local MP Don Touhig led to the formation of The Friends of Newbridge Memo who got the buildings onto the BBC2 programme Restoration. They narrowly missed winning the final but received assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fundto begin the long process of raising money to restore both buildings. After a development grant was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in summer 2009, Cadw and Caerphilly County Borough Council are actively supporting the scheme and the Big Lottery awarded £500,000 in December 2009. In July 2010 it was announced that the Heritage Lottery would grant the project £2.9 million to restore the buildings.

Education

Newbridge Comprehensive School is located in the town, catering for some 1,000 pupils aged 11 to 16. Tynewydd Primary School in Greenfield, Pantside Primary School, and Pentwynmawr Primary School cater for 4- to 11-year-olds.

Notable people

Notable people to have grown up in Newbridge include world-champion boxer Joe Calzaghe CBE; Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown; Steve Strange, frontman of New Romantic band Visage; and Sir Terry Matthews OBE, high-tech entrepreneur and owner of the Celtic Manor ResortBritish Lions and Welsh rugby union captain and coach John Dawes OBE is from Chapel-Of-Ease, near Newbridge.

Etymology

The Welsh placename for Newbridge is often incorrectly shown on OS Maps as Cefn Bychan. It is in fact Trecelyn, meaning the town of the holly trees.

 

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