Former community cornerstone, Bethania Chapel in Maesteg, is being given a £100,000 boost from the National Lottery.
Much-needed structural repairs to the 109-year-old protected chapel will be accompanied by an exhibition in the chapel vestry about the building’s history, and the rise of Nonconformity in Wales.
Broadcaster and journalist Huw Edwards, who is Patron of the Welsh Religious Buildings Trust/Addoldai Cymru which owns Bethania, commented: “This is a great boost for Addoldai Cymru as it develops its vital work to protect some of our best chapel buildings.
“Bethania, Maesteg, is a great example of Nonconformist architecture and is a very important part of the heritage of Maesteg and the Llynfi Valley. Let’s hope we see more projects getting this kind of support.”
Designed by local architect Sir William Beddoe Rees, Bethania is today recognised as one of his greatest accomplishments.
Local history groups will work with project leaders to source artefacts, archive material and information for the exhibition. Visitors can also speak to chapel history experts and bring their own artefacts along for logging digitally, while memories of the chapel can be recorded and preserved for the future.
Ogmore AM Huw Irranca-Davies added: “Wales’s historic and diverse places of worship are so often at the heart of our communities, and Bethania Chapel is no exception. This project will not only conserve this hugely important building, which is in dire need of repair, but will also bring together local groups with a shared passion for preserving their community’s heritage in the process.”
Richard Bellamy, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this closed building will be able to be accessed once again by the public who can also contribute to the project themselves – an excellent example of how National Lottery money can help protect a much-loved building so it can continue to serve its local community.”