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These pictures of historic buildings from around Blaenau Gwent were taken by Llanhilleth photographer Linda Stemp. They showcase aspects of the region’s heritage that are particularly important to her. These relate primarily to the area’s industrial history. Image 1 shows the pithead of Blaenavon coal mine, which closed in 1980 but is now part of the Big Pit National Coal Museum. Image 2, meanwhile, is of Llanhilleth Miner’s Institute, built in 1906 to facilitate working class empowerment and still operating as a community venue today. Images 3 and 4 give different perspectives on another building whose construction was a consequence of industry. Christchurch in Aberbeeg was completed in 1909, built to service the settlements that grew up around the Six Bells Colliery. That said, its perpendicular Gothic architecture is reminiscent of the Middle Ages. In this way it alludes to an older history, before the industrial revolution. Linda’s last two photographs have more to say on that theme. Image 5 shows farm buildings of considerable age on the outskirts of Llanhilleth whilst Image 6 is of some pigeon cots in the Ebbw Valley. These last two pictures offer a reminder of Blaenau Gwent’s pre-modern past, overshadowed by industrial change but a powerful presence nonetheless to the people who live there. 

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