Built in 1892 as a market hall for the people of Newcastle Emlyn and gifted to them by Lord Cawdor, the hall is now managed by the Town Council and houses the Attic Theatre, Hanes Emlyn, market stalls, a shop, and meeting room.

Newcastle Emlyn Town Council has received funding from Innovative Communities to match the £247,000 which it secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund and CADW to fund the refurbishment of the hall and the Rural Community Inclusion project will fund a manager’s post. A further application will be made to The Prince’s Countryside fund for the remainder of the capital works.

Work being carried out includes: re-roofing of the building with insulation, re-pointing to protect and preserve the structure, refurbishment of the existing windows and construction of a glassed Victorian style canopy over the forecourt.

RDP Sir Gâr Community Development Officer Helen Williams said: “The aim is to improve the local heritage by preserving this currently underused building whilst opening up a vast number of opportunities for a wide range of activities for all age groups. Also, following on from the work being completed, it is hoped that three full-time jobs will be created.”

Three business units will be available to local businesses and the new interpretation centre within the building will be a key focus, including a regular display in Hanes Emlyn based upon areas such as the workhouse, and the arrival of the railway.

Local school children will be able to undertake work associated with the various key stages in their education and to use multimedia interpretations of local history and the Town Council have been working with the Allen Raine Society (Allen Raine was a local author who was born in Bank House opposite the hall) on workshops on writing skills. Regular updates on activities in the Hall will be posted to the new town website: www.newcastleemlyn.com

To go with the new heritage trail funded by RDP Sir Gâr’s Landscape and Heritage grant, the project will also train and recruit volunteer leaders for history walks both in the town and around the castle grounds to boost tourism.