Blaenavon grew around an ironworks opened in 1788, part of which is now a museum. The steel-making and coal mining industries followed, boosting the town's population to over 20,000 at one time , but since the ironworks closed in 1900 and the coal mine in 1980, the population has declined, and now consists mostly of older citizens.
Attempts have recently been made to turn the town's image around by introducing it as Wales's second "book town" (the first being Hay-on-Wye). However after over a year of attempts to attract visitors the project seems not to have succeeded. This can be attributed to a combination of the town's remote location and the established competition from Hay. Investments and local interest have completely transformed the town's main thoroughfare (Broad Street) from what it used to look like and the book shops (the few that survived) stock good quality and excellent value books. There are many thriving community groups within the town, including Future Blaenavon, which has helped to create a community garden at the bottom of the town.
Attractions in the town include the Big Pit National Coal Museum (an Anchor Point of ERIH, The European Route of Industrial Heritage), Blaenavon Iron Works , the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway, Blaenavon Male Voice Choir and many historical walks through Blaenavons historic mountains.
The Full Ironworks; Gavin Allen Comes from Tonypandy, Lives in Cardiff but Has Never Been to Blaenavon. So He Decided to Book Himself on One of the Very First Tours Offering to Take Visitors around the World Heritage Site. but Was It Worth It?
Jul 11, 2009; W HEN even the locals called it "Plywood City" why would anyone want a guided tour of Blaenavon? The sheer number of...