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Arts and crafts in Torfaen

Torfaen is in South Wales. It has a population of around 91,000 and covers approximately 12,000 hectares. Here is a list of nearby or neighbouring counties: Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport.

The land locked county borough of Torfaen is located north of the city of Newport and has within its borders part of The Brecon Beacons National Park. The county is mainly administered from offices in the town of Pontypool, which has a history of heavy industry and where during the seventeenth century the Japanning of metal was developed, enabling metal objects to made both decorative and resistant to corrosion. Pontypool Park, which until the early twentieth century was the grounds for Pontypool House, has open grass covered spaces with woodland and landscaped gardens. The park hosts a variety of popular events and has a range of sporting facilities. Landmarks in the park include the Folly Tower and the Gorsedd stone circle, added in 1923 to mark the holding of the Welsh National Eisteddfod in 1924. Also within the park is Pontypool Museum, which has exhibits dating from the past few centuries, including collections of historic tools from various trades, household appliances, toys, clocks, furniture, decorative arts and crafts, as well as a collection of prints and paintings.

The town of Blaenavon is in the north of the county and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its industrial history. The iron and coal industries attracted workers to Blaenavon from the late eighteenth century and the first railway viaduct in the world was built there. Industry declined during the twentieth century and today visitors to the museum and heritage centre can learn about life and work in the town, which played an important role in the industrial revolution. There is also a gallery which serves as a venue for exhibitions of photography and works of art, which sometimes includes exhibits created by local people. The largest town in Torfaen is Cwmbran, a new town built during the mid twentieth century, in an area that had been dominated by the coal mining and iron industries and which today has one of the largest covered shopping centres in Wales. Most of the listed buildings found across Torfaen were built during the eighteenth and nineteenth century and reflect the counties industrial past.