DAT will be working in Llanelli, a town which is renowned for its history of industry.The biggest town in the county, much of Llanelli is today included in Carmarthenshire’s Communities First Cluster area and is not an area in which DAT has traditionally had a strong presence. Llanelli developed rapidly during the 18th and 19th centuries becoming one of Wales’ major industrial towns, with coal, iron and tinplate its principal products, giving it the name of ‘Tinopolis’. Decline during the second half of the 20th century lead to the abandonment, dereliction and demolition of large numbers of industrial buildings and this, coupled with recent large-scale out-of-town development, has left many of the older parts of the town run-down, unused, unloved and neglected.
Much does survive from Llanelli’s heyday, but attitudes to it are ambivalent, and while some landmark buildings have been restored, many others continue to decline. Social and economic problems have accompanied industrial decline, with some Llanelli communities suffering multiple deprivation. This project aims to investigate the impact which out-of-town shopping centres and the decline of Llanelli’s industry have had on its historic town centre.With many young people unaware of the history and nature of the buildings in their town, the project will work on awareness raising and the documentation of Llanelli’s rich heritage through artistic and archaeological responses to its built environment.