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Thurley Review

Thurley Review The Cabinet Secretary for Economy

and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, commissioned a

review by Dr Simon Thurley to look at the success,

resilience and sustainability of Amgueddfa Cymru -

National Museum Wales. The final report contains a

number of recommendations on future governance,

partnership working, finance and income generation.

Extract from the Thurley Report 2017


8 National Roman Legion Museum



Caerleon is an extremely attractive small town of around 5,000 people containing

Roman monuments and collections of international significance. These monuments and collections are currently shown in a disconnected way by two separate organisations funded by the Welsh Government. As an outsider it is baffling that Amgueddfa Cymru and Cadw both operate sites in the town and that, despite some co-operation, the two operations have not been merged into a seamless visitor experience.



The National Roman Legion Museum is a fine building of 1850 with various later additions and contains an excellent collection urgently in need of re-display. A garden and reconstructed Roman rooms are popular with schools and families, but are also looking a bit tired. The museum receives 70,000 visitors a year, mainly tourists and mostly families.



Cadw has a number of guardianship monuments in the town and its own separate

museum for the baths. Other than an excellent guidebook the interpretation provided

by Cadw in the amphitheatre and fortress is limited and badly maintained. The legionary baths received a lottery grant in 2010 and displays there are modern and attractive. The baths receive around 40,000 visitors a year.



It is worth reiterating that despite horrible traffic problems Caerleon is an extremely

charming place whose interest and attractiveness is only enhanced by the fact of the

remarkable Roman remains. In my view Cadw should enter into a local management

agreement with the museum and the Amgueddfa Cymru should take over running the whole experience. I suggest this rather than Cadw taking it on as the collections are a key component of the site and this is where the museum’s expertise lies.



The local authority should be brought into partnership and help sort out the awful parking and traffic problems. There are opportunities for local businesses to benefit from a more coherent and carefully constructed visitor offer. There is also an opportunity for the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to fund an ambitious project that brings together the whole town including a heritage townscape initiative. A separate bid to the HLF by Amgueddfa Cymru alone should be strongly discouraged.



The commercial performance of Caerleon and the commercial opportunities that exist are considered below in section 15.

Recommendation 4: That the Welsh Government should rationalise the fragmented

management of its outstanding sites at Caerleon under the management of

Amgueddfa Cymru and encourage a wider local partnership to develop the town as

a tourist honeypot in conjunction with the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Full report:

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