about the metropole
intro / the metropole has had a long and varied history at the heart of abertillery.
Culture, Conference, Community
A unique blend of the traditional and the ultra modern, The Met (as it is known locally) has stood at the heart of the community of Abertillery for over 100 years. Originally known as the Metropole Theatre and Dance Hall, it has had a significant role in the history of Abertillery since it's construction in 1892, and has always been recognised as a hub in the cultural life of the community.
The Met is recognised as the centre for cultural events, activities and performances in Abertillery, as well as operating as a successful conference and meeting venue. Along with the professional artists, local societies and businesses which utilise the excellent facilities, the building is a base for FFIN Dance as the Dance Company in Residence, and has forged links with cultural organisations in Europe, who visit and perform regularly.
A complete overhaul and refurbishment of the entire building between 1999 and 2006 meant The Met was transformed into a leading venue for business and industry conferences and AGM's in Wales. Today, we boast three main conference facilities – the Victorian Theatre, the Seabourne Gallery and the Met Bar – boasting plasma screens, state-of-the-art PA systems and lighting, and free WiFi.
If you are interested in holding your business event at The Met, our friendly and helpful conference team will be happy to help you ensure that your event is meticulously planned and arranged to your exact requirements, from room layouts to catering. Visit our conference facilities section to find out more or to discuss your requirements and arrange a visit, please contact Paul Selway or Jackie Smith on 01495 355945 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The Met offers a packed and varied programme of cultural events and activities the whole year round. From children's face-painting and craft workshops for the whole family to pop and folk music performances, orchestras, dance shows and even puppets! You can keep right up to date with all events taking place at The Met by keeping an eye on our events section on this website.
History of the Met – The Story of an Institution
In the 1920's Abertillery was the second largest town in the county of Monmouthshire, second only to Newport. At this time it's population was an incredible 40,000, due to the expansion of the coal mining industry in the area. This growth meant that many new houses were built and most importantly a new Theatre and Dance Hall - The Metropole.
Along with other businessmen of the time, the entrepreneur who is most associated with the Metropole is a gentleman by the name of Charles John Seaborne, who had connections with the building from it's conception up until 1952, when it was then acquired by the local District Council.
In it's hey day The Met had a fantastic ballroom and dance floor, a Victorian Theatre, where many famous names performed - Charlie Chaplin amongst them, and in later years an indoor market and cinema.
Over the years the coal mining industry effectively disappeared and the town's prosperity declined. In the late 1990's the Met fell into disrepair and the building had to close due to structural problems.
The regeneration of Abertillery is high on the agenda for Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, and thanks to tireless efforts of local Councillors, local Societies and Organisations and Officers of the Council, the Met was successful in obtaining funding from a number of sources - The Welsh Assembly Government, Heads of the Valley Fund and the Wales Arts Council being the main bodies, which meant that the building could be completely refurbished as it is today.
Recognition of the building's superb facilities and place in the Community, was made when the Business was the proud recipient of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors 'Building Which Most Benefits A Community' all-Wales award in 2008.