Torfaen History

Museum Collections

Here you will find a wide range of resources whether you are looking for support with a research project, interested in the history of Torfaen or planning to visit us. Drawing upon over 40 years of collecting and study, we have plenty of stories to share. Through them, come and explore Torfaen’s fascinating heritage.

Pontypool & Usk Japanware

The earliest reference to forges and iron making in Pontypool dates back to 1425. The Japanning industry was one of Pontypool’s outstanding achievements in the eighteenth century. The Japanning process took items, mostly made of metal, covered them in layers of heavy black lacquer and then over painted them with beautiful flowers, pastoral scenes, and patterns. Amgueddfa Torfaen Museum displays a range of Japanware items from its own, and national collections.
Through this website and by visiting the Museum, you will find opportunities to glimpse into the lives of our ancestors who lived throughout the county and across the centuries. Hear the tale of Bertram, a farmer living near 14th century Llantarnam Abbey. Discover the origins of Japanware and the family feud that almost destroyed the business. Have you ever wondered exactly what life was like for the family of a coal miner? Hear their stories and consider, would you like to have lived in their world?

The Story of Torfaen

The Story of Torfaen is a permanent collection that explores the rich and unique history across the whole Borough of Torfaen from Llantarnam in the south to Blaenavon in the north. The collection features prehistoric objects and medieval treasure troves, items from the industrial revolution and beyond, as well as cultural artefacts. The Story of Torfaen shows how events have shaped this South Wales Valley and its landscape, and changed the lives of those who lived and worked here.

Pontypool RFC ‘Pooler’ Exhibit

Please note that the Pooler collection is temporarily closed while we update the exhibition. Please get in touch if would like to know more about the collection.  

Rugby plays a huge role in the story of Pontypool, from the founding of the club in 1868, to the Pooler ‘Pride of Lions’ in the 1970s and 80s.

At Torfaen Museum, we hold a broad collection of items relating to this world-renowned team.

Hear tales from Ray Prosser, the famous coach who led the team to countless victories. Learn more about the successes and perhaps grab a photo with our replica scoreboard.

Tel: 01495 752036

Amgueddfa Torfaen Museum,
Park Buildings,


10am till 4pm



1pm till 4pm


Last admissions


Amgueddfa Torfaen Museum | Registered Charity Number: 507419