Press Releases

Pithead Baths declared treasure

This week BBC Wales’ National Treasures television programme, profiling the most iconic treasures from Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’ collections, revealed the Welsh public’s most popular artefact.   

In the last of a five part series aired on BBC2 Wales featuring 16 of the most iconic objects housed at Amgueddfa Cymru’s seven sites, Big Pit: National Coal Museum’s Pithead Baths was named Wales’ national treasure.


Following four weeks of viewers voting for their favourite item - each artefact championed by top Welsh personalities - the Pithead Baths, Bonnie Tyler’s choice of treasure, which made a massive difference to the lives of the miners and their families, came top of the list.


Peter Walker, Keeper & Manager, Big Pit: National Coal Museum said:


“We are honoured to have won this award. The people of Wales have chosen the Pithead Baths at Big Pit as their national treasure, which is quite appropriate as the Baths tell the stories of the people of Wales, and the struggles they faced in living their day-to-day lives.


“Amgueddfa Cymru has many wonderful treasures and to have the Pithead Baths included in this series was in itself a great accolade. We are pleased and very proud that it has been voted as the winner.”


The coracle, St Teilo’s Church, the triple harp, Abernodwydd Farmhouse and the Shanghai Eisteddfod Chair from St Fagans: National History Museum also reached the top 10. The Trevithick Steamengine which can be seen at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, the National Slate Museum’s Quarrymen's Caban, the Sea Turtle from National Museum Cardiff and the Roman Gravestone from the National Roman Legion Museum were popular amongst viewers too.


During the final programme, Paul Loveluck, President of Amgueddfa Cymru joined the debate on what is considered to be a ‘national treasure’ alongside Welsh Assembly Government Heritage Minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM, lobbyist Mari James, and cultural historian Peter Stead. He said:


“The diversity of the objects featured in the series reflects the range of Amgueddfa Cymru’s collections. Not only do we have seven very different sites which delve into various industries important to Welsh history but within those sites, Amgueddfa Cymru hosts over five million artefacts which help illustrate stories about how we used to live.  


“With 90,000 viewers watching the programme each week, the people of Wales have spoken. Working in partnership with the BBC, we are delighted members of the public were given the opportunity to explore our collections and express their views on which item should be crowned Wales' national treasure.”


For more information about the programme please visit:


Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales operates seven national museums across Wales. These are National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.


Entry to each museum is free thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.




For more information on the programme or to request interviews, please contact:


Sian Walters, Head of Marketing and Media, National Museum Wales

Tel: 029 2057 3176





Catrin Mears, Communications Officer, National Museum Wales

Tel: 029 2057 3486

Mobile: 07920 027067



Notes to Editors:


Top ten icons as voted by the Welsh public:

1        Pithead baths – Big Pit: National Coal Museum (Bonnie Tyler)

2        Coracle – St Fagans: National History Museum (Gareth Edwards)

3        Triple Harp – St Fagans: National History Museum (Mike Peters)

4        Abernodwydd Farmhouse - St Fagans: National History Museum (Shan Legge-Bourke)

5        Trevithick Steamengine – National Waterfront Museum Swansea (Owen Money)

6        Eisteddfod Chair - St Fagans: National History Museum (Robert Croft)

7        Caban – National Slate Museum (Glyn Wise)

8        Sea Turtle – National Museum Cardiff (Iolo Williams)

9        Roman Gravestone – National Roman Legionary Museum (Simon Weston)

10  St Teilo’s Church - St Fagans: National History Museum (Ruth Madoc)