Built in 1928, the institute was named after W R Lysaght who had been the company chairman of Orb Steelworks for fifty years. It was purpose-built as a working man's club for those that were employed by Orb, and was financed both by the company and from contributions by the workers themselves.
Once surrounded by grounds comprising tennis courts, bowling green, putting green and ornamental garden, the facilities inside the building included a public bar, smoking room, lounge, billiards room, skittle alley, reading room and recreation hall. None of the outside amenities appeared to be remaining during my visit in February 2008, and the inside of the building was badly trashed and partly burned out in the upstairs recreation hall.
Plans to redevelop the site with 350 to 400 homes by Wimpey came to nothing due to the economic crisis, and was subsequently taken over by Linc Cymru. At the time of my initial research, the plans from them included housing, a supermarket and a possible hotel. The institute building was also earmarked for restoration, as it still holds fond memories for many people in Newport whose families enjoyed the social recreation it gave to the town.
However, the latest news that I could find recently was a newspaper article published in September 2010, in which it stated that Linc Cymru is relying on money from the sale of the land to the food store chain Morrisons. This will be needed to fund the one million pound's worth of repairs and restoration to the institute building. If granted, conversion work will provide offices for small businesses, a community centre and cafe, which could be completed by October 2011.
The £50 million project for Lysaghts Parc also includes 180 affordable homes for rent, which are already being built.
The recreation hall, above, showing the stage area, which was badly trashed and burnt. Smashed windows, below.
View out on to one of the balconies, below.
And this delightful piece of sculptured wallpaper attached to some plaster, which I found on the ground outside.
These and more photos can also be viewed in the Photo Gallery album.