New centre aims to attract 200,000 visitors each year as the Mint opens its doors for the first time in its 1,000-year history
An artist's impression of the proposed 7.7 million visitor centre at the mint in south Wales
The Royal Mint has unveiled plans to throw open its doors to the public for the first time in its 1,000-year history.
Officials today announced they are planning to develop a £7.7m visitor centre at the mint in Llantrisant.
It is hoped construction of the purpose-built facility will get under way this spring before being completed next year.
Visitors will have the opportunity to take a tour of the Royal Mint and see exactly how the coins we use every day are made – as well giving them the chance to strike their coin.
Bosses say the venture will not just be of interest to UK visitors, but also foreign tourists given the mint makes coins and medals for around 60 countries.
Shane Bissett, director of commemorative coins and bullion, said the centre would offer a truly unique experience and aims to attract 200,000 visitors each year.
Mr Bissett also said it would safeguard 147 jobs within the commemorative division as well as create new jobs.
The Royal Mint and some of the coins they make
“The Royal Mint is a highly secure, Ministry of Defence-protected site which is not usually open to the public,” he added.
“We receive large numbers of requests to visit from members of the public every year and have been exploring the opportunity of a visitor centre for some time.
“So, it gives us great pleasure to announce that this can now go ahead and people will be able to see the work of one of Britain’s national treasures.”
Wales Economy Minister Edwina Hart confirmed the Welsh Government would be providing £2.3m worth of funding for the new visitor centre.
She said: “The new centre will be an all-year and all-weather attraction showcasing a unique product. This project has the potential to be an iconic attraction for Wales.”
The Royal Mint has a history dating back more than 1,100 years.
In 1812 it moved out of the Tower of London, where it had been located for more than 500 years, to premises on London’s Tower Hill.
In 1967 the building of a new Royal Mint began on its current site in Llantrisant. Since January 2010 the Mint has been a private company, although it remains 100% owned by the treasury.
The facility has produced hundreds of different sets of commemorative coins over the years and even produced the medals for the Olympic and Paralympic games in London in 2012.
Gold, silver and bronze were taken from mines in the United States and Mongolia and transported to the Royal Mint to produce 4,700 medals awarded in the 805 victory ceremonies across both Olympic and Paralympic games.
Last year, thousands of commemorative coins were struck to celebrate the arrival of Prince George of Cambridge. Workers produced 10,000 solid silver crown-sized £5 coins and 2,013 22-carat gold sovereigns, both of which featured the royal baby’s namesake St George.
Artists had already created the special-edition coins before the baby’s name was revealed, although the name George, with its strong royal connections, had been a bookies’ favourite.
Both coins featured a classic design of St George slaying the dragon, created by artist and engraver Benedetto Pistrucci in 1817.