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British Industrial History

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Aberdare Canal

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This entry includes the tramroad built by the Aberdare Canal Co.

The canal ran from Aberdare to a junction with the Glamorganshire Canal at Abercynon.

1793 Authorised by Act of Parliament. The Act also included a railway or stone road to join the canal's terminus with the Neath Canal at Abernant near Glynn Neath. At that time, though, only one ironworks existed in the Aberdare district - the Hirwaun Ironworks, and because of the limited potential for traffic it was decided to delay construction.

The Aberdare Canal Co decided to build a rail road, with edge rails, between Hirwaun Common and Penderyn. This was built by James Dadford and was completed in 1795.

1800 Thomas Dadford re-surveyed the canal; the terminus, Tydraw, was less than a mile from Abernant where the Abernant Iron Co was being developed and needed transport facilities.

By 1805 three iron producers were active in the Aberdare district: Hirwaun, Aberdare Iron Co at Llwydcoed, and Abernant Iron Co.

1809 A decision to build the Aberdare Canal was finally taken in September

Subscribers included ironmasters Richard Hill of Plymouth works, John Partridge, and the Homfrays of Penydarren.

1812 Canal opened

1875 Failure of the iron industry and increasing subsidence due to coal mining led to the canal becoming uneconomic.

1885 Taken over by the Marquess of Bute who failed to halt its decline

1900 Closed on safety grounds.

The Glamorganshire and Aberdare Canals' Volume 1 devotes a chapter to the canal, with excellent maps and illustrations[1]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 'The Glamorganshire and Aberdare Canals' Volume 1 by Stephen Rowson and Ian L. Wright, Black Dwarf Publications, 2001.
  • Wikipedia [1]
  • Morgannwg, Vol. 40 1996 The Tappendens and the Abernant Iron Company, 1801-1815 [2]