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British Industrial History

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Charles Jordan

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Ironfounders, of Newport, Mon.

Location: The foundry was located in the Pillgwenlly area of the City of Newport. For location, see item 8 on Maps 1 & 2 in Newport Engineering Works - Location Map

c.1858 Cast the 70 ft high iron column for the gas-lit clock tower at Tredegar market place[1]

1871 ' TO THE EDITOR OF THE WESTERN MAIL. Sir,-Some days since I observed in your valuable paper a statement to the effect that Messrs. Pearce, Richards, and Co., of the Britannia Foundry, had made some of the largest castings ever cast in Newport, This is untrue. I believe they did make a fly-wheel of about 24 tons, but not in one casting, the half being cast on one day and the other half on the next, which makes 12 tons at a cast.
I cast a fly-wheel weighing 30 tons, all in one casting, from one air furnace, for the new blast engine at Tredegar Ironworks; also a beam for the same engine weighing about 54 tons.
I am quite prepared, at one cast, to make a casting 40 tons weight, should any person require it.
Yours obediently, Pro, CHARLES JORDAN, Iron and Brass Founder, LOUIS N. HAYWARD' [2]

1881 advertisement: 'PILLGWENLLY FOUNDRY AND ENGINEERING WORKS, NEWPORT, MON. Mr. CHARLES JORDAN has pleasure in announcing that on and after the 2nd day of January next his two Sons (John and Charles) will join him as Partners in carrying on the above works. The title of the firm will be CHARLES JORDAN AND SONS. Having had 32 years' experience as proprietor of these Works, Mr. Jordan has found that the high class of iron he has always used for his castings has given universal satisfaction to his customers, and be wishes to give notice that the same good quality of material will be used, and the same care will be bestowed upon all work in the future.'[3]

1883 'A BIG CYLINDER.— Messrs Jordan's foundry has just turned out a gigantic cylinder, 12ft. long, 51 inches in diameter, and weighing 12 tons, in the remarkably short space of twenty-five days. Some weeks ago an accident occurred at the Bedwellty pits, which caused an entire suspension of the labour of a large number of men, and at the request of Mr Colquhoun, the manager of the Tredegar Iron Company, Messrs Jordan undertook to make the cylinder, which, under ordinary circumstances, would occupy six weeks, in two- thirds of that time. This was accomplished by continuous labour on the mass of metal. Three borings were requisite, each of which occupied 48 hours. The cost of the cylinder, which is just completed, is £200.'[4]

1892 'Another Newport company is that of Messrs Charles Jordan and Sons, formed for the purpose of acquiring the Pillgwenlly Foundry and Engineering Works, which have been carried on at Newport for upwards of 40 years, and have a special reputation for the manufacture of gas and water pipes. The object of the promoters is also that the business of ship repairing shall be developed in all its branches, the works being most conveniently situated for this purpose, having five railway sidings running in, with direct communication to the Great Western Railway, the Old Dock, the Alexandra Dock, and the river wharves. The capital of the company will be £30,000 in £10 shares, and, as will be seen from the advertisement, there are peculiarly favourable conditions which justify expectation of economical working. The Company will manufacture their own coke, thus effecting a saving in the cost of foundry fuel and the heat from the ovens will be utilised for drying the moulds used in pipe-making, The vendors take a large interest in the Company in part payment of purchase money, and Mr John E. Jordan, a member of the existing firm, will join the Board, after allotment, as managing director, thus ensuring that the business experience and commercial connection of the old firm will be retained to the advantage of the new Company.'[5]

The decease of Mr Charles Jordan, principal of the firm of Chas. Jordan and Sons, ironfounders and engineers, Pillgwenlly Foundry, took place on Saturday afternoon. In many respects the deceased gentleman's career was remarkable. Eminently a self-made man, he commenced life as a journeyman moulder, and after being for some time foreman of extensive works in London, he proceeded to France as foreman contractor. An Oddfellow, he identified himself with his French compatriots, and when the troubles following the flight of Louis Philippe, the citizen king, began, they commissioned him to proceed to England, with the accumulated capital of the lodges, and keep it in safety until quieter times dawned. In the same year the deceased returned from France, he started the foundry at Pillgwenlly, which has since grown to such proportions as to employ about 200 workmen. Commencing the establishment when the iron foundry business in Newport was at a very low ebb, the deceased has been styled the father of Newport ironfounders. Many of the largest castings moulded in the district were turned out at his workshops. They also produced the work for the handsome bridge on the Taff Vale Railway at Cardiff. Deceased became a representative of the West Ward in the Town Council, and was instrumental in bringing about a reform in the scavenging of the town. He was also the first, it is stated, to suggest the formation of the Patriotic Fund during the Crimean war. This he did in a letter to the Times, dated from his foundry, and suggesting that instead of a day to be observed as a day of fasting throughout the kingdom for the termination of the war, a day's wages should be given by every person alike towards a fund for the maintenance of the widows and families of the soldiers who had fallen. During the last 15 months the deceased had suffered from an affection of the heart, but he continued to visit the works occasionally, the last time being about three months since. At the beginning of the present year he took his two sons into the business. He leaves a widow, two sons and eight daughters, of whom four are unmarried. The funeral, which is to be private, will take place at Bassalleg on Wednesday.'[6]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Hereford Times, 7 January 1860
  2. Western Mail, 10 June 1871
  3. Western Mail, 30th December 1881
  4. South Wales Daily News, 9 May 1883
  5. South Wales Daily News - Wednesday 23 November 1892
  6. South Wales Daily News - Tuesday 2 May 1882