Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Merthyr Tydfil Iron Industry

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Merthyr Tydfil was close to reserves of iron ore, coal, limestone and water, making it a prime site for ironworks.

Small-scale iron working and coal mining had been carried out at some places in South Wales since the Tudor period, but in the wake of the Industrial revolution the demand for iron led to the rapid expansion of Merthyr's iron operations.

1759 Dowlais Ironworks were founded by Thomas Lewis and Isaac Wilkinson - later became the Dowlais Iron Co. In 1767 John Guest became a partner.

1763 Plymouth Ironworks founded by John Guest and Isaac Wilkinson but the venture was unsuccessful and transferred to Anthony Bacon in 1765 and on his death to to Richard Hill in 1788.

1765 Cyfarthfa Ironworks were founded by Anthony Bacon and William Brownrigg

1784 Penydarren Ironworks founded by Francis Homfray and his sons Samuel Homfray, Jeremiah Homfray, and Thomas Homfray

1801 Ynysfach Ironworks were built for Richard Crawshay by Thomas Jones of Merthyr Tydfil

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