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British Industrial History

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Nantyglo Ironworks

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1791 The Nantyglo Ironworks were conceived by partners in the Blaenavon Iron Co who intended to exploit their mineral grounds.

1792 The Nantyglo Ironworks were built between 1792 and 1794 by Thomas Hill of Blaenavon in association with Harford, Partridge and Co of Bristol[1].

1796 Financial disagreements between the partners led to the closure of the Nantyglo Ironworks.

1802 The works restarted when Hill returned with different partners[2]

1802 The Nant-y-glo Iron Co was set up consisting of the partners of the Blaenavon Ironworks and Joseph Harrison. However, a contract to supply iron weekly, then quarterly, to Penydarren Ironworks became part of a legal dispute

By 1805 the furnaces were again idle.

1811 Matthew Wayne, one time finance manager for Richard Crawshay, became a partner with Joseph Bailey to purchase the iron-works at Nant-y-glo. Nant-y-glo had natural advantages but had been stopped for many years. The partners soon had the works restored. By the end of the year they were loading their pig-iron into barges on the Monmouthshire Canal.

1816 Even during this year, the year after the end of the Napoleonic wars when there was a general slump in iron manufacture, Nant-y-glo was the only iron-works which increased its production.

1820 Wayne retired from the partnership. Crawshay Bailey joined his brother Joseph in the partnership. The two brothers soon made Nant-y-glo one of the great iron-works of the kingdom.

1823 Five blast furnaces were in operation

1823 Produced 17,500 tons of iron

1824 Nantyglo was producing 16,000 tons per annum[3]

1826-7 Two more blast furnaces were added.

1830 Produced 23,883 tons. Nant-y-glo operated in tandem with the Beaufort Ironworks

1833 Crawshay and Joseph Bailey acquired Beaufort Ironworks and used it to supply pig iron to the puddling furnaces and new rolling mills at Nantyglo. Expansion was aided by the purchase of beam blowing engines from Neath Abbey.

The business prospered during the 1830s and 1840s by exploiting the demand for wrought iron rails.

1844 J. and C. Bailey were proprietors of Nant-y-glo Works[4]

1845 Crawshay Bailey left his nephew in charge of the Nant-y-glo and Beaufort works.

1871 Crawshay Bailey sold the iron works at Nantyglo and Beaufort for £300,000[5] to the Blaina Iron and Coal Co Ltd[6]. A new company was registered - Nantyglo and Blaina Ironworks Co. The sale involved 14 furnaces, 67 puddling furnaces and four rolling mills.

The subsequent decline in market conditions saw the closure of Beaufort Ironworks in 1873 followed soon after, in February 1874, by the closure of Nant-y-glo. Associated collieries were sold off separately and the ironworks buildings were leased for conversion into a tinplate works.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Roundhouse Farm, Nantyglo [1]
  2. Biography of the Harford family, ODNB
  3. The Times, 23 October 1824
  4. Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Berks, Bucks ... , 1844. [Part 2: Hants to Wilts, & Wales]
  5. Early Industrial Development [2]
  6. Gwent local history, 80 Spring 1996: The Crawshay Bailey Estate [3]
  • Welsh Biography Online [4]