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British Industrial History

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Onllwyn Ironworks

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near Glynneath

Onllwyn Ironworks had two blast furnaces, calcining kilns, a smithy and an ironworks shop. Production ended before 1878. The site was eventually cleared.[1]

The isolated works were served by the River Dulais and by an extensive system of tramroads. A tramroad also served the small community nearby (about 45 cottages in two rows). In addition to pig iron, iron castings were produced using patterns made on site[2]. This source, and the Coflein entry, include a paln showing the tramroads, houses,quarries, etc.

Did the business become the Dylais Iron and Coal Co? See below.

From the Newspapers

1860 Advert: 'BRECONSHIRE AND GLAMORGANSHIRE. Highly-important and extensive FREEHOLD ESTATES, VALUABLE MINERALS, COLLIERY, AND IRON WORKS, comprising altogether about 14,000 acres.
Messrs. NORTON, HOGGART, & TRIST Have received instructions from the Executors of the late Joseph Claypon, Esq., TO OFFER FOR SALE, At the MART, on FRIDAY, JULY 20, at 12, in lots
THE GREAT BRECON FOREST ESTATE, Onllwyn Colliery and Iron Works, a highly important Freehold Property, situate about 14 miles from the town of Brecon, and 26 from Swansea. It extends over about 14,000 acres of land....

Lot 11.—The Onllwyn Colliery, situate in the palish of Cadoxton-juxta-Neath, in the county of Glamorgan, containing many valuable seams of coal and ironstone, the minerals extending under about 300 acres, and the coal is of fine quality and well adapted for smelting purposes. Iron works have been erected on the premises, and there are two furnaces, both of which are expected shortly to be in full operation. May be viewed on application....'[3]

1866 'The formation of the Dylais Iron and Coal Company is announced. It is formed for the purpose of leasing and working the minerals contained in the Onllwyn and other estates, at the head of the Dylais Valley, and situated partly in Glamorganshire and partly in Breconshire. Under the whole of this property are contained the series of argillaceous ironstones belonging to the north out-crop of the South Wales mineral basin. The coal is a pure anthracite, and is admirably adapted for smelting iron, malting, lime-burning, hop-drying, and heating stoves, blast furnaces; and all the appliances for a large make iron are provided. The present owners of the property have agreed to accept £31,500 as purchase-money, including the whole of the buildings, erections, houses, engines, machinery, and fixed and movable plant, payable....' [4]

1868 Advert: 'All those valuable COAL and IRON WORKS, known THE DYLAIS COAL AND IRON WORKS, situate near the towns of SWANSEA and NEATH. The works are situate the head the Dylais Valley, partly In Glamorganshire, and partly in Breconshire, and form an area of about 1,000 acres, in a ring fence. ..... On this property are two well-lined blast-furnaces, with hot air ovens, powerful blast-engine, five excellent boilers, with chimney-stack. &c , complete foundry, fitting, blacksmith's, and carpenter's shops, offices, storehouses, manager's house, stabling, and about 50 workmen's houses. The property is admirably adapted for the erection of tin plate works. There are also fire brick works, clay mill, and five other steam engines, with boilers, pumps, &c on various parts of the property, together with trams, weighing machines, and many miles of above and underground rail and tram roads; also tools, plant. &c. The main line of the Neath and Brecon Railway, which is open and in dally work, intersects the Onllwyn tract, and brings the works into direct communication with the important shipping ports of Swansea and Neath. For further particulars .....'[5]

1879 'It is said that the extensive ironworks at Onllwyn have been purchased by an enterprising French firm, and colliers and other workmen have been employed to clear the old workings prior to extensive operations being carried on.'[6]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Coflein - Onllwyn Ironworks
  2. 'The Brecon Forest Tramroads', RCAHMW, 1990
  3. Monmouthshire Beacon - Saturday 30 June 1860
  4. Birmingham Journal - Saturday 15 December 1866
  5. Bristol Times and Mirror - Saturday 19 September 1868
  6. Pontypool Free Press, 15 November 1879