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British Industrial History

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Sirhowy Iron Works

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Sirhowy ironworks, at the head of the Sirhowy Valley, a mile north of Tredegar.

1778 The Sirhowy Ironworks were established, the first coke furnace in Gwent; the Homfray brothers were involved in establishing the first furnace.

1794 Richard Fothergill became a partner in the Sirhowy Iron Works.

Between 1794 and 1818, the works were operated by William Borrow, Rev. Matthew Monkhouse and Richard Fothergill.

1799 A 20 horse power engine was purchased for Sirhowy from Boulton and Watt; some letters refer to repairs being made to this engine[1]. This did not result in the demise of the large waterwheel, which was still in place when the ironworks was photographed in the late 1870s.[2]

1801 the Sirhowy management were involved in setting up an ironworks at Tredegar, ledd than a mile downstream; Fothergill moved to Sirhowy. The cast iron from Sirhowy was converted at the new works, with the finished product being taken to Newport by tramway.

1818 A legal dispute between the Sirhowy and Tredegar companies resulted in a split between them; the Sirhowy works were acquired by James Harford of Harford, Partridge and Co of Ebbw Vale and, from this date on, were operated as part of the Ebbw Vale Ironworks in the valley to the east. Sirhowy supplied Ebbw Vale with pig iron and there it was worked into wrought iron.

1835 Harfords, Davies and Co, ironmasters, Sirhowy Ironworks, Tredegar[3].

1844 After the failure of Harford, Davies and Co, when Abraham Darby (1804-1878) and others bought both works, there were five furnaces at Sirhowy. A series of innovations followed, the most notable of which was the perfection of hot blast by George Parry of Ebbw Vale in 1850.

By 1877 the amount of iron cast was more than could be contained in the cast houses and they were partly demolished.

c. 1883 Ironmaking ceased at Sirhowy but the works continued to produce coke for Ebbw Vale

1905 The works finally closed.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Boulton and Watt correspondence [1]
  2. 'Mines, Mills and Furnaces' by D. Morgan Rees, National Museum of Wales/HMSO, 1969
  3. Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Derbys, Herefs ... , 1835
  • [2] Blaenau Gwent web site
  • Gwent local history - 52 Spring 1982 The Iron works at Tintern and Sirhowy [3]