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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 268015

Map Reference SO20SE

Grid Reference SO283000

Unitary (Local) Authority Torfaen

Old County Monmouthshire

Community Pontymoile

Type of Site TOWN

Broad Class CIVIL

Period General

Site Description Populous town in Torfaen county. Royal Commission aerial reconnaissance on 9th June 2006 (image refs: AP_2006_1305 to 1321) recorded various views of housing estates, public parks, chapels and commercial districts. A second intensive aerial survey was conducted on 24th May 2010 to inform a programme of urban characterisation by Cadw.

T. Driver, RCAHMW, 23rd Aug 2010.

Pontypool has been an area of iron mining since Roman times and there was further development in the sixteenth century following Richard Hanbury’s acquisition of a small iron works, for the production of Osmund Iron in 1578. The major advance in 1700 was the construction of the world's first water-powered rolling mill, which enabled the mass production of cheap, high quality and consistent sheet black plate iron. By the mid eighteenth century, with the development of tin plating, the ironworks became one of the most important in Europe.

An offshoot of production of rolled iron was a lacquering process (which became redundant on the introduction of tin-plating) from which came a japanning process, introduced by the Allgood family. Pontypool Japanware (emulating in metal fine Japanese lacquer work) was produced as a cottage industry from 1730 to 1820. The Hanbury ironworks survived in the control of the family until 1860 when, overtaken by larger more modern plants, it was absorbed into the Ebbw Vale Iron & Coal Co.

In the nineteenth and through to the mid-twentieth centuries there was extensive steel, iron and tinplate production in and around the town, together with many collieries. The town has a Public Library that was built by the Andrew Carnegie Trust in 1908. Although the heavy industries have now all gone Pontypool is one of the major towns in Torfaen County Borough, with a population of approximately 36,000 people.

RCAHMW, 19 July 2010.

Source: A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of South East Wales, AIA, 2003

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