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Llanbradach Colliery: South Winding House

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Map ReferenceST19SW
Grid ReferenceST1481090920
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCaerphilly
Old CountyGlamorgan
PeriodPost Medieval
The south winding house is the most monumental building surviving in the Llanbradach Colliery Complex (nprn 85050). The colliery site was built on four hillside terraces aligned south-west to north-east, the lowest having standard-gauge sidings with narrow-gauge tipplers and coal screens over. The lower middle terrace had the three shafts with fan-house and stores to the South-west and colliery workshops to the north-east. The upper middle terrace had engine-houses and -halls and boiler houses (now gone). An upper terrace had most of the south winding-house and the brick-built reservoir for boiler-feed and condensing water. A 'colliery road' ran at a yet higher level along the NE edge of the site and above this was a larger concrete reservoir, a quarry to obtain the Pennant Sandstone used in the construction of the buildings and revetment walls and a secondary cable-way to the later tip up the mountain.

The winding-house is built of bull-nosed Pennant sandstone dressings quarried on site and was built by the Cardiff Steam Coal Collieries Limited between 1881 and 1884. It, and a second north engine-house by the northern (now middle shaft), would have housed the twin compound steam-engines and winding-drums illustrated by W.Galloway in his paper 'A Compound Winding Engine' in the Federated Institute of Mining Engineers Transactions of 1895-96. The form of the roofs in that paper suggests that the engine pictured is in the original northern engine-house.

The monumental South-east wall protrudes down to the upper middle terrace and has a great central arch (now blocked) with impressive voussoirs (arch-stones) and prominent central keystone above. It would have originally been open and the winding-cables for the adjacent south shaft would have rose from it to the pulleys, or sheaves, capping the south headframe tower. The headframe tower itself would have been braced by struts inclined back to the two buttresses that still flank the south-east great arch. Remains of the seating for this bracing can be seen capping the buttresses and in the two now cut wrought-iron girders protruding from the wall face above. The two-storey elevations to the upper terrace have small upper windows with larger windows and doors at ground level, all having segmental stone arches above. The north-western upper gable had a Roman-inspired Diocletian or half-round tripartite window with ornamental protruding keystone and vousssoirs now used as a door with access via a bridge from the upper colliery road.

The building was in good condition at the time of survey and in secondary industrial use.