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Neath Abbey Ironworks;Riverside Works, Neath Abbey

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Map ReferenceSS79NW
Grid ReferenceSS7380097730
Unitary (Local) AuthorityNeath Port Talbot
Old CountyGlamorgan
CommunityDyffryn Clydach
PeriodPost Medieval

Neath Abbey Ironworks was established in the eighteenth century. There are several notable surviving structures including two superb blast furnaces (NPRN 85098) dating from 1793 built against a rock face for ease of charging, Ty Mawr, the ironmaster's house of 1801 and the engine manufactory (NPRN 85097). Higher up the Clydach valley is a former water-powered forge (NPRN 40458) with an iron roof cast at the works in 1825. The building was later used as a woollen mill (NPRN 96478) and machinery was removed to the former Swansea Maritime and Industrial Museum. Further upstream, the river was dammed to ensure a reserve of water and a strong steady flow to the ironworks. The present large masonry dam (NPRN 33643), which carries a public road, dates from about 1840. The Ironworks finally closed in 1885.

The iron works also had an important role and long history in the development of the gas industry. It’s counting house was one of the first places to be lit by William Murdoch in 1795, he used “an iron retort with an iron tube some 3 or 4 feet in length, through which the gas from the coal when used in the retort issued, the end thereof was set fire to, and gave a strong and beautiful light, which continued burning a considerable time”. A gasometer was marked on 1876 and 1877 OS maps at the works, which would have been associated with a gas plant which lit the works by gas. The surviving drawings of the Neath Abbey Ironworks, including gas plant are held by the West Glamorgan Archive Service.

RCAHMW, 11 March 2009.