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NEATH ABBEY IRON WORKS
Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 00854w Trust : Glamorgan Gwent Community : Dyffryn Clydach Unitary authority : Neath Port Talbot NGR : SS738978 Site Type (preferred type first) : Post-Medieval Iron works Status : Scheduled Monument
Summary : The remains of Neath Abbey Ironworks, founded at the end of the 18th century. It specialised in the production of engines, but all stages of iron production and manufacture were carried out on the site, starting with smelting. It finally closed in 1885. The principal remains are the blast furnaces and engineering works on the east bank of the River Clydach (PRNs 01556w, 01558w) off Neath Abbey Road, and the forge and rolling mill (PRN 01555w) 275m upstream on the west bank.
Description : The ironworks at Neath Abbey was acquired by the Fox family of Falmouth in l792 when they took over an ironworks at Neath Abbey. New blast furnaces (PRN 01558w) were constructed in 1793, and in early 1800s the company developed into a high-technolgy specialist, concentrating on steam engine manufacture (PRN 01556w). The works passed into the control of Joseph Tregelles Price in l8l7, under whom the works gained a reputation for high quality engineering products. He also developed an interest in shipbuilding, bought the Cheadle works near Neath Abbey and constructed a dry dock. In 1825 a rolling mill and forge (PRN 1555w) were constructed further up the river, on the opposite bank. The company also expanded iron production, founding the Venallt Ironworks in 1826, and in 1840s also acquired Abernant Ironworks in Glynneath and Briton Ferry Ironworks. After the death of Price in 1856, the works ran into problems in the depression of the 1860s. They closed in 1875, and although they reopened for a short time, they finally closed in l885.
Because of the Foxes' and Price's Quaker beliefs, no armaments were produced. It was said that working were conditions good, if strict and paternalistic, and provision included a school for the workers' children.
The standing remains consist of the two blast furnaces (PRN 01558w) with the remains of the charging ramp (PRN 006622w) to the southern furnace, and the remains of the engine manufactory (PRN 01556w). There are also the ruins of other buildings alongside the river immediately north of the GWR railway line, which appear from the 1st edn OS 25" map to be part of the works complex; these may be the pattern shop, but according to local residents, they were later used as houses.
01/PM List/Cadw/1995/SAM List
02/PM Mention/Ince L/1989/J Hist Metal 23,2 pp108-12
03/PM List/Cadw/1995/SAM List Revision