The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust
Historic Environment Record
 

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Sirhowy Iron Works

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 02220g
Trust : Glamorgan Gwent
Community : Tredegar
NGR : SO143101
Site Type (preferred type first) : Post-Medieval Iron works
Legal Protection : scheduled ancient monument , listed building II*

Summary :
Remains of ironworks established in 1778. From 1794 operated by William Borrow, Rev Matthew Monkhouse and Richard Fothergill. In 1818 acquired by James Harford (Harford, Partridge & Co) of Ebbw Vale. Closed down in 1882.

Description :
Remains of ironworks established in 1778. From 1794 operated by William Borrow, Rev Matthew Monkhouse and Richard Fothergill. In 1818 acquired by James Harford (Harford, Partridge & Co) of Ebbw Vale. Closed down in 1882. Photograph of the works in the late 1870s (one reproduced in Mines, Mills and Furnaces, Plate 39) show it at its full extent. The present remains comprise the ruins of an area of blast furnaces, including an impressive range of arches between the mouths of thfurnaces and the casting house and the housing for a waterwheel which appears on the 1870s photographs.
The Sirhowy Ironworks were established in 1778 and were associated with the Tredegar Ironworks, a little further down the valley. From 1818 on, they were permanently associated with Ebbw Vale Ironworks in the valley to the east. Sirhowy pig iron was supplied to Ebbw Vale where it was worked into wrought iron and, from the end of the 19th century, into steel. Even after ironmaking ceased at Sirhowy around 1883 it continued to produce coke for Ebbw Vale until finally closing in 1905.
The impressive remains at Sirhowy Ironworks is the only 18th century ironworking complex still visible in the County Borough. In partnership with Cadw, the WDA and with the help of Objective One funding, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council has carried out extensive consolidation and conservation works, ensuring that the complex is ready for public access and interpretation.
Cadw Description 1987:
The remains of the ironworks stand on the eastern edge of the town, with rough grassland around them. They are built into a steep westward-facing slope. At the southern end of the site, on flat ground below the slope, the position of a rectangular building is marked out by stones. The main area of remains, further N, is surrounded by a wire fence, broken down in places. It consists of the remains of three barrel vaulted tunnels, the southernmost one much large than the other two, and the remains of various other parts of the iron works. The walls of the tunnels are of closely jointed stonework, and the arches are lined with brick. The northernmost tunnel is 5.5m wide and 7-8, high. At the back of the roof is a small square hole open to the sky. At the back of the tunnel, which is c 7m deep, a narrower tunnel, c 1.8m wide leads back into the hillside. After a short distance this is now blocked A side tunnel leads off on the N side to a cross-tunnel. On the 5 side a 2m wide tunnel links this one with the middle tunnel. There is some fallen stone and brick at the back, and the back wall is very limey. Outside this tunnel are four parallel low wall footings of yellow brick. The middle tunnel is the same size as the N one. It has a narrower tunnel, c 1.8m wide, at the back which leads to a cross tunnel. Behind this is a blocked shaft. In the roof of this tunnel is a large circular stone-lined hole open to the sky. There is a little fallen stone on the floor. Outside this tunnel is a circular brick structure, 7m in diameter and 0.8m high, with a large lump of slag and other material (the 'bear') inside it. This is the remains of one of the furnaces. The 'bear' is up to 2m high, and on the W side it protrudes outside the brick wall. There are fallen bricks on the ground.
The southernmost arch is much larger: 8m across, and much higher. It is 4m deep. IN the back wall is a circular opening c4m high. This tunnel runs into the hillside for 5m. AT the back is a filled-in shaft and arched side openings.
To the S, in the hillside are the remains of another furnace. These consist of a curved section of brick furnace, lined with slag, c 2.2m high and 5.5m across at the top. It tapers slightly towards the bottom, where there is a brick structure, rectangular in plan. Inside it is slightly funnel shaped, with a series of iron-lined holes along its walls. There is fallen brick inside it. The whole is c 4m high.
The walls do not continue above the top of the arches. Above them are some low footings of brick and stone and a shaft opening (protected by bars),blocked after a short distance. An old iron pipe runs along the hillside and through small stone-built tunnels. The hillside is stepped and faced with stone. There are flat roofs over the arches.
In the NW corner of the site, there is a stone building (formerly associated with a waterwheel) with a rounded, arched tunnel. The arch is 2.2m high. The building is built into the natural slope; there is some deterioration of the stonework on the E side, but the rest is in good condition. (03)

Sources :
, Archwilio App Submission
Taylor, B , 2014 , Digital photograph (1); Sirhowy Iron Works
03. Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council (2003), Blaenau Gwent Heritage Audit: Interim Report 2002-2003, Heritage section
01/PM Mention/Ince L/1989/J Hist Metal 23,2 pp108-12
02/PM List/Cadw/1996/Application for Scheduled Monument Consent

Events :
E000042 : Field visit, Sirhowy Ironworks (year : 2004)

Related PRNs :


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