Cyfarthfa Castle was built in 1825 by William Crawshay. It cost £30,000 and was home to the Crawshay’s until 1889. Merthyr Tydfil Corporation bought it in 1909, and it was turned into a school and museum.
I met with Kelly Powell – acting Museums Officer, Benjamin Price – Education and Interpretation Officer, Chris Parry – Community Officer and Michelle Lewis – Community Officer.
Samples such as these by the Cyfarthfa Ironworks, were made for no other reason that to illustrate and show off the skills of the workers in manipulating iron and steel. Many, if not all of these samples were bent cold !
On 27th June 1912, King George V and Queen Mary visited Dowlais Ironworks. A spectactular steel archway – the ‘Goat Mill Arch’, had been erected for the occasion, & decorated with many locally made manufactured steel components, very similar to, if not the same as those on display in the Castle Museum.
During the same Royal Visit, a triumphant arch of locally mined coal had been erected. It had formed an entrance into Dowlais House, the former home of ironmaster John Josiah Guest and Lady Charlotte Guest, translator of the Mabinogion.
12th February 2015 – Treforest, South Wales – the birthplace of SIR TOM JONES !
I met with Dr Chris Evanstoday to discuss the history of iron production in Merthyr Tydfil and the legacy and impact of this on contemporary Merthyr Tydfil and its aspirations & current regeneration programme. This is in light of contextual research I am doing in regard to the new Bus Station project and Link bridge feasibility study.
Francis Crawshay – an eccentric member of the Crawshays of Cyfarthfa, who had portraits of his workers painted which was, at the time highly unusual, giving a remarkable insight into the lives of ordinary working people. He was something of a Druidic character, building stone circles and mounds.
The Upland Landscape of the Brecon Beacons & its importance in both the past and the future of Merthyr Tydfil. Merthyr is a product of this upland landscape & could make much more of this relationship.
The Taff Trailand how visitors could experience & relate to Merthyr as a gateway to the Brecons.
The Creativity and Flair of the great engineers and innovators who were central to the Industrial Revolution in Merthyr not being sufficiently celebrated. Watkin George,William Edwards, William Williamsworked at the cutting edge of technology and innovation. Even factory buildings were classically proportioned. Merthyr was a hub of creative knowledge, that became not only world famous, but exported this knowledge all over the world – even sending expertise to set up new Ironworks in Russia for example. The town generated and maintained international contacts, becoming an international crossroads of industry.
Elemental Processes of ironworking – extremely labour intensive. The ability to standardize products and replicate to order under these conditions was testament to the degree of control over processes these manufactories had. Confidence in their technology and how to utilise it successfully
Impact on landscape – early extraction methods included damming rivers and streams and then breaking the dam to allow the raging waters to scour the top soils and expose the iron ore beds. Cinder Tips, & Slag Heaps
Power – the control and management of water was at the heart of Merthyrs advancement. Transport was the other – Canals, Tramways, Railways, Roads, River.
Power – Napoleonic Economy & Rise to Wealth – Atlantic Trade – Iron and Slaves – Dr Chris Evans Research