Here’s a spotlight on Clydach Ironworks. We’ll take a look at the importance of the Ironworks during the Industrial Revolution, and will see what local volunteer projects are doing to help maintain the site.
A bit of history: Clydach Ironworks was first established in 1793, close to sources of iron ore, coal and limestone. Coal, in the form of coke, had only just replaced charcoal as the best source of fuel for blast furnaces and the Ironworks remained in reduction for around 65 years. Over 1,350 people were employed in 1841, two-thirds of whom were winning iron ore and coal higher up in the valley. Limestone was also quarried locally and was used as a flux (a cleaning agent) in the smelting process.
Raw materials and finished iron were transported both to and from the Ironworks via a series of railroads, tram roads and inclines. The picture shows what remains of the two blast furnaces that produced ‘Grey forge iron’; these were fed from the charging houses above. On the far side of the charging house were the coke ovens where coal was burnt to make coke for the furnaces.