Neath Abbey Ironworks
 Neath Abbey  Ironworks
 These Images taken in 1998
The Site: On the banks of the river Clydach, the valley known as Cwm-y-felin had long been an Industrial site prior to 1792.
It had the advantages of water power, a plentiful supply of coal and was situated close to the tidal River Neath and could be supplied with ore by sea.
The  New Owners: The Quaker families of Fox, Price and Tregelles intended to produce pig iron for use in their Cornish foundry.
The Furnaces: Built in 1792 they were 65 and 53 feet high and in 1796 were producing 75 to 80 tons of iron per week. They were built into the side of the hill so that raw materials of iron ore, limestone and coke could be prepared at the same level as the top of the furnace and then charged from the top.
The Blowing Engine :Built in 1793 to a Boulton & Watt design, with a 40inch diameter cylinder, the engine was the most powerful in Britain at that time.
Larger Furnace
Above : Larger Furnace    Below : Both Furnaces & The Machine Shop
Joseph Tregelles Price: By 1818 the Company was producing machine parts and complete steam engines. A new partnership was formed with Joseph T.Price as the new Manager. Under his control the Company became world famous expanding to produce marine steam engines, railway locomotives and later iron ships.
Second Furnace
 Beam Engines, winding & pumping engines were among the many products supplied to collieries, ironworks, tinworks, copper works, silver & gold mines, canals and others. Customers included not only the major works in Wales but also in France, Spain and S. America. 
View of the Machine Shop looking from in front of the furnaces. The roof was destroyed by fire; the walls have recently been secured. 
Machine Shop
Neath Abbey School
Joseph Tregelles Price was not the archetypal Ironmaster. He provided good working conditions for his employees and recognised the importance of education. The first Works school had been opened by his predecessor Peter Price and in 1825 this was transferred to a new school.  The Works also ran a renowned Apprenticeship scheme and this produced many famous names : 
Benjamin Baker : (1840-1906) 
   was an apprentice in the1850`s; he went on to work as chief  Designer on the Forth Railway Bridge. The bench at which he worked was bought by the Dynevor 
    Engineering Works in the 1920`s. The Managing Director of The Dynevor, Richard Owen, had worked alongside Baker at that bench.
Benjamin baker
David Thomas : Born in Cadoxton Parish, he left the Abbey Ironworks to become superintendent of the Ynyscedwyn Ironworks. There he experimented with the use of anthracite coal and in 1837 the first furnace to be fuelled by anthracite alone was blown-in. He was recruited by an American company and went on to a successful career in the USA. He became known as "The Father of the American Anthracite-Iron Industry." 
The Works closed in the 1880`s but it seems that much of the equipment was not sold until the 1920`s. Several of the Engineers who had been trained at the Company were to set up business`s in the Neath area. Among these were Taylor & Sons of Briton Ferry and The Dynevor Engineering Works. The latter was founded by David James, D.W.Prosser and Richard Owen. The latter two were nephew and uncle and were members of an old Neath Abbey family who had been connected with the Ironworks since its formation. See Prosser & Owen families

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