The Brickworks of Wales
The Brickworks of Mid Glamorgan
Bridgend and the Taff, Rhondda and Cynon Valleys
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Mid Glamorgan

Bridgend and Ely, Garw and Ogwr Valleys

Quick links to :-     Bridgend and Ely, Garw and Ogwr Valleys     The Cynon Valley     The Rhondda Valley
    The Taff Vale

Aberkenfig - SS 8802 8334

Bridgend Dinas Brick Co, Fountain, Aberkenfig is mentioned in 1880 trade directories and appears on the 1897 OS map but is shown as 'disused' by 1914. The photos of the site were taken in 1990 by Mike Stokes.

Aberkenfig - SS 8886 8358

The 1914 and 1941 maps show an 'old brickworks' with two kilns at this location. There is nothing on the 1897 map at all. In 1941 the clay pits were connected by an aerial ropeway to Tondu brickworks so possibly it was part of the Tondu company.

Bryncethin - SS 9168 8447

Bryncethin Brick Co Ltd first appears in Kellys directory in 1895 becoming Bryncethin Brick Works Ltd around 1920. It is believed to have closed in 1960. In 1930 a Sentinel steam lorry No 6773 of 1926 was sold to Charles Jenkins (Bryncethin Brick Works) Ltd. The brickworks converted it to a railway loco and it was presumed scrapped by 1938. A Lister 2ft gauge railtruck No 9969 of 1938 was purchased to work in the claypits.

Brynmenyn - SS 9066 8502

Brynmenyn Brickworks, Bridgend, appears on the 1877 map but there are no kilns shown so it may be under construction. The 1899 map shows it as fully operational but no sign of Brymenyn Colliery. By 1919 it seems to have gone and Brymenyn Colliery is shown as 'disused'.

Coedely - ST 0144 8593

Coedely Colliery was sunk in 1901 by the 'Welsh Navigaton Steam Coal Co' with the first coal being raised in 1906. This large colliery complex had a full by-products plant and a brickworks which is shown on the 1914 OS map, The main brickworks building is still shown on the 1960 map bu not labelled. The colliery didn't close untill 1985 but I suspect the brickworks ceased production in the 1960s.

Llanharan, South Rhondda - SS 9913 8442

The 'South Rhondda Colliery Co (1898) Ltd' re-opened the South Rhondda Colliery in 1898. One of the shafts produced clay which was used in their adjacent brickworks. Both colliery and brickworks closed in 1927. It appears that the buildings were still there in 1948.

Llantrisant, Beddau - ST 0649 8522

This brickworks near the site of Ty'n-y-Nant Colliery only appears on the 1914 OS map. It's at the end of a tramway from the old 'Ida Colliery' which may have been a source of clay.

Llantrisant, Mwyndy - ST 0560 8177

Hudson Bros (Llantrisant) Ltd, Mwyndy Sawmills and Brickworks, Mwyndy, Llantrisant. The company is believed to have started c1905 as I'm told they are not mentioned in the 1904 RCH Handbook. They seem to have been quite short-lived as the company was dissolved in 1911 but the brickworks are still shown on the 1948 map but as 'disused'. Around this time the site became a coal brickette manufacturer. I've not discovered any bricks with a 'Hudson' imprint.

Llantrisant, Pontyclun - ST 0330 8150

A brick kiln and clay pit are shown here on the 1875 OS map. Only the clay pit and 'old coal pit' remains by 1898.

Llantrisant, Pontyclun - ST 0275 8215

Noel Bros & Co Ltd of Pontyclun, Llantrisant, were in business by 1897 but the works was up for sale in 1907. The works is shown on the 1919 OS map but the site is vacant in 1948.

Maesteg - SS 8493 9147

Llynfi Ironworks was founded in 1837 and had closed by 1899. A fine engine eouse still stands as does part of one of the blast furnaces but the brickworks site has been built over.

Maesteg, Llwydarth - SS 8604 9019

The brickworks at Llwydarth may well have been owned by William Davis of Bridgend, who opened the adjacent Maesteg Merthyr Colliery in 1868. The brickworks and claypit feature on the 1877 OS map but have gone by 1899 and the claypit tramway marked 'old'.

Pencoed, Hendre - SS 9464 8170

Hendre Brickworks, Pencoed, opened between 1875 and 1899 when it appears to be well-established with a long tramway connecting it to Pencoed Ironworks. By 1919 both brickworks and tramway have gone. On 11 October 1889 the 'Hendra Estate and Building Material Co Ltd' was dissolved. By one of those strange coincidences a 'Hendra Brick Works' opened in Brisbane, Queensland on 31 October 1884 but no relation !!

Pencoed - SS 9578 8176

Pencoed Terra Cotta Brick & Tile Co Ltd, Pencoed and Powis Brick & Tile Co Ltd, Pencoed Brick & Tile Co Ltd

Penrhiwfer, Ely Valley - SS 9955 8980

Penrhiwfer Colliery commenced operations in 1861 alongside the Ely Valley Railway between Tonyrefail and Penygraig. At some time Upper Penrhiwfer Colliery opened higher up the hillside. This had clay seams and a brickworks appears to have been built here. The Glamorgan Coal Co owned the colliery but it closed down in 1896 when the assets were auctioned.

Porthcawl Brickworks by Mike Stokes.

"A place name impressed on a brick doesn’t necessarily indicate that there was a brickworks at that location, at least that’s the conclusion to which I’m rapidly thinking may be so with a brick that has recently been discovered. Shown as BEDFORD at Briton Ferry & Porthcawl I can find very little evidence of a works at the latter location although some documentation exists which suggests a brickworks had been planned.

Research has shown that George Bedford owned a brickworks at Briton Ferry and he is first noted on the 1851 census as a brick maker. By 1858 he is shown in the Slater’s Directory with an entry thus: Bedford, George, (firebricks), Briton Ferry. Further directories and census returns follow George through to 1881 where he is shown as a brick manufacturer with his home address now as Pyle, Glamorgan where he died in 1884.

The aforementioned George Bedford (1811-1884) was the grandson of John Bedford (1725-1791) who founded the Ironworks and brickworks at Cefn Cribwr and whose life is well documented elsewhere. Brick making obviously ran in the family as George’s brother Stephen (1813-1876) also operated a brickworks in the Neath area, shown in the 1852 Scammell & Co directory as at The Green, Neath. George’s eldest son (John) is shown on various censuses as being a brick maker but we turn our attention to the second son, also named George (b.1843) who is shown on the 1871 census as a firebrick manufacturer employing 14 men; at this point in the story it is unclear whether this is the same works as that owned by his father. By 1881 George the younger is shown as a Commission Agent and living at New Road, Porthcawl. A further complication to the story is that another brother David (1845-1884) is shown on the 1881 census as a brick manufacturer employing three men and two boys, quite a small concern but no indication of where this operation might have been.

It is now that mention must be made of a short street in the village of Newton (Porthcawl) which goes by the name of “The Brickyard”. A curiosity it must be agreed, but again I can find no evidence of bricks being produced here. The name of this street predates any of the Bedford’s activities and the tithe map of 1846 does show one of the properties marked as “Yard”, but with no further details. It is possible that bricks may have been produced here at one time early in the 19th century, possibly in a clamp-style operation, but once again can come up with no firm evidence.

So we return to the question of the brick; we know that George Bedford the younger was dealing in building materials, this is shown in the town directories of the period. Is it a possibility that he had the name Porthcawl impressed into bricks made at Briton Ferry in order to pursue a market locally in Porthcawl? At any rate, the Bedford era predates the 1910 venture mentioned below by some twenty to thirty years so are unlikely to be connected.

I’m sure one day some further information will come to light, in the meantime I’m hoping someone will read this who will be able to provide a little more knowledge of the subject. Until then, the Briton Ferry & Porthcawl brick must remain an unsolved mystery."

1910 proposals for a brickworks

In 1910 various newspaper reports show that a brickworks was proposed to open at Porthcawl. A clip from the Glamorgan Gazette of 10th November that year is reproduced here. However, despite spending hours searching through newspapers following that date, in particular The Glamorgan Gazette which would most likely be the source of such information, I can find no further mention of the brickworks. In addition, I have studied every available map, 6” and 25” and can see no evidence that there was ever a brickworks in Porthcawl.

'Porthcawl Sand & Gravel Co'

In 1936 the 'Porthcawl Sand & Gravel Co' appealed against the planning permission refusal of their plan for a brickworks at Newton Point, Porthcawl. The objections were that it was a residential area. Their appeal is reported to have failed and it doesn't appear as if any brickworks was ever built.

Pyle, Cefn - SS 8520 8375
Pyle, Cefn Cribbwr - SS 8536 8340

These were two adjacent brickworks, one short-lived, the other more well-known. Cefn Brickworks only appears on the 1875 map, becoming New Pit colliery by 1897 and Mill Pit colliery, disused by 1914. Perhabs it was a subsidiary site of Cefn Cribbwr.
Cefn Cribbwr Brickworks had opened c1772 as part of John Bedford's Ironworks and colliery. The brickworks and colliery closed c1920 and the site had been cleared by 1948.

Pyle, Stormy - SS 8531 8166

Stormy Stone and Brick Co

Quarella - SS 9031 8074

Quarella Brickworks, Bridgend, owned by William McGaul, started life as a stone quarry before 1877. By 1899 the brickworks was in production and by 1919 had been moved to the other side of the claypit. Buildings are still shown on the 1942 OS map but not marked as a brickworks and by 1962 they had gone.

Tondu, Evanstown - SS 8925 8402

Tondu Brickworks is first mentioned in Kellys in 1891 as the Evanstown Brick Works, owned by Robert Evans, the owner of the kilns on the other side of Tondu Ironworks. It appears on the 1899 OS map becoming the Evanstown & Tondu Brick Works Co (l910) and the Tondu Brickworks Co Ltd by 1926, finally closing c1974.

Tondu Brickworks was demolished in the late 1970s and luckily someone took these photos to record it.

Tondu, Ferguson's - SS 8939 8451

John Ferguson's Brickworks adjacent to Tondu station was advertised for sale in various south Wales news publications from January to March 1878. This brickworks is on the 1877 and 1899 OS maps but the kilns had gone by 1919. The land was leased to Robert Evans who went on to build the Evanstown brickworks.

Tondu, Ynysawdre - SS 8997 8425

Ynysawdre Coke, Coal and Brick Co Ltd, part of Ynysawdre (Adare) Colliery. No separate brick kilns are shown on any maps but local knowledge says they were part of the colliery complex. The colliery is on 1877 OS map and expanded on the 1899 map with coke ovens. Adare Colliery and the coke ovens were marked 'disused' by 1919.

Waterton, Bridgend - SS 8939 8451

Durus Cast Stone Co, Cowbridge Road, Waterton is shown as a brickworks on the 1941 map, but appears from the company name may have been making cast concrete products.

The Cynon Valley

Quick links to :-     Bridgend and Ely, Garw and Ogwr Valleys     The Cynon Valley     The Rhondda Valley
    The Taff Vale


N B Allen & Co, Hirwaun - SN 9605 0605

Hirwaun Brickworks was founded in 1852 by 'Young and Allen' as 'The Hirwaun and Neath Brick Works'. The Young family were well-known for their involvement with Nantgarw Pottery, Pontwalby brickworks and other ventures. The Youngs were suffering financial issues so in 1860 the company was taken over by Allen, the solvent partner, along with J B Brock. Allen died in 1871 and the Brock family became sole owners. The company became 'N B Allen & Co' in 1871 and a limited company in 1897.
According to Nansi Selwood's excellent 'History of the Villages of Hirwaun and Rhigos', "the firm made bricks from silica brought via a dedicated mineral line from two quarries, Yr Eithin and Y Foel, in Penderyn. The bricks were reputedly of high quality and won a prize at the 1880 Paris Exhibition, though a flourishing export trade ended with the outbreak of WW1 as the bricks were required for use on the home front. I remember 'the Quarry Line' being in use and I know that, eventually, Allens were taken over by 'General Refractories' in 1934, which later became 'GR Stein' before closure in 1973."

Rhigos, Hirwaun - SN 9142 0604

This area is known as 'Brickyard' with a 'Brickyard Farm' and a 'Brickyard Mire'. The 1843 Tithe Map has no reference to a brickyard but it appears in the 1875 OS map along with a possible claypit.

Graig Colliery, Hirwaun - SN 9725 0455

Graig Colliery and Brickworks, Hirwaun, was up for sale in 1864 and is shown on the c1875 map, sometimes referred to as 'Craig' or even 'Gray's'. The brickworks is mentioned in 1877 documents when the colliery, and presumably the brickworks, had shut down. Only the site is shown in 1898.

Rhydywaen, Hirwaun - SN 9619 0387

Rhydywaen Brickworks, Hirwaun, is shown on the c1875 map, marked 'disused' by 1898 and had gone by 1914.

Tir Herbert, Hirwaun - SN 9435 0605

Tir Herbert Brickworks, Hirwaun, opened after 1878 by a Mr Williams but is marked 'disused' from 1898 to 1914.


Gadlys Brickworks, Aberdare - SO 0005 0317

Gadlys Brickworks, Aberdare appears to have been working between 1901 and 1914 but there is mention of it being dismantled and auctioned off in 1903. More information needed.

Aberdare Brickworks, Llwydcoed - SN 9924 0444

Aberdare Brickworks was open by 1898 in the ruins of Aberdare Iron Co, Llwydcoed, It was owned by the Duffryn & Llanishen Brick, Tile, Sanitary Pipe & Terra Cotta Co Ltd in 1891, Aberdare Brick Co in 1920 and Tanybryn Brickworks Co Ltd in 1931. The chimney was felled in 1982. I assume that the 'Crown Brickworks' is the same company but I can't find any details of it.


D R Llewellyn owned the adjacent Bwllfa, Winder and Nantmelin Collieries in Cwmdare. amongst others, and these brickworks were part of these collieries. The brick imprinted 'D R Llewellyn Aberdare' was probably made at one of these works but he may have owned other brickworks.

Bwllfa Dare, Cwmdare - SN 9735 0230

Bwllfa Dare Brickworks probably opened with the colliery in 1856 and is on the 1868-78 map. It's still shown on the 1948 map but appears quite isolated. In 1884 the company is listed as 'Bwllfa and Merthyr Dare Collieries and Brickworks' in Kellys Directory.

Nantmelyn, Cwmdare - SN 9730 0285

Nantmelyn Brickworks, next door to Bwllfa, first appears on the 1897 map and was still there in 1948.


Aberaman Brickworks - SO 0176 0034

Aberaman brickworks, opened after 1884 next to Aberaman Colliery, were owned by the Duffryn & Llanishen Brick, Tile, Sanitary Pipe & Terra Cotta Co Ltd in 1891, who also owned the works at Llanishen in cardiff. Later it became part of Powell Duffryn & Co and closed in the 1960s. The site was originally the unsuccessful Aberaman Ironworks, opened in 1845 by Crawshay Bailey and closing in 1864, which is reported to have had a brickworks on site.

Blaengwawr Brickworks, Aberaman - SO 0065 0205

Blaengwawr Brickworks, Aberaman was opened c 1843 as part of Blaengwawr Colliery, owned by David Davis. The colliery closed in 1885 but was re-opened by Powell Duffryn from 1914 to 1926. It's likely that the brickworks didn't re-open as Powell Duffryn had their own brickworks by then.

Mountain Ash

Mountain Ash, Miskin - ST 0490 9815

'Coflein' record a brickworks on Windsor Street here. There are a number of quarries in the area but no sign of a brickworks as such.

Mountain Ash, Navigation Colliery - ST 0500 9897

There was a brickworks at Navigation Colliery from before 1874 to after 1898 but kilns are not shown on the 1914 map. this is likely to be the source of the brick with the 'Mountain Ash Brick Co' imprint.

The Rhondda Valley

Quick links to :-     Bridgend and Ely, Garw and Ogwr Valleys     The Cynon Valley     The Rhondda Valley
    The Taff Vale

Blaenrhondda - SS 9248 0054

Part of Blaen-Rhondda Colliery by 1877, they were marked 'old' in 1899. Blaen-Rhondda Colliery had become part of the Fernhill Collieries by 1919 and the kilns had gone.

Hopkinstown - ST 0588 9077

Great Western Colliery, Tymawr Brickworks, Hopkinstown

Llwynypia - SS 9956 9268

Part of the Glamorgan Colliery, Llwynypia which opened in 1863. Brick production had probably ceased by 1938 when the colliery was greatly reduced, closing finally in 1945.

Tonypandy - SS 9943 9362

A brickworks is shown on the site of Brith-Weunydd Colliery but it is only shown on the 1900 OS map.

Trealaw - SS 9955 9265

Listed in Slaters Directory of 1880 is the Trealaw Brick Co. at Trealaw Colliery with William Williams as the manager. It's not labelled on the 1898 map but there appear to be two kilns on the site. James Lock, reported as the proprietor in 1895, went into receivership that year.

Treorchy - SS 9600 9680

John Perry is listed as a brick maker of Treorky in the Slaters Directory of 1880. This brickworks is shown on the 1875 map but not afterwards.

Ty Newydd - SS 9343 9895

The 'Rhondda Merthyr Steam Coal Co Ltd and Reduced (& fire brick makers)' of Tynewydd Colliery with John Rosser as manager is listed in Slaters Directory of 1880. No brickworks is labelled but there appear to be two kilns shown on the 1875 OS map. The colliery opened in 1865 and closed in 1898.

Ystrad - ST 9695 9581

Ystrad brickworks is shown in 1874 only next to Pentre Colliery and the site was cleared by 1900. Ystrad was one of the largest brickworks in the area, originally set up to make bricks for the local mine shafts. It was set up in 1857 and provided employment for a large number of girls from the area, and quickly expanded to provide bricks for mining and houses throughout South Wales.
'GGAT' quotes :- "The brick works at Bodringallt, also worthy of note, became the second largest producer of bricks in the Rhondda after Llwynypia, exporting throughout the South Wales Coal Field for walling shafts, and the construction of colliery buildings and houses (Carpenter 2000)". This is probably the Ystrad works, there being no sign of a brickworks at Bodringallt.
Slaters Directory for 1880 lists 'John James, Collier (and brick maker) of Gelligaled Colliery, Ystrad, Rhondda'. Gelligaled is a very small level which James only owned for a few year and there is no sign of a brickworks there. I believe that 'Ystrad' , 'Pentre' , 'Bodringallt' and 'John James' all relate to this one brickworks but more info is badly needed.

The Taff Vale

Quick links to :-     Bridgend and Ely, Garw and Ogwr Valleys     The Cynon Valley
    The Rhondda Valley     The Taff Vale

Taffs Well - ST 1206 8462

Bryncoch Brickworks, Taffs Well worked from before 1867 to c1900. In 1867 Thomas Williams of the College Lock Iron Works in Llandaff took over the brickworks. The 1914 map shows the works still standing but unmarked and all the tramways lifted. Two bricks marked 'BC' and 'TWCo' have been found on the site of Nantgarw China Works which could date back to c1820.

Pontypridd, Sardis Road - ST 0695 8988

Sardis Road brickworks, Pontypridd, was open by 1873 and is shown on OS maps up to 1948.

Pontypridd, Pwllgwaun - ST 0638 9014

The Victoria Brick Works Co Ltd at Pwllgwaun isn't shown on the 1875 map but was listed in 1895 and for sale in 1897. It's shown as the 'Victoria Works' on maps until 1948 but may have ceased brickmaking at the end of WW1 when the Victoria Colliery closed. A 'Pwllgwaun Brick & Tile Co Ltd' is listed in 1952.

Pentrebach - ST 0695 8988

The brickworks at Pentrebach is shown on the 1898 and 1915 OS maps but had gone by 1948. There are no known bricks from this works.

Merthyr Tydfil

Cyfarthfa, Merthyr Tydfil - SO 0379 0707

Cyfarthfa Ironworks had a brickworks next to the Pont-y-Cafnau Bridge, shown on the 1875 1:500 town plan, with three kilns. By 1897 only two kilns are shown. It supplied the refractory and common bricks for the ironworks but it appears some bricks were sold for use elsewhere. The ironworks closed in 1926 and assumedly the brickworks with it. Excavations have shown the use of Stourbridge bricks in the early construction work.

Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil - SO 0697 0737

Dowlais Ironworks had a very large brickworks next to their iron and steelworks, shown on the 1875 1:500 town plan, with many kilns. They are all shown as 'disused' on the 1949 edition

Heolgerrig, Merthyr Tydfil - SO 0368 0653

A post WW2 brickworks of the Butterley Co probably re-processing slag heaps, appearing on the 1958 map and closed c1992.

Pen-y-darran, Merthyr Tydfil - SO 0524 0675

Pen-y-darran Ironworks had a brickworks, shown on the 1875 1:500 town plan, with two kilns. They had gone on the 1900 edition as had Pen-y-darran Ironworks itself.

Thomastown, Merthyr Tydfil - SO 0508 0597

The 'Merthyr Brickworks' in Thomastown opened in c1848 by William Wild and son John. He sold it in 1865 to John Jenkins, his wife Elizabeth, and sons Thomas, Gwilym and John. In 1898 the family created 'The Merthyr Brick and Tile Co Ltd' but it failed in 1910. The younger John continued to run the business but was killed in WW1 and the works closed c1920. The brickworks was connected by a tramway to 'Garw Pit' who probably supplied the coal for the kilns.

Sarn Helen, Merthyr Common - SO 0768 0605

'Old Brick kilns' are shown on the 1876 OS map only. They had gone by 1900.

Trebeddau, Merthyr Tydfil - SO 0600 0567

A brickworks is shown on the 1876 OS map only. It had gone by 1900.

Acknowledgments, sources and further reading.

This page is particularly dedicated to the work of the late Mike Stokes, who had a huge knowledge of South Wales brickworks and their products. A great many other people have supplied information and photos to add to the story, so many thanks to (alphabetically) Graham Bennett, Mike Bennett, Bob, Greg Castling, Ian Cooke, Mark Cranston, Gary Davies, Steve Davies, Martyn Fretwell, Alan George, GGAT (Gwent Glam Arch. Trust), Andrew Harvard, Tracey Hucker, Dan Will Jam, Glen Johnson, David Jones, Mike Kilner, David Kitching, Frank Lawson, Norman Lowe, John Mason, Roy Meredith, Frank Moore, Stephen Parry, Richard Paterson, Alan Perkins, Ian Pickford, Stephen Rowson, Dave Sallery, Lawrence Skuse, Phil Stubbings, Ian Suddaby, Mike Szura, Gareth Thomas, Arnold Wilson, David Wood amonst many others.

The 'Old Bricks' website is the best source of info on bricks and brickworks in the UK :- Old Bricks - history at your feet

For very good coverage of Scottish bricks and quite a bit about other places too :-

Martyn Feltwell has two very good sites here :- East Midlands Named Bricks and UK Named Bricks

There is a specialist society for brick history :-

There's also a 'Facebook' group for bricks and brickworks :- Facebook 'Bricks and Brickworks Past' group

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