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The Brickworks of Wales
West Glamorgan
Port Talbot, Neath, Swansea and their valleys
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The Bricks and Brickworks of West Glamorgan

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    West Glamorgan

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The Round the World Brick Trip

I've tripped over dozens of bricks from the UK, India, New Zealand and elsewhere, have a look at them all
along with a good group on Facebook for brick and brickworks enthusiasts here :-
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Port Talbot and the Afan Valley

Quick links to :-     Port Talbot and the Afan Valley     Neath and the Nedd Valley
    Swansea     West Glamorgan

Aberavon - SS 7900 8985

Aberavon Burrows brickworks is shown as a 'sand siding' on the 1899 map and as a brickworks on the 1917 edition. It was way out on the beach then but had disappeared by 1939 and the site is now covered by housing and seemingly inland.

Thomas Jenkins was the owner of Aberavon tinplate works until 1874 and excavations by GGAT revealed a number of bricks with his name imprinted. However he is not known to have owned a brickworks himself. Either he owned an unknown brickworks or had his bricks made at one of the other local brickworks.

Argoed - SS 8192 9494

Argoed Brickworks, near Cynonville in the Afan Valley appears on the 1897 and 1918 maps but had disappeared by 1940. It was probably opened with Argoed Colliery by Llewellyn Howell and Co in the 1890s. In 1923 it became the property of Herbert Hudson and Co who closed the colliery in 1927 when perhaps the brickworks closed too.

Bryn, near Cwmavon - SS 8264 9175

Bryn and Cwmavon Brick Works Co. The earliest reference to this brickworks I can find is the 1906 Kelly's Directory and it appears in subsequent issues until the mid 1920s. A Grade II listed building, their website mentions that Bryn Brickworks was constructed after 1894 and continued production into the 1920s. They also state the kiln block stood at the SE end of the works adjacent to a siding of the Port Talbot Railway. The kiln is the only surviving structure on the site, although a large wall of undetermined purpose but probably for mounting equipment for the loading of railway wagons is adjacent to the kiln about 100 yards to the west. The kiln is substantially complete although it seems to be used as a shelter by the local sheep and does smell rather unpleasant. If this were mine I'd give it a good clean inside, remove all the decades of sheep-transferred mud and tidy up all the loose bricks lying around. It would make a great centre-piece for a museum of the once-large south Wales brick industry. A bit out-of-the-way though, it would never have any visitors! (Text by Mike Stokes)

Cwmavon - SS 7805 9221

This brickworks was established by 1877 next to the Cwmavon Tinplate Works. It seems to be the 'Cwmavon Brick Works Co' by 1891 with SH Byass as Managing Partner. The brickworks is still shown on the 1918 map but had gone by 1938. Bricks with the 'Cwmavon' mark are believed to come from here as the nearby Eagle works promoted it's own identity.

Cwmavon - SS 7901 9253

The Eagle Brick Works, Cwmavon, was built in 1907 and first appears on the 1913 OS map. It was run by the 'Eagle, Bryn and Cwmavon Brick Works Ltd', becoming the 'New Eagle and Bryn Brick Works Ltd' by 1926, finally 'Evans and Bevan' by 1961 and closed in 1967. The works is still shown as 'disused' on the 1975 OS map.

Margam Copper Works - SS 7730 8840
Margam Tinplate Works Upper Forge - SS 7720 9060

These were two small brickworks operating in 1877 asummedly for their respective parent works. They had both disappeared by 1899.


Neath and the Nedd Valley

Quick links to :-     Port Talbot and the Afan Valley     Neath and the Nedd Valley
    Swansea     West Glamorgan

Briton Ferry

Briton Ferry - SS 7348 9398

There was a brick kiln in Briton Ferry ironworks in 1880 but the ironworks had shut by 1899.

Briton Ferry - SS 7411 9345

Briton Ferry Coal and Pottery Co Ltd was working from c1851 to 1888, owned by George Bedford to his death in 1884. A mystery surrounds his involvement with a brickworks in Porthcawl. Read the full details here
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Neath

The Green, Neath - SS 7493 9749

Dinas Brickworks, The Green, Neath

The Green, Neath - SS 7487 9735

Brickworks, The Green, Neath

The Green, Neath - SS 7502 9768

Firebrick works, The Green, Neath

Melincrythan, Neath - SS 7466 9644

Melincrythan brickfield and claypits, Neath

Melincrythan, Neath, Neath - SS 7470 9693

Mill-lands Brick and Tile Works, Neath

Melincrythan, Neath - SS 7533 9598

Cambrian Brickworks, Melincrythan, Neath was established in 1882 by J Brooks Taylor and became 'J Brooks Taylor and Co Ltd' in 1912 but went into liquidation in May 1949. They also owned the Cwmdu brickworks in Skewen at one time.

The Nedd Valley

Aberdulais - SS 7750 9962

Aberdulais Colliery and Brick Co appear to have 5 kilns on the site of Wen-y-Gored Colliery in 1899 but they are not shown in 1880 or 1919. However the company was in existence in 1834 and listed in Kelly's for 1884, 1891 but not 1895 and may have closed about then.

Resolven - SN 8208 0202

Melincourt Brick Works Co. Resolven, Neath in 1884 held by Capt Formby’s Company with H Bateman as manager became the Melin Court Brick & Terra Cotta Co Ltd in 1891 with John Taylor as manager. In 1891 Kellys reported that J B Taylor & Co made bricks at Melin y Cwrt with the clay levels last worked in c1890. Mike Stokes visited the site on 6th October 2014 and found that the site had not been developed. There were extensive earthworks although unable to distinguish any features and no named bricks were found on site.

Resolven - SN 8338 0291

Resolven Brickworks, Neath

Glynneath, Abernant - SN 8819 0629

'Abernant Dinas Silica Brick & Coal Co', founded in 1843, formerly the 'Anglo Russian Iron Co', was located on the north side of the River Neath and the GWR railway about half mile west of Pont Whalby Halt. Rail served by the Abernant Private Line (opened 1879) which connected with the GWR at Glyn Neath station. The works are shown as 'disused' from 1914 up to 1938 and were not on the 1948 map. A standard gauge 0-6-0ST, Fox Walker 360 of 1878 was new to the works. The company offered a locomotive for sale in the Western Mail during 1901 which may have passed to P Baker, a Cardiff dealer.

Glynneath, Dinas Rock Brickworks - SN 9102 0800

Dinas Rock Brickworks

Glynneath, Dinas Silica Brickworks - SN 8973 0692

Dinas Silica Brickworks, Glynneath. The photo of the brickworkers is believed to be at one of the Glynneath brickworks.

Glynneath, Pont Walby - SN 8896 0675

Pont Walby Brick and Tile Works, Glynneath probably opened c1822 and are shown on the 1875 OS map. They were working in 1918 as the 'Vale of Neath Dinas Fire Brick and Cement Co' but probably closed c1920. By 1938 the works had gone and the site cleared.

Dulais Valley

Seven Sisters - SN 8151 0749

Nant-y-Cafn Brickworks

Onllwyn - SN 8444 1046

Onllwyn Colliery was purchased by Evans and Bevan Ltd and the brickworks was built after 1914. It became part of the NCB in 1947. The colliery closed in 1964 and presumably the brickworks closed then as well. Evans and Bevan Ltd also owned brickworks at Skewen and Killay.

Skewen - SS 7193 9746

Cwmdu Brickworks, Skewen, Neath, opened prior to 1845 by John Grainger. It was leased by the Dynevor Coal Co for 60 years in 1873 and had passed to J Brooks Taylor Co of the Cambrian Brickworks, Melincrythan, Neath by 1925. It was latterly owned by Evans-Bevan Ltd and seems to have closed in the early 1960s. Evans and Bevan Ltd also owned brickworks at Onllwyn and Killay.

Swansea

Quick links to :-     Port Talbot and the Afan Valley     Neath and the Nedd Valley
    Swansea     West Glamorgan

North Swansea

Copper Pit Brickworks, Morriston - SS 6695 9700

This brick was more than likely made by Copper Pit Collieries Ltd. in Morriston, Swansea after 1908 when they re-opened the Copper Pit mine. The Copper Pit Brickworks, Neath Road, Morriston, Swansea is listed in Kelly's 1923 and 1926 editions. it seems to have become part of the Swansea Brick Works Co Ltd later.

Graig Brickworks, Morriston - SS 6670 9720

Graig Brickworks, Morriston, Swansea, later it was part of the 'Star' empire.

Mile End Pottery, Landore - SS 6595 9533

Mile End Pottery was owned by James Howell and was in operation before 1878, listed as a Brick and Tile Manufacturer. In 1892 it was part of an auction of properties being sold. It doesn't appear to have produced bricks but this pillar capping stone is in Swansea.

Morriston Silica Brick Co, Morriston - SS 6717 9840

The 1876 OS map appears to show pits which by 1898 had become a three kiln brickworks but marked 'disused'. By 1906 it seems to be up and running again, possibly by 'James Bros', and the 'Morriston Silica Brick Co (1929) Ltd' was formed (in 1929 I assume). The three kilns are enclosed or replaced by 1938, still there in 1955 but a Fire Station is on the site in 1968. I haven't seen an example of a 'Morriston' brick so if you have, please let me know.

Roundpit Brickworks, Llansamlet - SS 6901 9754

Roundpit Brickworks, Llansamlet is on the the site of Roundpit Colliery and may originally have been part of it. The colliery had ceased coal production by 1897 when the brickworks took over until some time after 1913.

Swansea Brickworks, Morriston - SS 6735 9740

Swansea Brick Works Co Ltd, Morriston, operated in Swansea between 1921 and 1957 when it was demolished. The area is now the Morriston South Industrial Estate.

Swansea Siemens Brick Co, Landore - SS 6697 9651

Swansea Siemens Brick Co, Landore, produced the silica bricks needed for the various Siemens steelworks in the area. The works is shown on OS maps from 1876 to 1948.

Treboeth Brick and Tile Co, Swansea - SS 6524 9644

Treboeth Brick and Tile Co, Swansea

Treboeth - SS 6554 9624

Brickfield and claypits at Treboeth in 1879 and marked 'Old Claypits' in 1899, possibbly connected with the adjacent Pentre Pit

North-West Swansea

Cwmbach Brickworks, Cockett - SS 6281 9526

Cwmbach Brickworks, Cockett, Swansea

Cwm-du or Cae-bricks brickworks - SS 6446 9501

Cwm-du or Cae-bricks brickworks, Swansea

Cwm-du or Cae-bricks brickworks - SS 6502 9510

Cwm-du or Cae-bricks brickworks, Swansea

Gendros Brickworks

Gendros Brickworks, Swansea

Glasbrooks Werngradog Brickworks, Fforestfach

Glasbrooks Werngradog Brickworks, Fforestfach, Swansea

Gorse Brickworks, Cockett - SS 6324 9446

Gorse Brickworks, Cockett, Swansea

Swansea Brickworks - SS 6359 9491

Swansea Brickworks, on the other side of the railway tunnel

Tunnel Brickworks, Swansea - SS 6339 9490

Tunnel Brickworks was opened after 1850 when the South Wales Railway 'tunnel' was built. By 1878 it was owned by Thomas Harris and shown as Wig-fawr Brickworks on the first OS map. Harris went bankrupt in 1885 and by 1914 It was owned by 'J Osman & Co Ltd' and manageged by C H Jenkins. This company was dissolved in 1919 and by 1938 the works had gone leaving the claypits to be filled in. At some time Tunnel Brickworks were advertising in the South Wales Daily Post “For Sale at the Tunnel Brickworks, Fforestfach – A horizontal engine, Lancashire boiler with a quantity of bricks and scrap iron.”
Mike Stokes visited the site in 1991 and reported :- "The Tunnel site is now mostly abandoned with not much evidence of the works. The clay pits are now the site of a compound for council vehicles (or British Telecom?). A large number of different types of Tunnel bricks were found and salvaged for the collection" (Mike's brick collection is now at Risca Museum).

Weig Brickworks, Cockett - SS 6371 9458

Weig Brick and Tile Co or Wig-fach Brickworks, Cockett, Swansea operated c1895 to 1926. Visited by Mike Stokes on 28th February 1991 who investigated the site in Meadow Street (formerly Percy Street) which now has a corrugated iron garage built on it. The claypits further up the road are now used as a lock-up compound for a local plant hire firm.

West Swansea

Clyne Valley Brickworks, Killay - SS 6025 9220

The works was owned by Frederick Pinn (1880s), James Howell & Co (1890s) and John Napier (1920s) becoming the Clyne Valley Brick & Tile Co Ltd and finally Evans and Bevan Ltd in the 1950s and 60s. A narrow gauge tramway ran from the works south-west under the BR line to clay pits. Works closed c.1965 and site cleared c.1968. In 1950 a new 4wDM RH 296102/50 was used on the tramway until closure. Evans and Bevan Ltd also owned brickworks at Onllwyn and Skewen.

Dunvant Brickworks, Swansea - SS 5955 9373

Dunvant Colliery was owned by Phillip Richard from at least 1886 until at least 1905; it had passed to the New Dunvant Colliery Co Ltd by 1913. The colliery was sited on the east of the LNWR line with rail connections just north of Dunvant station. Phillip Richard was the eldest son of Phillip Richard of the Birch Rock Colliery, Pontardulais. The brickworks is only shown on the 1896 map.

Killan Brickworks, Dunvant - SS 5901 9409
Killan Old Brickworks, Dunvant - SS 5924 9384

A Killan Colliery existed in 1878 at SS 5810 9385 but it had closed by 1896 with two new Killan Collieries appearing to the North c1899 connected to Dunvant by a branch line. By 1923 the colliery was owned by Killan Collieries Ltd. Production ceased in 4/1925 following liquidation. Salvage was completed by 8/1925 and the site then abandoned though the 'old' brickworks was still shown on the 1948 map. There were two locos on the Colliery lines, Std Gauge “Curlew” 0-4-0ST MW 1247/1891 sold or scrapped. and 2ft gauge 0-4-0WT OK 6759/1914, new to works and sold to Richard Thomas & Co, South Wales Steel Works, Llanelli.

Penlan Brickworks, Dunvant - SS 5957 9423

Penlan Brickworks was owned by Samuel Jones and Sons as 'Jones. S & Sons (Dunvant) Ltd and 'Penlan Brickworks (Dunvant) Ltd. The 'S&S Dunvant' may be a mis-spelling of 'SJ&S' or may be deliberate but is likely to be from Penlan. A 4wPM, L 35154/50, was new to the works but there is no record of its disposal. The works was open from c1895 to at least 1948 and Penlan Brick Works (Dunvant) Ltd is still listed in 1952

Voylart Brickworks, Dunvant - SS 5920 9355

Two brick kilns are shown in a brick field to the West of Voilart Colliery on teh 1877 map but the colliery had gone by 1900 with the brickworks marked as 'disused'. It seems to have survived until 1948, still shown as an 'old brickworks'.

Swansea Valley and West Glamorgan

Quick links to :-     Port Talbot and the Afan Valley     Neath and the Nedd Valley
    Swansea     West Glamorgan

The Swansea Valley

Clydach - SN 6880 0098

Clydach Brickworks was working by 1871 and carried on until WW2 at least, being shown as 'disused' in 1962. Slater Directory of 1871 lists 'Moody Brothers, fire brick makers & colliery proprietors, Clydach & Cwm Cappel colliery' later trading as 'Moody Bros & Co Ltd'.

Glais - SN 7110 0154

Llwyndu Brick and Clay Co, Glais in 1891 and later the Llwyndu Fire Brick Co Ltd. This brickworks is still shown on the 1962 OS map but has gone by the 1968 edition. I've read on the Welsh Coal Mines site that there was a Llwyn Du Graigola Colliery and Brick company Ltd in 1887 and the works may have closed in the 1940s.

Pontardawe - SN 7473 0584

Ynysmeundy Brickworks

Ystalyfera, Ironworks - SN 7670 0863

Ystalyfera Ironworks brickworks, Ystalyfera. This brickworks appears to be an integral part of the Ystalyfera Ironworks site by 1877. By 1885 the furnaces had been blown out and the works produced tinplate. The 1898 map shows the brickworks as 'disused' and as an 'old Brickwks' in 1914. By 1948 the site has become a bowling green.

Ystalyfera, Farteg - SN 7809 0867

Farteg Brickworks is shown from 1913 to 1953 on OS maps but has gone by 1964.

Ystalyfera, Gurnos - SN 7724 0926

The Gurnos & Darren Brick Co Ltd brickworks appears to pre-date the adjacent tinplate works, perhaps they used the bricks to build the tinplate works? It's first shown on the 1877 map without the tinplate works which arrives for the 1898 map. By 1964 both tinplate and brickworks are marked 'disused'.

Ystalyfera, Tirbach - SN 7720 0931

The Tirbach Brick Co Ltd next to Tirbach Colliery was formed in the 1890s appearing on the 1896 map. By 1914 the company was in liquidation and failed to sell at auction. It disappears some time after 1921 as its not shown in 1948.

Ystalyfera, Yniscu - SN 7753 0838

Yniscu Colliery and Fireclay Works, Ystalyfera. This is the site of a small colliery named Ynys-y-Geinion Colliery in 1877, Daren Colliery in 1896, Yniscu Colliery and Fireclay Works in 1914 and Yniscu Colliery in 1948. Its life as a brickworks seems very short.

Ystradgynlais, Cae'r-lan - SN 8048 1217

Cae'r-lan Brickworks, near Ystradgynlais is open before 1877 but is marked 'disused' by 1903 and is an 'Old brickworks' on the 1913 and 1948 maps. the site is now under the A4067 village by-pass.

Ystradgynlais, Penrhos - SN 8046 1126

The Penrhos Brickworks Co Ltd is reported in trade directories from 1906 onwards. It is shown on the 1953 OS map but marked 'disused' by 1964. A site visit in 1995 found nothing left at all and the owner believed it was demolished c1963. The company was wound up in 1968.

Penwyllt - SN 8547 1516

The Dinas Silica Brickworks at Penwyllt was opened in 1865 by Kershaw & Pole Ltd and ceased production in1939. It was owned by the Penwyllt Dinas Silica Brick Co Ltd from 1895 to 1928 and then the Penwyllt Silica Brick Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Stephens Silica Brick Co Ltd of Kidwelly, until 1940.

West Glamorgan

Penclawdd, Berth-lwyd - SS 5610 9632

Berth-lwyd Brickworks was in operation by 1877 and was 'disused' by 1896. By 1913 the site was occupied by the loading dock for Berth-lwyd Colliery.

Gwaun-cae-gurwen, Cwmgorse - SN 7065 1110

Cwmgorse Brickworks, Gwaun-cae-gurwen opened c1906 as the Cwmgorse Brick Co Ltd becoming the Cwmgorse Brick Works Co Ltd by 1931. Later, in the 1950s, it became part of the British Anthracite Sales Ltd and British Anthracite Co Ltd group.

Pontardulais - SN 5981 0308

Bolgoed Brickworks, 'The Star Brick and Tile Co Ltd' registered the freehold in Aug 1966.

Ystradowen, Bryn-henllys - SN 7556 1252

Bryn-henllys brickworks in Henllys Vale, Cwm Twrch was owned by the Tirbach Brick Co and opened at the end of the 19th century. It is on the 1903 OS map but marked as 'old brickworks' in 1913. 30 years later and it appears to be still standing in 1948, obviously too remote to worry anyone. Please note that this is not connected with the Henllys Brickworks, Cwmbran, Mon. All the 'Henllys' bricks I've seen illustrating Henllys Vale are from Monmouthshire !


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, Roy and Billy (W E) Bowen, Ian Cooke, Gareth Hugh Davies, Gary Davies, Steve Davies, Judith Doyle, 'Fforestfach History', Martyn Fretwell, Gwent Glamorgan Archaeolgical Trust, Andrew Harvard, Thomas Henderson, Tracey Hucker, Gwyn Jenkins, Glen Johnson, Kes Jones, Mike Kilner, David Kitching, Frank Lawson, Norman Lowe, Frank Moore, Stephen Parry, Richard Paterson, Ian Pickford, Glyn Roberts, Dave Sallery, Lawrence Skuse, Ian Suddaby, Templeton Heritage Group, Gareth Thomas, Stephanie Thomas, 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 :- Scottishbrickhistory.co.uk

Martyn Feltwell has two very good sites here :- East Midlands Named Bricks and UK Named Bricks
There is a specialist society for brick history :- britishbricksoc.co.uk

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


A Guide to the Website


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