Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

Welsh Iron

Staff: Robert Protheroe Jones

There have been no previous works on the Welsh iron industry as a whole. This work will seek to communicate and describe the history of the industry and to explain the basics of the technology employed through the medium of pictures, this being far more accessible than text-based descriptions. It will commence with the introduction of the charcoal-fired blast furnace to Wales in the Tudor period and trace the development of technology - coke-fired smelting, rolling and puddling - to the start of the eighteenth century, and the rise of the Welsh industry to international pre-eminence in the mid nineteenth century, notably the importance of rail production and international exports. It will note the importance of in-migration to the Heads of the Valleys region and the role of the iron industry in the development of horse-drawn tramroads, canal construction, and in the early development of the coal industry. It will conclude with the later nineteenth century change from wrought iron to steel and the continued role of the blast furnace in the twentieth century as a preliminary stage of steel making.

The output will be a popular work broadly similar to Welsh Steel and Welsh Tinplate; thus completing a linked threesome. It will complement National Waterfront Museum displays on this topic and will create awareness of, and access to, the Department of Industry photographic collection.