Transport, Materials and Networks National Waterfront Museum

Richard Trevithick's Steam Locomotive

Over the last three centuries Wales has been host to many world-class inventions and innovations in mining, metal manufacture and transport.

Our inspiring venue displays some of the key objects that help tell that tale. A number impress not only with their historical importance, but through their sheer size.

Some were firsts for Wales and in the world. Others were more common, but still fundamental to the dynamism of Welsh industry.

The Robin Goch and Coal Wagon

The new building at the National Waterfront Museum showcases the ‘big things’ that have contributed so much to the industrial history of our nation.

In 1800 horseback was the fastest way to travel on land. A century later, most of the world had rail networks and trains travelling up to sixty miles per hour. This transformation in world history was initiated in south Wales with Richard Trevithick’s Steam Locomotive in 1804 - built for use in the iron industry.

The Robin Goch (Welsh for 'robin redbreast') monoplane is one of the few amateur aeroplanes built before 1914 to survive. It is one of the earliest examples of aircraft in the United Kingdom.

Coal wagons like the one displayed began appearing on the UK rail network in the mid-nineteenth century.

The Ocean Coal Company is painted on one side - in its heyday one of the foremost producers of steam coal in south Wales.

The impressive water-powered Tilt Hammer was used to shape wrought-iron and steel bars when Wales was a major centre of the British iron industry, beginning in the late seventeenth century.

Tilt Hammer

By the early 1890s, eighty per cent of the world’s tinplate was produced in Wales.

Our Tinplate Rolling Mill is an example of twentieth century automation that transformed a previously labour-intensive industry. At its peak, in the 1920s, it employed over 30,000 in Wales.

These are just a few of the highlights, while interactive workstations allow you to delve deeper into the networks and industries in which these objects played a vital role.

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