Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

Overview

[image: Exterior view of Rhyd-y-car houses ]

Exterior view of Rhyd-y-car houses at St Fagans National History Museum

Ironworker's Terrace Houses

This small terrace was built by Richard Crawshay around 1795 to provide housing for the workers in his iron-ore mine. Originally there were two rows of houses, at right angles to each other, these being the first six houses to be built. Each dwelling contains a living room with bedroom above, accessed by a steep circular staircase next to the fireplace. A second bedroom and small pantry are located at the back beneath a 'cat-slide' roof.

The six houses have been displayed at different periods of their history, namely 1805, 1855, 1895, 1925, 1955 and 1985. In this way the changes in the buildings, their contents and their gardens can be shown. Merthyr was the largest town in Wales between 1800 and 1860 but there were no basic facilities like piped water and toilets.

From about 1850 living conditions improved; coal took over from iron as the most important industry. The pigeon-cot in the garden of the 1925 house and the living-shed in that of 1955 are both typical of the area. Behind the living shed can be seen an Anderson Air Raid Shelter. Thousands of these small corrugated iron structures were erected throughout south Wales during the early years of the Second World War when the threat of aerial bombing was greatest. Later, they were re-used as garden sheds, as shown in this example.

[image: Rhydycar Map Plot]

Building facts:

  • Original Location: Rhyd-y-car, Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan
  • Date originally built: 1795
  • Furnished: 1805/1855/1895/1925/1955/1985
  • Dismantled & rebuilt at St. Fagans: 1987
  • 20-25th buildings opened to the public at the Museum
  • Visiting information