Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Brake Engine on Hill Pits Tramroad Incline

A Scheduled Monument in Blaenavon (Blaenafon), Torfaen (Tor-faen)

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Latitude: 51.7826 / 51°46'57"N

Longitude: -3.099 / 3°5'56"W

OS Eastings: 324281

OS Northings: 209900

OS Grid: SO242099

Mapcode National: GBR F2.YV8D

Mapcode Global: VH79C.7GJ9

Entry Name: Brake Engine on Hill Pits Tramroad Incline

Scheduled Date: 19 December 1994

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3148

Cadw Legacy ID: MM222

Schedule Class: Industrial

Category: Industrial monument

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Torfaen (Tor-faen)

Community: Blaenavon (Blaenafon)

Traditional County: Monmouthshire


The monument consists of the remains of a brake engine, dating to the 19th century. The braking system was situated at the head of a counterbalanced tramroad incline, dating from about 1840. The tramroad carried coal from the nearby Hill’s Pits to Blaenavon Ironworks and was in operation by 1844. The brake engine consists of a stone lined pit roughly 4m square and 1-2m deep, containing a bolted cast iron frame on which is mounted a wrought iron braking band. The band would have formerly been lined with wooden blocks. There is a system of levers connecting to the breakman’s cabin.

The haulage rope passed around a sheaf that was mounted above a brake wheel on which the band could close. A double line of track came along the level tramroad and above the wheel, then down the incline. Other levers ran in brick channels down the sides of the incline for operating points. The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of mining in Wales. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits. The structure itself may be expected to contain archaeological information concerning chronology and building techniques. An engine house may be part of a larger cluster of industrial monuments and their importance can further enhanced by their group value. The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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