Ancient Monuments

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Glynneath Gunpowder Works

A Scheduled Monument in Ystradfellte, Powys

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Latitude: 51.7649 / 51°45'53"N

Longitude: -3.5679 / 3°34'4"W

OS Eastings: 291894

OS Northings: 208520

OS Grid: SN918085

Mapcode National: GBR HD.057Q

Mapcode Global: VH5G6.3WMX

Entry Name: Glynneath Gunpowder Works

Scheduled Date: 19 February 1997

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3511

Cadw Legacy ID: BR230

Schedule Class: Industrial

Category: Industrial monument

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Powys

Community: Ystradfellte

Traditional County: Brecknockshire


The monument consists of the rare and well preserved remains of a nineteenth-century gunpowder works, one of only two to have existed in Wales. Glynneath Gunpowder Works was established in 1857 by the Vale of Neath Powder Co, partially on the site of a former silica brick works. It continued in making black powder for blasting in mines and quarries under the ownership of Curtis and Harvey from 1862, and was successively merged with Nobel's Explosives Co and then Imperial Chemical Industries. Operations ceased in 1931 when black powder was removed from the permitted list of explosives by the Home Office. The form of the site, consisting of many small buildings widely dispersed, is typical of gunpowder works of the period, and the surviving structures exemplify most of the principal processes of powder production together with their associated infrastructure. The scheduled monument consists of five small areas and one linear area following the axis of the upper part of the works. The southernmost area (A) is about 40m x 140m and contains the below ground remains of the mills for grinding raw materials, together with adjacent turbine houses and engine houses. Foundations are visible at ground level in the track. Area B straddles the River Mellte and is roughly 30m x 10m, taking in a turbine and pump house and the remains of a piered aqueduct carrying the main leat. Area C and area D are small areas either side of the track: a former tramroad tunnel entrance on the west and the ruins of a pellet press house on the east, in which powder was made into pellets. Area E is the old Corning House where powder was crushed and sieved. This is a large stone structure which formerly had a water wheel in front of it. The scheduled boundary excludes the track but takes in the depression into which the Corning House is built, and extends roughly 30m x 30m. The linear area is area F. This is irregular in shape, varying from 10m to 40m in width and extending for approximately 1 km. It includes a large number of buildings, earthworks and structures centred around the main tramroad and leat. A pellet house and magazine are in the largest, southerly, portion south of the River Mellte. A piered tramroad bridge and the mass concrete New Corning House are adjacent to this, together with a large stone weir. A cluster of buildings north-west of this, on the northern bank of the Mellte, include ruins of a watch house, expense magazines, glazing house, stable, dusting house, chimney, truck shop and another pellet house. Area F continues on the east side of the Mellte again, taking in another masonry weir, further magazines, a pellet press house and a mess room.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance and illustrate our knowledge and understanding of the development of the gunpowder industry.

Source: Cadw

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