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Regional route South Wales | United Kingdom

Wales played a leading role in the formative years of the Industrial Revolution in the production of iron and steel, tinplate and coal. During the 19th century families flooded into the sparsely populated valleys of South Wales seeking work in the emerging industries which exploited the areas mineral ... more

The South Wales Regional Route

Wales played a leading role in the formative years of the Industrial Revolution in the production of iron and steel, tinplate and coal. During the 19th century families flooded into the sparsely populated valleys of South Wales seeking work in the emerging industries which exploited the areas mineral resources. In 1804, Richard Trevithick ran the World’s first steam engine on iron rails near Merthyr. By 1840 South Wales was the largest producer of iron in the UK. By 1890 Cardiff was the most important coal port in the world.

On the steep sides of the valleys dense terraces of workers housing were hurriedly built, together with numerous churches, chapels and workmen’s halls. The long ribbons of urbanisation in the valleys were interspersed with coal mines with their huge waste tips and iron and steel forges. Through the cramped valley floor ran polluted rivers, narrow roads, canals and then railway systems serving the growing industrial communities. Here a new industrial society emerged with sharp divisions between wealthy iron master and colliery owners and the workers. As a result socialism grew as a significant political force with international influence.

Today the clamour of the traditional industries has gone from the Valleys and the dirt and dereliction is changing back to green. However, the visitor will have no difficulty in imagining the turbulent times of the early Industrial Revolution while visiting the network of industrial heritage sites on the ERIH South Wales Route.

Pontypool | United Kingdom
Set in the stable block of Pontypool Park House the museum documents the proud history of early ironmaking and coal production in this valley. It also tells the story of the Hanbury family and features their unique collection of Pontypool and Usk tinplate decorated in the “Japanese Style”. Pontypool ...
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Pontypool Museum
Park Buildings
NP4 6JH Pontypool, United Kingdom