Cyfarthfa Castle Museum & Art Gallery is one of the great “finds” of the South Wales Valleys. The castle was built in 1824 by the ironmaster William Crawshay the second. It overlooked his immensely successful ironworks which were the largest in the world in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Despite closure in 1919 the nearby furnaces remains still exist as one of the most important industrial archaeological sites in Britain.
Merthyr Tydfil’s important position as an Iron Town during the 19th century is strongly represented in the artefacts the museum holds. They show the incredible progress in technology and innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and encapsulate the lives of the people who lived and worked here including the story of Trevithick’s Pen-Y-Darren Locomotive – the first steam powered locomotive to haul a load on rails in the world (1804).
Years of collecting by the citizens of Merthyr Tydfil has also created a fascinating legacy in the form of personal collections, including natural history, artefacts from Ancient Egypt, Roman Britain and other historic cultures from around the World. The museum also holds an impressive collection of fine art, sculpture and ceramics including work by eminent artists such as Penry Williams, Thomas Prytherch and Sir Kyffyn Williams.