History in Structure

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Casting House

A Grade II Listed Building in Stepaside, Pembrokeshire

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Latitude: 51.7338 / 51°44'1"N

Longitude: -4.6935 / 4°41'36"W

OS Eastings: 214101

OS Northings: 207335

OS Grid: SN141073

Mapcode National: GBR GF.3ZY4

Mapcode Global: VH2PD.LPL6

Entry Name: Casting House

Listing Date: 17 September 1982

Last Amended: 18 March 1997

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 6544

Building Class: Industrial

Location: In Kilgetty Ironworks, on the W side of Pleasant Valley. The casting shed is the most prominent surviving building in the group.

County: Pembrokeshire

Town: Kilgetty

Community: Kilgetty/Begelly (Cilgeti/Begeli)

Community: Kilgetty/Begelly

Locality: Kilgetty Ironworks

Built-Up Area: Stepaside

Traditional County: Pembrokeshire

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Kilgetty Ironworks was planned from 1846 by the Pembrokeshire Coal and Iron Company. Four, or possibly six, furnaces were anticipated. The works commenced production in 1849 with two furnaces, only one of which was then brought into blast. A year later production was halted due to an explosion. Grove Colliery was opened in 1856 to supply coal. Success was only moderate, and by 1861 the Company was in difficulties; in 1863 it was acquired by C H Vickerman and a brief period of prosperity commenced. In this heyday the works were pictured by M S Whatley. The furnaces were blown out in 1867, and Vickerman contemplated selling. For this purpose an inventory of the works was drawn up in 1872; James Carlton and the Bonville's Court Coal and Iron Company purchased them and brought in new investment. In 1873 a furnace was again in blast, but was blown out again a year later at a time of trade depression. The new owners went into liquidation in 1876 and the works closed in 1877. Vickerman, the main creditor, was able to buy the works back at a modest price. In 1888-9 the plant was dismantled and sold, but the buildings were not immediately disused.

The casting house is the most prominent feature in Whatley's painting. At the time of the 1872 inventory it contained a casting pit and crane, two cupolas, a drying stove, a reverberatory furnace for the annealing of boilerplate, and a quantity of patterns and patternmaking equipment. Railway sidings entered the building; in 1865 one entered at the central front archway; in 1888 one entered at the N side. In 1906 the OS plan shows both of these sidings, and it is evident that the building was still in some use.

The curved corrugated iron roof remained until it was salvaged in c.1940. Whatley's painting shows there was a jack-roof for the full length of the apex. The structure of the roof was described in the inventory as cast-iron pillars and wrought iron stays.

In 1982 a swimming pool was constructed in the middle of the former casting house and leisure buildings constructed on the adjacent site of the blast furnaces.


A three-sided nearly square building. From E to W the length of the casting house was 22 m, and the span was 23 m. It stood immediately E of and in front of the two furnaces, and its rear was fully open towards them. The opposite face, to the E, is a striking segmental gable, complete to its full height, and the building is architecturally symmetrical. The masonry is in the local sandstone, with all dressings in limestone, and is almost complete.

The front (E) wall has three large ventilation apertures. There are three archways with internal buttresses to the jambs; voussoirs with stressed imposts and keystones. Above them is a symmetrical group of 3 large circular ventilation holes, with stressed voussoirs. Between the archways are arch-headed recesses in the walls, about 2 m high by 50 cm wide.

The side walls also survive to their full height. The S wall is complete, but the N wall has been cut back at its W end slightly. In each side there are two large openings, arranged symmetrically, that to the E slightly higher than that to the W. At the archway positions the walls are thickened and there is also a buttress between the archways.

The shed is now roofless, but was roofed in five or six structural bays. In some places fragments of the truss tie rods remain fixed in the heads of the walls, with turnbuckles. The present paving in the building has obscured any internal features, such as plant or column bases or machinery pits. It is impossible to say now where the cupolas or the reverberatory furnace stood.

Reasons for Listing

Listed as the casting house of the only Pembrokeshire ironworks of the mid C19, a fine building of considerable architectural character and part of a remarkable surviving industrial group.

Scheduled Ancient Monument Pe 418.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Furnace Bank Revetment Wall
    Kilgetty Ironworks is at the W side of Pleasant Valley. The furnace bank is a high retaining structure about 20 m W of the Ironworks casting shed.
  • II Double Engine House
    In Kilgetty Ironworks, on the W side of Pleasant Valley. The Engine House stands a short distance to the N of the Casting Shed.
  • II Walls and Kilns above Furnace Bank
    On high ground to the rear of Kilgetty Ironworks, on the W side of Pleasant Valley.
  • II Tramway Incline Structure above Kilgetty Ironworks Furnace bank
    On high ground, to the rear of Kilgetty Ironworks and its limekilns, on the W side of Pleasant Valley.
  • II Workshops
    Part of Kilgetty Ironworks on the W side of Pleasant Valley. The workshops are at the N of the site, beside the footpath to Stepaside.
  • II Grove Colliery Cornish Beam Engine House
    100 m SW of Kilgetty Ironworks, on the W side of Pleasant Valley. The engine house is at the centre of a group of ruined colliery buildings, close to a quarry face at its rear.
  • II Tramway Bridge
    Over Ford's Lake in the village of Stepside, to the SE of Brook Cottages. Ford's Lake is the Community boundary between Amroth and Kilgetty/Begelly.
  • II Tramway Bridge
    Over Ford's Lake in the village of Stepaside, to the SE of Brook Cottages. Ford's Lake is the Community boundary between Amroth and Kilgetty/Begelly.

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