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Dowlais Works Blast Engine House

A Grade II* Listed Building in Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil

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Latitude: 51.7606 / 51°45'38"N

Longitude: -3.3502 / 3°21'0"W

OS Eastings: 306909

OS Northings: 207739

OS Grid: SO069077

Mapcode National: GBR HQ.060H

Mapcode Global: VH6CY.W07N

Entry Name: Dowlais Works Blast Engine House

Listing Date: 22 August 1975

Last Amended: 12 November 2002

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 11491

Building Class: Industrial

Location: Situated on the SE side of the High Street some 150m SW of the former Guest Memorial Library.

County: Merthyr Tydfil

Town: Merthyr Tydfil

Community: Dowlais

Community: Dowlais

Built-Up Area: Merthyr Tydfil

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Merthyr Tydfil


Blowing engine house of 1905-7 built for Guest, Keen & Nettlefold to provide blast for the new blast furnace plant at the Dowlais Works completed in 1909. The building is 54m long and 15m high and had 3 blowing engines of vertical compound condensing quarter crank type with Corliss Gear for steam and Southwark Valve Gear for air. Iron and steel making stopped in Dowlais in 1930 and the bulk of the Dowlais Works closed in 1936. The building was used for offices and storage in the late C20 by the OP Chocolate Factory and at the time of survey was unused.


Very large industrial building in red brick with yellow dressings and hipped roof behind parapet. Apparently of 2-storeys, a high lower floor and attic but actually a single space within. Nine-bay side walls, 3-bay end walls, the bays divided by piers with yellow brick quoins. Rubble stone plinth, double yellow-brick string course under upper windows and similar triple course under parapet. Lower openings are long, arch-headed with yellow brick rusticated surrounds and arches with stone impost and key blocks. Third-length windows in bays 1, 2 and 9, quarter-length window in bay 5, with lintel below at mid height over recessed walling with yellow-brick arch and fanlight over narrower C20 door (early photographs show a tall arch under the window here). Bay 9 has yellow-brick arched doorway, infilled with C20 small door. Upper level has similar but short windows. Original metal glazing survives at this level with small panes and radiating bars.
Rear NW side has the same upper windows but blank long yellow-brick arched panels to each lower bay with 2 yellow-brick blank roundels over each panel, all with stone key and impost blocks. Centre bay has roundels over cast-iron portico with 2 columns each side, corniced flat top similar double-column responds. Two further shorter columns stand on flat roof. Cambered-headed yellow-brick doorway within. The bays each side of centre have only one roundel over the panel and that asymmetrically set, but in mirror image.
End elevations are similar to main front at NW, and plain at SE with just blank yellow-brick framed panels to upper level and 2 oddly random roundel windows below.


Not inspected.

Reasons for Listing

Listed II* as one of the now rare blast engine houses in Wales and as an industrial building of very large scale, architecturally-treated.

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Other nearby listed buildings

  • II* Former Guest Memorial Library
    On the NW side of the High Street at the SW side of its junction with Gwernllyn Road.
  • II Dowlais Works Stables
    On the NW side of Upper Union Street facing down the slope to the High Street and the former location of the Dowlais Iron Works.
  • II Dowlais Public Library
    On the SE side of Upper Union Street opposite the Church of St John and some 100m SW of Dowlais Works Stables.
  • II Stables House
    Situated just to the NW and rear of Dowlais Works Stables between Upper Union Street and Ivor Street.
  • II Church of St John
    On corner of Upper Union Street and Station Road some 100m SW of Dowlais Works Stables.
  • II Ivor English Congregational Church including forecourt walls
    On the SE side of Ivor Street just NW of Dowlais Works Stables and some 75m NE of the Church of St John.
  • II Mile Post
    Situated on the SE side of the High Street attached at pavement level to the wall of Caeharris Post Office.
  • II Bethania Independent Chapel
    Prominently situated at the lower end of the street, overlooking the High Street.

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