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Latitude: 51.5833 / 51°35'0"N
Longitude: -3.3181 / 3°19'5"W
OS Eastings: 308768
OS Northings: 187987
OS Grid: ST087879
Mapcode National: GBR HR.CG2N
Mapcode Global: VH6DR.FGPK
Entry Name: Former Smithy at Treforest Tinplate Works
Listing Date: 27 October 1980
Last Amended: 26 February 2001
Source ID: 13509
Building Class: Industrial
Location: On the E side of the former rolling mill.
County: Rhondda Cynon Taff
Locality: Treforest Tinplate Works
Built-Up Area: Pontypridd
Traditional County: Glamorgan
The Treforest Tinplate Works was established in the late eighteenth century, but the surviving works dates from its rebuilding in 1834-5 by William Crawshay II of the Cyfarthfa Iron Co, although it was managed by his son Francis Crawshay. It coincided with the beginning of the accelerated growth of the British tinplate industry that continued throughout the remainder of the C19. Production began in 1836 and by 1842 it had fineries for converting pig to wrought iron, 2 mills for rolling the iron into sheets, furnaces for reheating and annealing the iron, and 2 tin furnaces in which the plates were immersed in a bath of molten tin. Power was provided by 8 waterwheels. The Tithe map of 1846 shows that the works was at that time all housed within what later became known as the rolling mill. A separate detached block to its N was probably the foundry mentioned in an inventory of 1842, but was probably demolished in the subsequent expansion of the works.
The works was considerably expanded c1854, again representative of the growth of tinplate manufacture in S Wales in the 1850s. Most of the buildings on the site, including the tin house and smithy, belong to this date, and all are shown on the 1875 Ordnance Survey. In 1876 the works was described as having 5 mills, in 1893 10 mills, while the extant tin house was designed for 12 furnaces, superseding the 2 listed in 1842. In 1896 the works was leased to Waterhouse Brothers of Bradford, but output declined in the C20. Its final owner was Richard Thomas & Co. Production ceased in 1939 when the works had 4 working mills. In 1941 the works was requisitioned for storage by the Ministry of Supply. In 1946, if not earlier, the machinery was removed and 2 large blocks N and E of the rolling mill were demolished under the Tinplate Redundancy Scheme. The site was then sold to the South Wales and Monmouthshire Trading Estate.
The manufacturing of tinplate required iron bars to be rolled into thin sheets, which were then trimmed, cleaned in an acid bath (known as pickling), annealed, re-rolled to create a smooth surface, and again cleaned and annealed before being dipped in molten tin. The sheets were subsequently polished in bran and boxed ready for dispatch. From the 1850s the sheets were rolled in the surviving rolling mill, and were then pickled, annealed and re-rolled in ranges to the E and N that have now been demolished. Tinning, polishing and packing were undertaken in the surviving tin house. Further ranges to the N and E were workshops used for various maintenance activities.
The smithy was built c1854.
The exterior is clad with asbestos sheets over dwarf brick walls, and with double doors in the N gable end. The gabled roof is asbestos-cement sheets. Concealed by the cladding, however, is the original cast iron frame of identical bays 4 bays long and a single bay wide. These comprise cast iron uprights spanned by segmental arched braces, which have open circles in the spandrels, typical of the Cyfarthfa Iron Co style.
The interior is now subdivided by a blockwork cross wall. Each of the 4 bays has 3 timber queen-post trusses.
The surviving buildings at the Treforest Tinplate Works constitute the most complete group of buildings in the industrial style developed in the iron and related trades of S Wales from the early C19. They form one of the most complete groups of tinplate works buildings of the C19, an industry of national importance dominated by S Wales. The smithy is listed grade II* because it is the only surviving example of the once common use of iron-framed buildings in the iron and related trades of S Wales. Its open circles in the spandrels are a characteristic motif of buildings associated with the Crawshay family.
Other nearby listed buildings