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Former Rolling Mill at Treforest Tinplate Works

A Grade II* Listed Building in Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taff

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5831 / 51°34'59"N

Longitude: -3.3188 / 3°19'7"W

OS Eastings: 308718

OS Northings: 187961

OS Grid: ST087879

Mapcode National: GBR HR.CFWZ

Mapcode Global: VH6DR.FGBR

Entry Name: Former Rolling Mill at Treforest Tinplate Works

Listing Date: 27 October 1980

Last Amended: 26 February 2001

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 13510

Building Class: Industrial

Location: At the S end of Treforest and reached across a bridge over the Taff W of Cardiff Road. The rolling mill is at the S end of the former works.

County: Rhondda Cynon Taff

Town: Pontypridd

Community: Pontypridd

Community: Pontypridd

Locality: Treforest Tinplate Works

Built-Up Area: Pontypridd

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Pontypridd

History

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 instead of steam power. The continued use of waterwheels in the age of steam was characteristic of the Cyfarthfa Iron Co and was made possible by the unusual reliability of the water supply in Glamorgan. 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 rolling mill is the earliest surviving building on the site and is dated 1835. Originally it was 3 bays wide at the S end and 2 bays wide at the N end. The N end was widened to 3 bays probably when the works was expanded and the present tinning house and other buildings were added c1854. This appears to have involved taking down most of the original E wall and rebuilding it further out using the same materials.

Exterior

A long rubble stone range, the eaves raised in brick and with a corrugated asbestos-cement roof with strip glazing and raised ridge ventilator. The S gable end has 3 round-headed doorways, the central having a keystone dated 1835. Above are 3 stepped bullseye vents. The E wall has round-headed openings alternating with round vents with inserted brickwork. The central bays have 4 smaller doorways between wider doorways. The N gable end has 3 stepped bullseye vents in the gable and 3 doorways below, of which the L-hand doorway has brick dressings and represents the widening of the building. The other 2 doorways and the vents have stone dressings.

The W wall, facing the feeder, is of 33 bays all now infilled, mainly of tall round-headed doorways but 7 openings have sills placed opposite sluice gates in the feeder, through which iron launders brought water into the building for the waterwheels. The wall also incorporates 3 evenly-placed wider doorways.

Interior

Not accessible at the time of inspection.

Reasons for Listing

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 rolling mill is listed grade II* as one of the earliest surviving buildings related to the S Wales tinplate industry, retaining evidence of its use of water power.

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